Physical Infrastructure Still A Power Play In Virtualised Worlds

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Virtualisation and cloud computing continue to grow but Panduit’s David Palmer-Stevens stresses the importance of the underpinning physical infrastructure

Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) tools can provide this information up to overall IT management platforms, so that it can be correlated against the management of virtual machines.

Thinking modular

One of the latest trends is the move to data centres becoming modular. From pre-built stacks of physical and virtual equipment from the likes of VCE with their VBlock, through to IBM creating full ISO shipping containers of data centre kit. Whatever the size of the module, the main aim behind these suites of solutions is to speed up the delivery of the data centre resource to the customer.


As part of the modular design phase, all the aspects of power, cooling and support have to be thought about. This involves looking at how to make the best use of the space that is available, both around the individual racks of equipment and the overall space involved.

This is because space in these modular environments is limited, so making changes to the design is very difficult once it has been put together and fitted within the modular system. Think about the change management and delivery process required: if you are not 100 percent sure what your capacity and IT consumption habits will be for the next three years, then taking the modular approach might not be right for you.

Where modular designs can be used for greater power efficiency is where they are purpose built and developed to meet a specific need. This means that all the equipment is specified at one time, rather than growing up over time. Again, the opportunities are there to reduce power consumption and cooling requirements from the start, as well as taking out redundant power costs that reduce PUE.

The quantity of cabling used in these implementations can also impact the approach to cooling. If there is too much physical cabling running within the conduits, forcing the necessary cool air through them requires more power and additional cooling. This overhead can be reduced through more efficient cable routing in the first place. The growth of higher speed cable and fibre technologies like 40Gb and 100Gb Ethernet will also make this less of an issue in the future.

Whatever your thoughts about the future of IT, the foundation for successful projects that meet requirements is the physical infrastructure that underpins the hardware, software and data. By looking at how these assets are put together, power consumption and usage efficiency can and should be improved.

David Palmer-Stevens is the EMEA systems integration manager for Panduit

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