Data centre performance enhanced with ‘smart’ racks

06-09-2018 | By Nnamdi Anyadike

The use of intelligent racks is increasing as the real-time remote monitoring of power supplies and management of data centre infrastructure continues to grow in importance. Data centres are not only expanding in size. They are also becoming ever more complex through the introduction of rack systems that can accommodate more and more servers per unit area. A recent market intelligence report shows the global data centre racks market growing in size from $2.12billion in 2017 to $4.27billion by 2023. This represents a CAGR of 12.41%, over the five year forecast period.

Rising competition and a growing demand for online services in the banking and financial sector are one of the key drivers of the market. This is because data centre-enabled cloud services are able to provide financial organizations with a much needed advantage by enhancing productivity without any concomitant increase in their labour force.

An important goal for data centres is to incorporate a server infrastructure that is ‘smart’ enough to automatically maximize the use of space, power, and cooling, right down to the rack. At the end of August, Atlantik Systeme GmbH the German-headquartered independent value-added distributor for network components unveiled a range of intelligent rack solutions.

At their heart is the Raritan intelligent PX rack PDU that is available from Raritan, the US-headquartered leading provider of intelligent rack PDUs. This PDU enables real-time remote monitoring of the power supply and helps to manage data centre infrastructure. In fact, the system is capable of monitoring all measurement parameters, thus enabling the data centre to be run energy-efficiently and cost-effectively.

Security is ensured through Raritan's ‘SmartLock Access Control System’, which is an easy-to-install, networked door locking solution. Other recent Raritan rack security products that are on the market include smart card readers for local authentication at the rack and Raritan’s Intelligent Asset Management solution that tracks when a server is added or moved in a rack.


Racks of telecommunications equipment in part of a data center. By Contributed and licensed under the GFDL by the photographer, Gregory Maxwell., GFDL 1.2, Link

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is also updating its data storage products. At its quarterly earnings call for the fiscal quarter that ended July 31st, Antonio Neri, President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “We saw 70% growth in big data storage. We expect improved organic growth in the fourth quarter as our latest storage offerings gain customer traction.”

In July, HPE expanded its offering of HP Infosight across its three-part portfolio, which now enables intelligent all-flash storage. HP Infosight is the company’s artificial intelligence platform that helps its customers operate more efficiently in an autonomous data centre. HPE also introduced the next generation of its HP Nimble storage platform. These offerings are in addition to HPE’s SimpliVity 380 and its updated HPE SimpliVity 2600 products, based on the company's Apollo 2000 platform.

Elsewhere, Quest Software, a global provider of systems management and security software, announced in August a new version of its ‘Foglight for Virtualization 8.8’. The goal of the new solution said Mark D'Apice, Executive Director of R&D and Product Management, Quest Data Protection, “is to quickly identify performance bottlenecks, predict costs for cloud migrations, and avoid overcapacity.” Quest Foglight enables capacity requirements to be automated throughout the virtual hybrid data centre, before they can impact the business.

The new version of the solution now includes support for VMware Cloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS). At the end-August ‘VMworld 2018’ industry event in Las Vegas, VMware Inc., a subsidiary of Dell Technologies, unveiled its new ‘vSphere Platinum Edition’. The update is a purpose-built security solution that is designed to protect enterprise applications, infrastructure, data, and access. It works by combining two VMware products: vSphere, the secure hybrid cloud platform and VMware AppDefenseTM.

vSphere Platinum is designed to operate at the heart of the secure, software-defined data centre (SDDC) where organizations house their most sensitive data and business critical applications. The company explained that “in contrast to bolted-on, point security tools and reactive antivirus solutions that over consume system resources and require monitoring specialists,” vSphere Platinum embeds security across all parameters.

Ceridian HCM, Inc., the New York Stock Exchange listed provider of human resources software and services, is already a user of this updated solution in its Dayforce HCM platform. Warren Perlman, Ceridian's Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer said, "VMware vSphere Platinum Edition provides a compelling value proposition that enables us to fully secure our applications by focusing on their ideal condition, monitoring and responding to deviations."

Clearly, data centres have much to gain from the introduction of smart server infrastructure that can offset the rise in power and cooling costs that would otherwise be a disadvantage to growth. The latest developments now allow servers to optimize workload placement and data centres to provide a view of each server’s energy requirements. And further innovations that are in the pipeline can only be expected to accentuate this trend.


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By Nnamdi Anyadike

I have 30 years experience as a freelance business, economy and industry journalist, concentrating on the oil, gas and renewable energy, telecommunications and IT sectors. I have authored a number of well received in-depth market intelligence reports. And I have also spoken at conferences.