ITM 576 – Fall 2011
October 26th, 2011
Mark Rauchwarter – A20256723
The 4th generation of data centers is emerging, bringing with them a radical redesign from their predecessors. Self-contained containers now allow for modularity and contain the necessary core components that allow this new design to function. This paper discusses the advancements in data center management and the changes in technology and business goals that have driven the evolution of the data center into its 4th generation. It will also take a closer look into containerized data center solutions and how their integration into the data center environment provides businesses with improved value.
Table of Contents
Brief History of Data Centers4
4th Generation Data Center Design5
Containerized Infrastructure Solutions7
The Future of Data Centers15
New data centers are expected to have a 10, 20, or even 30 year or longer life expectancy; however, in the past 10 years, technology has changed drastically, prompting businesses to put greater demand on its data centers. Historically, data centers were purpose-built computer rooms housing mainframes and a handful of servers. The core focus has shifted from mainframes to servers, and further towards a fully virtualized data center running across a conglomerate of hardware. Along the way, business continues to push for doing more with less, and in a time where global economic hardships have been a common theme in recent history, all initiatives look toward saving as much cost as possible. Brief History of Data Centers
Data centers have greatly changed over the course of time. Until recently, most data centers remained static, with racks of servers, highly temperature controlled, raised floor environments, opting for an approach to data center management that was the tried and true method. Within the past two decades, the industry shifted the management of data centers to provide the greatest value to the businesses they support. This has led to generational segmentation, with each generation building upon its predecessor and further advancing the data center’s design, operational procedures, and the technology utilized. 1st Generation
The first generation of data center design lasted for many years and remained relatively similar to the original purpose-built computer room in the mid-1900s. According to Manos, “these facilities focused more around uptime, reliability and redundancy. Big infrastructure was held accountable to solve all potential environmental shortfalls.” (Manos, 2008) For many data centers, these are still their primary operational design and continue to function as 1st generation data centers today. 2nd Generation
Second generation data centers started to emerge when it was realized that first generation data centers were quickly becoming outdated and were unable to keep up with the demands of what was happening with technology, the environment, and the marketplace. These facilities looked closer at, and incorporated, options to improve energy efficiency, sustainability, and the total cost of operations. These facilities looked more at their overall costs, rather than just initial upfront costs at the time of their creation. 3rd Generation
Third generation data centers have just recently been brought into operation, and for some, continue to be designed and built instead of opting for the fourth generation design. This third generation focuses on improving operating costs by focusing even more closely on energy efficiency and by starting to...