Amy Miller is Product Marketing Manager for Future Facilities.
Blockchain is big – it is expected to grow from a $ 708 million market in 2017 to $ 60.7 billion by 2024. And it is expected that it will radically change the global data center industry over the next 10 to 20 years. The growing popularity of blockchain derives from the extraction of cryptocurrencies, which is based on an ever increasing number of servers for storage and on a significant power for the functioning and cooling of those servers.
Although there is general consensus on the concept of a decentralized network as a blockchain, it will interrupt almost every sector – from technology to banking to security – there is no uncertainty about how it will be used, when it will be regulated and its impact on the infrastructure physics. These concerns create a challenge for data center owners and operators who want to prepare for these changes by making the necessary decisions and investments to support future growth.
For now, we can predict that the most critical ways of this increase in demand will affect data centers will have an impact on capacity management and the need for high-density computing.
Data center capacity management once consisted simply of having each server have the space to manage its workload and was working as designed. Today, capacity management means much more. It involves understanding physical and virtual infrastructure, such as servers and local equipment, cloud and hybrid solutions, virtualization and colocation partnerships; analyze where specific workloads need to be placed for optimal performance; and evaluate and forecast the demand and set aside the ability to address it.
With the increase in the demand for capacity utilization, the tools used must also evolve. Standard best practices and spreadsheet-style asset management will not be able to meet the needs of IT on this scale. Instead, data center managers will have to rely on intelligent tools that look beyond the location of resources and the use of space, extending them to variables such as cooling, weight and power.
High-density computing or the use of server-dense racks and the management of virtualized servers can help increase capacity utilization, but can also cause significant effort on the limits of power and weight. While high-density servers are able to transport more data in the same or smaller physical footprint, they are also hotter than traditional servers. This requires a new approach to cooling, which could include the transition from air to liquid cooling, for example. In a 2018 survey, the Uptime Institute found that traditional data center cooling systems are often not equipped to accommodate high-density equipment, causing problems for operators that increase cabinet density. If a data center is able to fully convert or devote only a part of the current high-density architecture, these technologies require a significant increase in cooling needs, as well as greater power, to operate safely.
new blockchain-style architecture, the best way for data center managers to stay early is to stay flexible by preparing for the final impact on operations. The key to this flexibility is the ability to test potential scenarios or failures without causing risks to existing IT. The only way to achieve this is the use of a digital twin.
Digital Digital Twins
"provide a software representation of a physical asset", such as a data center, and allow companies to "better understand, predict and optimize the performance of each unique asset [within]." digital twin should acquire the data center in its entirety, including IT resources, racks, power networks and cooling distribution, and allow users to test hypothetical scenarios.
An ideal digital twin should be able to accurately predict the airflow and temperature distribution in a data center through the use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and analyze the disruption scenarios of current through the use of the power system simulation (PSS). The prediction of power and cooling within space is critical when it comes to implementing high-density equipment and understanding potential capacity losses.
In addition, the digital twin allows you to design and test any scenario or modify your operations, without risk of physical implementation in a production environment. The use of a digital twin to test high-density installations and capacity-saving scenarios allows for informed decisions to be made during the preparation of the future impact of the blockchain on its data center. This, in turn, creates the opportunity to optimize administrative processes and take into account the availability of space, capacity utilization, resource requirements, energy needs and future costs.
Although the full transition to blockchain-style decentralization may take time, especially in more conservative terms or regulated industries, it has the potential for a huge impact on the way businesses operate. Prepare for the evolution of the data center industry by virtualizing your structure today.
The opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Informs.