Adaptability, flexibility, scalability crucial for a data centre

By Allyson Towle
Johannesburg, 06 Jul 2017

ITWeb Events spoke to Ross Peringuey, regional sales manager, Southern Africa, MEA at Delta Energy Systems, about his thoughts on the challenges of adapting a legacy data centre to big data and cloud as well as more about why organisations would choose to go the cloud route and current trends in power saving. At the ITWeb Data Centre Summit 2017, RT Systems, a distributor for the Delta brand in SA, will take a journey through the evolution of data centres, the standard challenges faced with power management and why a modular data centre is the way of the future.

ITWeb Events: What are the three main challenges when moving a data centre to the cloud era?

Peringuey: Adaptability, a data centre's lifespan can easily exceed a decade, technology changes fast in this arena - can an infrastructure solution be adapted for client's differing and also evolving needs over time? Flexibility, as requirements for adaptation arise, infrastructure solution offerings must present a good measure of flexibility for design and optimisation purposes. This provides infrastructure options for the changes faced by the data centre management team. Scalability, often, colocation data centres and even enterprise datacentres are fill to capacity and as a result power consumption and cooling are dynamic requirements, the challenge here is scalability of an infrastructure solution over time.

ITWeb Events: What are the pros and cons for organisations going through this process?

Peringuey: Some of the pros for organisations include the ability to change fast and keep their operations "lean" and optimised which help to improve profitability or reduce operational and even capital expenditure. This is done in response to client or operational demands for colocation and enterprise DCs respectively.

The cons of course include unforeseen infrastructure upgrade or adaptation costs that were not originally budgeted for in the case of an initially less flexible, adaptable and scalable infrastructure investment.

ITWeb Events: What are the current trends in power management?

Peringuey: As power consumption increases and in a dynamic way too, the current trends lean towards a focus on improvement in efficiency or power saving and optimisation as well as modularity in design which provides a level of flexibility.

ITWeb Events: What is a modular data centre? Why in your opinion is this being the way of the future?

Peringuey: This type of data centre provides three important benefits that we have already touched on: adaptability, flexibility and scalability. This is the future because these attributes of modularity translate directly into a capital and operational cost saving for any data centre, with an added benefit of overall optimisation being possible over time due to the modularity of hardware and infrastructure equipment.

ITWeb Events: What are the three lessons learnt that you would like the attendees of DC2017 to take away with them from your presentation?

Peringuey: Historically, and sadly even today, modular infrastructure solutions were and are treated with caution by some legacy data centre design specialists. This is in part due to the obvious benefits of this type of solution and so leading companies were addressing this in their product portfolios and thus, early modular portfolios had technical glitches associated with product innovation.

This type of technology has since been refined and has matured over the last decade and so ignoring this innovation and shift in paradigm today is no longer a prudent decision, but rather a sign of being out of touch with the evolution of the industry.

Capital expenditure is important organisations need to take a serious look into operation expenditure as this is closely linked to energy efficiency, which is an important consideration for organisations today. Opex is usually the place where the hidden costs of an outdated legacy solution can be felt and this ultimately culminates into additional premature Capex investments being required to remedy the situation.

A data centre consumes active power which is measured in kilowatts and an important consideration is apparent power which is indicated as kVA in technical terms. The trend in global industry is to more closely consider the relationship between these two electrical measurement terms as systems have evolved over time to produce a better ration between the two, also known as power factor. The industry needs to consider backup power solutions which offer improved specifications in this regard.

ITWeb Events: Why is RT Systems/Delta involved as a sponsor of the 2017 Data Centre Summit? What value will attendees gain from your presence at the event?

Peringuey: The best outcome for both Delta and RT Systems would be to educate attendees about the innovations and improvements that are happening in the infrastructure solutions segment of the data centre industry. By imparting the knowledge to differentiate and understand what is really important and significant when considering technology for your data centre, we would do justice in keeping the demand for good, well-designed products alive in the market, products produced by companies like Delta that invest a lot of resources in addressing the evolving requirements of data centres into the future.