Data Center Challenges

Data Center are the hearthbeat of large corporation IT infrastructures. A typical Fortune 500 company runs thousands of applications worldwide, stores petabytes (1015) of data, and has multiple data centers along with a disaster recovery plan in place. However, this huge-scale infrastructure often comes at a huge cost! Data centers require expensive real estate, they use a lot of power, and in general they are expensive to operate.

Environmental concerns „Green“

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy have a joint program to help businesses save money while protecting the environment through energy efficient products: It is called ENERGY STAR. Participating manufacturers commit to producing products that meet specified power-efficiency targets, and members commit to purchasing power-efficient computing products.

Cisco UCS is ENERGY STAR compatible.

Server Consolidation

The networks elements consume approximately 14% of the overall power. By making them 50% more efficient (a goal very difficult to achieve), we will save 7% of the power.

Servers on the other hand are the greatest power consumers in the data center and often most of the servers are very lightly loaded. Power ratio vs. server load is not proportional. Precise opposite, servers with load about 10 % doesnt have 10 % power consumption but around 25 %. This implies that the major way to save power is to decommission lightly loaded servers and replace them with virtual machines. Some statistics speak of an overall server utilization ranging from 5% to 10%. Cisco UCS is ready to host thousands of virtual machines.

Cabling

Cabling is a significant portion of the CAPEX (capital expenditure) of a data center and it restricts airflow in the rack and under the floor, negatively
impacting cooling effectiveness (OPEX: operating expenditure).

In the past, three different parallel networks were deployed in the data center.Ethernet for LAN traffic, Fibre Channel for SAN traffic, and a separate Ethernet LAN for management. Sometimes additional dedicated networks have also been deployed for example, a separate Ethernet or Fibre Channel network for back ups and Infiniband for High Performance Computing.

Ethernet has emerged as the enabling technology for the unified network design. Terms like Unified Fabric, I/O consolidation, and FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) are used to indicate the adoption of Ethernet as the sole network in the data center. This, of course, greatly simplifies cabling.

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