Panduit's Vineeth Ram gives his advice on designing and deploying datacenter initiatives while taking energy efficiency into consideration.
According to a recent survey by Gartner, companies are mandating datacenter initiatives that promote energy efficiency, with 68 percent of respondents rating green IT a top priority issue. But, with just seven percent of respondents prioritizing the green IT issue, why should companies move green IT to the top of their ‘to do’ list?
Vineeth Ram. As IT organizations address sustainability challenges they typically become more efficient while lowering the infrastructure risk and increasing their agility. This in turn, allows them to free up resources to focus on more value added activities that makes them more relevant to their organization. Champions within the organization must understand the most critical activities to engage in and must bring these priorities into balance with policies that conserve resources, make financial sense for the organization, and that are good for the planet.
In addition, as IT organizations embrace infrastructure consolidation and virtualization and deploy next generation architectures to improve efficiencies and systems performance, they are being confronted with significant challenges around managing power, cooling, space, speed and infrastructure performance. This is leading them to confront sustainability issues head on in the datacenter environment.
What are the key criteria for planning and operating a datacenter that enables reliability, agility and flexibility while also managing sustainability goals?
VM. Customer needs and business requirements will ultimately define this design. To support the design, Panduit recommends a unified physical and logical systems infrastructure that utilizes appropriate management software to optimize datacenter performance and conserve valuable and finite resources.
The degree of integration or unification of all the infrastructure elements is becoming extremely important. Traditional disparate systems - computing, communication, power, control and security - need to be architected in a manner that optimizes their combined performance to solve this complex challenge.
The systems infrastructure and the physical infrastructure need to be aligned so that the relevant data can be utilized by the appropriate stakeholders and ultimately shared across various disciplines to drive increased operating efficiencies and capacity planning. This becomes more pronounced with next generation logical systems architectures that introduce complex technologies.
Infrastructure monitoring and management software also needs to be tightly integrated to provide services management capabilities across all systems and the underlying physical infrastructure. These software applications can provide visibility across the infrastructure to provide real-time data reflecting energy consumption, cooling capacity, space availability, asset tracking for capacity management and planning.
Can you explain the main challenges involved in designing and deploying the datacenter? What is your advice in terms of tackling these challenges?
VM. The key challenges revolve around integrated designs that optimize all design criteria while successfully meeting the constraints. As we discussed earlier, the integrated design approach needs to cut across traditional silos and address all elements of the logical systems infrastructure as well as the physical infrastructure.
The ability to optimize power and cooling capacity and costs, space utilization, speed and performance enhancements through the integrated design is a complex task. This needs to be done while maximizing the technical systems performance, ensuring high availability, increasing efficiency and reducing costs. This becomes more challenging as customers embrace consolidation, virtualization, automation and cloud computing paradigms to improve the efficiency of the infrastructure.
We address these challenges with physical and logical reference architectures that support business and application needs. The rapid pace of technological system evolution, together with the heterogeneous nature of the infrastructure environment, imposes significant demands that need to be satisfied. Our approach helps to bring together disparate teams and enable them to have an aligned conversation that enables optimization of the infrastructure across the datacenter lifecycle.
Panduit has adopted a new holistic approach to promote convergence, helping customers build smart datacenter systems into a single, interconnected environment to effectively address cross-functional challenges. Can you explain more about this new infrastructure and its potential for the market?
VM. Physical infrastructure systems traditionally have been designed, deployed and operated separately, often in proprietary silos. Our comprehensive and holistic Unified Physical Infrastructure (UPI) approach enables enterprises to converge and harmonize and those systems onto common pathways to optimize performance throughout the enterprise, manage risk and drive operational, financial and sustainability advantages.
The UPI approach aligns the physical infrastructure to the logical systems infrastructure, and offers numerous opportunities to optimize power, cooling, speed, space and performance across the entire lifecycle of the customer's buying and decision making process for datacenters, connected buildings, and industrial automation solutions. Our comprehensive portfolio of components, active devices, hardware, software and partner-inclusive professional services are offered in close alignment with technology partners like Cisco, IBM, EMC, Rockwell Automation and others.
For instance, UPI-based reference architectures and reference designs enable the integrated planning and design while certified partners deploy these solutions. Panduit's physical infrastructure management software solutions enable real-time monitoring, management and automation of operating environments. Finally, Panduit's UPI-based services enable customers to embrace the integrated, optimized solution with audit, assessment and design services delivered by our certified partners.
Recent Panduit customer ROI results demonstrate that more frequent interaction between IT and facilities management to deploy a comprehensive, integrated physical infrastructure solution aligned with a logical network and systems infrastructure designed to support current business and future application needs results in significant capital and operational cost savings while reducing infrastructure risks.
Energy costs are increasing. What risk management strategy would you recommend to address concerns over energy costs, security and supply?
VM. We believe that a holistic multi-step approach based on UPI principles across the entire datacenter lifecycle is required to meet sustainable IT goals.
The first step is planning. During this phase, the project champion looks across business units to understand top business initiatives and prioritize application needs. Then both champion and stakeholders select a datacenter reference architecture that successfully translates business needs into IT and facilities infrastructure requirements. These decisions are best made in consultation with a strong partner ecosystem that leverages UPI based principles to minimize power/cooling consumption and maximize datacenter real estate while enhancing availability, reliability and scalability.
Next is to design the datacenter. Datacenter stakeholders must leverage the skills and services (such as CFD analysis) of their partner and vendor ecosystem services based on UPI principles to achieve efficient capacity planning. Once the design is completed, it is time to deploy. IT stakeholders must now leverage channel partners and pre-configured systems to achieve speedy infrastructure deployment and conserve labor resources. UPI based design principles provide for optimization of energy, space and sustainability through physical to logical infrastructure integration.
Lastly, is it time to operate. At this phase, physical infrastructure management systems provide deep visibility into real-time systems information, enabling datacenter stakeholders to embed sustainability and security directly into IT processes.
The result is a datacenter deployment that meets the business performance requirements and optimizes energy consumption, space and sustainability across multiple levels - rack, cabinet and room - and lowers operational cost while reducing the carbon footprint and the infrastructure risk of the organization.
In your opinion, what does the datacenter of the future look like? What do you see as the key principles and why?
VM. Panduit's vision is a truly smart datacenter that meets the business performance requirements with a unified, integrated, efficient, sustainable and automated infrastructure across all core systems, optimized to successfully address power, cooling, speed, space and performance challenges.
This datacenter would be able to look at energy rates where cloud facilities have spare capacity, and offload compute cycles to those facilities to optimize power consumption where the cost of energy is least. It would ensure that cooling capacity is matched for the best efficiency, highest performance and lowest operational risk. It would optimize speed by allowing applications and business processes to be matched to the proper topology.
Infrastructure management software would provide visibility into both the physical and logical systems and enables optimization of energy consumption and space utilization in a production environment. Software automation will enable integrated services management capabilities across all systems and the underlying physical infrastructure. Lastly, it would also ensure that planned growth and changes are accommodated efficiently, with the lowest risk and highest agility.
Vineeth Ram joined Panduit Corp. in 2007 as Vice President of Global Marketing. His current responsibilities include global strategic marketing and new business initiatives. Prior to Panduit, Ram held leadership marketing roles at IBM, Dell and 3M. He holds a B.E. in Mechanical Engineering, a MS in Systems Engineering, and a MBA.