Data Center Pulse
January 7, 2011
This might surprise you folks, but Smart Grid (intelligent power distribution and management) is even more important to our nation’s future success than the Cloud is! Interestingly enough in many cases one enables the other or at least dramatically improves its usability and performance.
The current situation in our data centers (Infrastructure 1.0) has many things in common with our current electrical grid (lets call it Grid 1.0). The IT infrastructure in our data centers today is very manual, use isn’t easily measured and demand isn’t easily provisioned or de-provisioned as requirements change. The infrastructure is managed through a combination of tools and spreadsheets that require on-going support from IT staff. As pointed out by other members of the Infrastructure 2.0 group, we’ve created highly qualified “IT Clerk” positions in order to support this very manual and complex issue. By its very design we’ve created an environment that’s much like a hologram, it works great when you’re in your nice little box (four walls of the data center), but don’t try to get the hologram to step outside or poof, no more hologram.
So how does Infrastructure 1.0 relate to today’s electrical grid? Like the inflexible data centers of today use of power and the demand management of power are fairly complex and often times manual processes. We have a limited ability to dynamically allocate power to “important” functions like hospitals or the fridge in your home. We don’t have visibility up and down the chain of delivery to determine where and how the power is being used and whether its delivery is as efficient as possible. Like your current data center (assuming it’s not fully virtualized on VMware vSphere) you don’t have a silver bullet solution that can help you manage the available resources efficiently. A good example would be the ability to use idle or dev systems when demand increases. Today when your application reaches peak demand you need to have all the hardware sitting waiting for the demand or you’re going to have angry customers as the system slows or fails. In the perfect world your systems combine as one larger resource and when demand increases for that “resource” your platform can automatically allocate additional capacity from idle systems. Grid 1.0 is very much the same in that it’s not easy to manage demand and power companies have to over provision or buy very expensive “resource” from other areas.
This article was posted: Friday, January 7, 2011 at 9:08 am