Local data center can serve a local cloud
For data-intensive industries such as manufacturing, aviation, defense, energy, and healthcare, debate continues about application of cloud computing; smart data management may include an on-site component to augment or replace massive off-site data center storage. No approach works for all situations but taking the cloud from the sky and adding local storage can be an option.
"For hospitals, manufacturers, and many other industries, there’s a big struggle right now as to the right mix between the cloud and internal management of data," said Bob Venero, CEO and founder of Future Tech Enterprise Inc. "It’s about ensuring the availability of data. If the connection to the cloud goes down, they still need to be able to work. The other challenge is figuring out which data sets are classified in which area. It’s all a delicate balance across many industries."
Smart hybrid data management
Combining on-premise and cloud solutions on different hardware platforms can be a favorable combination for many applications.
Organizations should analyze potential risks and benefits of cloud use; there’s often a good case for non-sensitive data to be stored in cloud with the goal of reducing IT costs and driving efficiency.
The convenience-related benefits of cloud options can be incorporated into on-premise locations.
An internal cloud network was constructed in collaboration with a major security company to "provide services and record operations. Everything syncs back to a main data center with information never crossing into the public cloud," Venero said.
Other possibilities include investing in advanced hardware options with superior computing power, for data intensive industries such as healthcare. Incorporating hardware-agnostic software is another option that helps reduce costs and provides flexibility.
The right data center
A hybrid approach requires a physical data center on premises. A modular, flexible data center design can be adaptable, airtight, hermetically sealed, energy efficient, and easy to construct. A tongue-and-groove panelized system can be constructed with a ratchet. Modular panels make it easy to expand the data center with little construction impact and no data center disruption.
For data center capacity, companies look at today’s needs and a 5-year plan, and most want to go out 10 years, Venero said. A modular design avoids having to heat or cool a 10,000-sq-ft data center that won’t be needed until later. In addition, if a company moves, the data center can be palletized and moved with the business.
Utility data center example
A major Northeastern utility used an onsite data center, which was installed in time to help with reliability during eastern seaboard storms that produced sustained 70-mile-per-hour winds and 15-ft coastal tides over hundreds of miles, causing widespread power outages and regional flooding. Data availability helps first responders deal with such storms so residents can stay informed. However, the data centers face the same conditions as customers. Online servers are critical to rescue efforts.
Superstorm Sandy vs. data center
A parking lot served as a location for a modular data center, brought online a few weeks prior to Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The hundred-year storm didn’t penetrate the utility data center despite torrential rains and 3 ft of water around the new data center. Utility servers remained online without disruption.
Keith Petoske is a data center and storage consultant for Future Tech Enterprise Inc., an IT solutions provider. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media, firstname.lastname@example.org.
KEYWORDS: Onsite data security
- Server enclosures are critical to data center reliability in dangerous weather.
- Superstorm Sandy didn’t penetrate a modular utility data center.
- Scalable data center design allows for easy expansion.
Manufacturing data security can mix on-site and off-site cloud-based data management.
See a CFE Edu online course on data centers.