Research Paper: Data Centers

Pages: 15 (5439 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Management  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … centre can be described as a "…computer system's most important and vulnerable component" (What is a Data Center?). In simple terms, a data center is a physical area which houses and contains the computer networks and critical data systems. These can also include, among others, backup power supplies, air conditioning, and security applications, as well as large amounts of valuable data (What is a Data Center?).

A more comprehensive definition of a data center is as follows: "A data center (sometimes spelled datacenter) is a centralized repository, either physical or virtual, for the storage, management, and dissemination of data and information organized around a particular body of knowledge or pertaining to a particular business" ( Data Center).

An obvious example of a data center is a bank where a mainframe would contain customer accounts, information and other related data. A more complex type of data center would be the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). This is a public data center which is the largest source of weather information in existence ( Data Center).

In discussing the life cycle of a data center one has not only to take cognizance of the present issues surrounding the data center life cycle, but also the problematics and challenges that face data centre management at present and in the future. This includes aspect such as virtualization and cloud computing and the problematics of achieving scalability in an it and business environment that is becoming more characterized by accelerating amounts of data and increased customer demands for access and personalization.

The nature of modern communications and commerce has therefore necessitated concomitant advances in the design and the process of running or managing a modern data centre. This paper will provide an overview of the life cycle of a data center with the aim of exploring issues and possibilities that could lead to improving and advancing the management of these centers. The it and business context is an all -- important component of this discussion. This refers to the life cycle in terms of virtualization, scalability, backup and security, among others.

2. Overview

In recent years there has been resurgence in the use of data centers throughout the world. The central reason for this resurgence can be ascribed to "…rapid growth and new demands on their capabilities" ( Data Center LifeCycle Management). There are also a number of business as well as technological factors that have also been instrumental in the increase of interest in data centers. Among these factors are the following: "Postrecession budget constraints are finally ending. Clustering technology, high-density servers and virtualization have led to a ten-fold increase in power requirements"( Data Center LifeCycle Management).

Furthermore, as one pundit notes, "Companies are starting to run it like a business, and businesses are more it dependent than ever before because of the transactional, Web-based, 24x7, global economy" ( Data Center LifeCycle Management). This view encompasses the fact that many companies with large client and customer bases have begun to realize the possibilities for cost savings that well -- run and virtualized data centers can offer. Management is also becoming a more critical factor. This is a result of the fact that, as the it industry and influence grows, governments are making greater demands on data centers in terms of aspects such as compliance, archiving, data management and security ( Data Center LifeCycle Management).

With this increase in the use and importance of these data centers there has also been an increase in the number of problems and issues that have to be taken into account and attended to. This in turn influences the management and running of these data centers. This aspect is particularly relevant to the discussion of the life cycle of these centers. A practical issue, such as the problem of heat dissipation, has become a growing issue of concern for managers, as well as the ubiquitous problem of increased security issues. Security is an aspect that will be expanded on as part of the management and life cycle of a data centre and will be explored in more detail in the following sections of This paper.

There are a number of other issues that are particularly pertinent to the management and life cycle of a modern data centre that will also need to be taken into account in any discussion of this subject. This includes the fact that, while increased access to better and faster bandwidth has been a positive factor in the development of data communications, this also adds "…another layer of complexity to managing and developing data centers"( Data Center LifeCycle Management). This increase in complexity has repercussions for the meaning of the life cycle of a data center, as well as for its efficient and effective management.

One of the factors that has impacted the contemporary view of the data center, and which influences the trajectory and issue of data center management, is the fact that, "Usable, surplus data center space is now all but gone" ( Data Center LifeCycle Management). This places the onus in modern data center management on the redevelopment and streamlining of available space to meet new demands and on data center capability. The impact of data centers in terms of environmental concerns and the rise in the popularity of green computing are also factors that should be taken into consideration.

2.1. Description and Definitions

While the concept and reality of the data center and data center management has already been briefly referred to, it is perhaps opportune at this juncture to provide a clear description of what is commonly meant when referring to the data center and data center management. This includes the link between management and the life cycle of the data center.

In an article entitled Life Cycle Management in the Data Center (2010), the author "demystifies" the concept of the data center and life cycle management. This succinct study is useful in understanding the significance of the data center life cycle and how this understanding can be used to improve quality and efficiency. Life cycle management from this perspective is summarized as;

…the sequence of events in the life of a product, facility, etc. In terms of data centers, life cycle management most commonly is used for the facilities itself, for the different applications, which you run on your machines and for the data you store. Basically life cycle management of an activity encompasses it from start to end. In the case of facilities, this means the phases of design of the facility, construction, deployment, and relocation.

( Stoyanova, 2008)

In other words, the life cycle of a data centre includes the design and construction, as well as the deployment of the center and its eventual relocation due to factors such as size and capacity. This cycle also usually includes data center strategic analysis and planning, design, building and commission of the center, as well as critical analysis and evaluation of the center.

What is clear from the literature is that, taking into account changing and variable demands on the modern data center, life cycle management solutions become essential because, in the first place, these management solutions and strategies "…eases the pain of dealing with a lot of information because it contributes to the automation of the process"( Stoyanova, 2008).

As this article stresses, the issue of life cycle management and automation is intended to not only increase efficiency but also to help the data center manager in his or her task. As Stoyanova ( 2008) states; "Without a reliable life cycle management solution, which ideally manages the life cycle the data center as a whole, or at least its separate components, including applications, your life as a data center manager will be much harder" ( Stoyanova, 2008).

2.2. Adaptation in the Data Center Life Cycle

Figure 1.

( Source: http://www.colltech.com/docs/dclm_solution_overview.pdf)

The above diagram outlines some essential features of the data center life cycle that have to be taken into consideration is discussing management issues and process concerns. Many studies emphasize certain cardinal phases of the life cycle. To reiterate, these are; analysis and planning, design, build and commission, relocation and periodic data center evaluation (Data Center LifeCycle Management. A Comprehensive Solution for the Life of Your Data Center). However, the emphasis on adaptation is a consideration that is emphasized in both the life cycle and the management of the data center.

Analysis of the needs and possible future needs of a data centre is therefore vital in the life cycle. Analysis and planning refers to an "…analysis of an organization's current and future data center needs, including an accurate inventory of the computing and network infrastructure, application mapping and a roadmap of projected future" (Data Center LifeCycle Management. A Comprehensive Solution for the Life of Your Data Center). In this phase of management and the life cycle of the center, information obtained from planning and analysis is compared to the present situation with regard to the existing physical infrastructure and other variables, such as it and client… [END OF PREVIEW]

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