In previous posts on GovDataDownload, we’ve talked about the next generation data center (NGDC) and what it means for the public sector. We found out from Kirk Kern, Chief Technology Officer, U.S. Public Sector at NetApp that the next generation data center is a storage environment that uses software to virtualize, optimize and simplify data management. As he said, “In taking advantage of these tools an agency becomes more agile and its IT tools and enterprise applications are more powerful.  It doesn’t matter what type of storage is being used – cloud-based, spinning disk or an all flash array – the software creates the basis for a Data Fabric making it simple to move data across different environments and put it to work in support of mission-critical activities.”

So what are the most important things to consider when designing the next generation data center? When you break it down, there are really five architectural principles that need to be considered. In a recent white paper from NetApp Solidfire, these principles are explained across each layer of the data center framework. Continue reading for more.
Scale-Out

Legacy data centers were built to scale-up, rather than scale-out, allowing expansion of only a limited set of variables determined by the capacity of your agency’s hardware. In the NGDC, your infrastructure can scale incrementally as requirements change. The key to successful scale-out architecture is making sure the performance from additional resources can be provisioned by the network.

Guaranteed Performance

In the NGDC, resources like CPU, memory, bandwidth, storage capacity, and storage performance are dynamically managed to deliver the application experience required and expected. Automated performance monitoring provides the intelligence needed to manage usage and availability of all IT resources. Companies such as Splunk Inc. are leading the industry by offering tools like IT Service Intelligence (ITSI) — a monitoring and performance tracking platform for infrastructure analytics and visualization.

Automated Management

The software-defined data center (SDDC) is at the core of automation, a key component in next gen data center design. SDDC allows for the convergence of workload-centric architectures and cloud computing into a single domain. Allowing for software to be the decision maker across the data center is essential to moving from a static to a fully dynamic, configurable infrastructure.

Data Assurance

In the NGDC, a resilient and secure infrastructure is the expectation, and failure is managed because it has a self-healing architecture designed to tolerate it. Applications like VMWare DRS (Distributed Resource Schedule) use automatically programmed, predefined priorities that redistribute VMs from areas of contention to other areas without workload disruption.

Global Efficiencies

Creating global efficiencies is another key component to the next generation data center. In order to create such an environment, IT decision makers must consolidate the people and processes that once made up the legacy data center. Fewer systems and fewer interfaces between components are key to crating global efficiencies in the NGDC.

There is no doubt that the next generation data center has fundamentally changed the way that public sector organizations conduct business. By ensuring the five architectural components outlined above, are a part of your design, your agency will be better positioned to meet the needs of today’s agile, virtualized, optimized IT environment otherwise known as the next gen data center.

For some of the latest stats on the next generation data center, check out this infographic here.