The Drive to Improve the Data Center

Arthur Cole

Data center issues have been front and center for most enterprises for the past several years. From powering and cooling to backup and recovery, it seems like a lot of investment is being made to ensure that the business stays up and running during an emergency and files and records remain handy in case the auditors, or the lawyers, come sniffing around.


Unfortunately, there are about as many conflicting pieces of advice regarding things like backup and data management as there are vendors to peddle products. We wish we could give you definitive answers on exactly what works and what doesn't, but more often than not, what works for one center might not work in another due to variances in legacy systems and plain-old differences in storage philosophies.


What we can do is highlight some of the niftier new products and systems being talked about this week. One is HP's RFID approach to keeping track of the physical elements of the center. This tool is designed specifically for the manager of large operations where servers, drives, appliances and other devices are swapped, moved or decommissioned on a regular basis. Like at the factory warehouse, RFID lets you keep track of everything that's important, and can also help map out systems and capabilities to better manage the flow of information.


The second item that caught our eye, and drew a fair amount of tongue-in-cheek coverage from the trade press, was Sun's Project Blackbox. Sure, a data center in a shipping container is fodder for some clever one-liners, but we can't help noticing the numbers: 250 SunFires offering 2 petabytes of storage in an 8x8x20 box, ready for delivery at a moment's notice at one-hundreth the cost of a traditional center.


Sun has been aiming for utility computing for some time now, and this seems to be about as utilitarian as you can get.

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