DATA CENTRES AND SCALABILITY

In the world of business, it is a given that that companies should grow to meet the needs of the marketplace.  But growth for a company also means their data centres must grow too.  But what technology is out there to help companies scale up without having a negative impact on all that positive growth?  Every company wants to be able to scale up quickly, but is there a way of doing it which lessens the impact on the bottom line?

The fast route up the scalable ladder is to purchase entire data centre modules from one of the big players such as Microsoft or HP, but this comes at a price.  And you may not need a module with hundreds of servers. Alternatively, there are companies that can offer a module which consists of multiple racks or as little as a quarter rack.

Companies also need to think about when to invest in servers and how many they will need.  Spikes in demand need to be addressed but it’s not easy to predict when these spikes in demand will occur and what to do when you don’t need that extra capacity.  There ultimately needs to be an elastic capability.  In other words, companies should scale rapidly or scale down to recover IT resources.   Data centres are able to add, move, or remove virtual processors and memory when spikes occur or when maintenance is required. You only have to pay for a portion of the full cost of processors and memory up front.

In terms of data centre scale, a traditional file storage system can be limiting. Take the case of a new social network.  It may only have a few hundred users at first, which is perfectly manageable. Ramp this up to a few million users, along with countless images and videos, accessed by multiple users and the storage system won’t keep up.  The solution lies in object storage and a simplified ID system for files. The ID crosses multiple storage volumes and refers to where that object is stored. Metadata is attached to the file to make it more searchable across volumes. Object storage is a single storage management system which will create clusters of data that scale as a company grows and is far easier to manage.

But then how do you know when to scale up and when to scale down?  A data centre manager will need to automatically adjust storage as application needs change. Auto-tiering will analyse actual app data frequency of use, opting for the lowest cost storage option by matching legacy data, rather than keeping it on faster drives too long.

Fast growth for a company should be a positive. These new technologies enable companies to ramp up quickly and efficiently and remove the hassle of having to expand a data centre at high capital costs which would offset all that new revenue.

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