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1.2 Introduction to Storage Infrastructure and IT Datacenters

HomeStorage Area Networking1.2 Introduction to Storage Infrastructure and IT Datacenters
In the previous post, we learned the basics of Data and Information and need for a intelligent storage systems which can store, manage and process the digital data as per business needs. The ever increasing digital data and information is generally stored and managed in a Storage system which consists of number of storage devices and these storage systems are generally referred as Storage Arrays.
There can be one or more storage arrays configured in a IT Datacenters along with other important components like compute and network based on the business needs. These are the important components for both traditional and Cloud Datacenters. In this post, we will learn what are
  • Storage Devices 
  • Traditional Datacenter
  • Software Defined Datacenter

What is a Storage Device ?

In the IT world, Storage devices or simply referred as storage media which consists of non-volatile recording media on which data is persistently stored. This storage devices are generally connected to compute servers as internal storage or as external storage. Based on their usage, these storage devices can be broadly classified as

  • Magnetic storage devices –  hard disk drive and magnetic tape drive.
  • Optical storage devices –  Blu-ray, DVD, and CD.
  • Flash-based storage devices –  Solid state drive (SSD), memory card, and USB thumb drive (or pen drive).

The above storage devices are used in datacenter based on the factors like media type, cost, architecture, capacity, reliability and performance requirements of the organization.  For example, Flash based storage devices are used for storing business-critical information that needs to be available to the applications continuously. Whereas magnetic tapes and optical storage devices are typically used for backup and archiving the data for long term. 

Also Read: Compute Server and Storage Architecture

Storage Array
Storage Array having number of storage Devices

As discussed earlier, data is typically stored on storage systems referred as storage arrays which contains a group of homogeneous/heterogeneous storage devices assembled within a cabinet as shown in the figure. These storage systems are typically designed for high performance, capacity,  reliability, scalability and security to address business  needs.

These storage arrays are connected to number of servers over a network where the business applications and databases run. Typically, every organization house these storage arrays, servers and hardware networking equipment within a datacenter.


What is a Datacenter ?

A Datacenter is a physical and dedicated space where all the IT infrastructure components like Storage, Compute servers, networking and other supporting equipment’s are hosted, installed and configured to address the Organizations IT and data processing needs.
Google Datacenter
360 degree view of datacenter in google
Any Datacenter consists the following components
  • Physical Building Facility:  It is the physical building or floor space where the data center is configured. The floor in the datacenter has ducts underneath for holding power and network cables.
  • IT infrastructure equipment: It includes the equipment like compute servers, storage arrays, network switches, routers, cables and racks for housing the IT equipment.
  • Datacenter Support infrastructure: It is the equipment needed to securely running the functioning of the data center such as power equipment, power generators, environmental control equipment like fire and water detection systems, heating, air conditioning systems and security systems.

Traditionally, datacenter is constructed in organizations own facility or collocated facility which means outsourcing to 3rd party vendor where the vendor maintains datacenter for multiple clients. Whereas with the cloud computing, Datacenter facilities are constructed and governed by cloud service providers to offer various Cloud Services.

Also Read: Types of services offered by Cloud Service providers

Typically, at the enterprise level, Organizations construct datacenter either by integrating best-of-breed infrastructure components or by acquiring and deploying a converged infrastructure.

Best-of-breed infrastructure: In this type, Datacenter is constructed by the best-of-breed infrastructure components,  hardware and software purchased from multiple different vendors to leverage the advantages of high quality products and services from the respective leading vendors. This provides the ability to change the individual vendors if the agreed SLAs are not met and allows the organizations to re-purpose the existing infrastructure. 

Converged infrastructure: This type of infrastructure integrates hardware and software components into a single packaged solution which can be deployed independently, or aggregated with other packages to meet the additional capacity and performance requirements. They comes with a single management software capable of managing all hardware and software within the package. Converged infrastructure also lowers power and space requirements and the vendors also offers cloud-ready converged infrastructure with built-in capabilities for secure multi-tenancy. 

Introduction to Software-Define Datacenter

In traditional Datacenters, the management of the IT infrastructure is done by using intelligent tools which are tightly coupled with physical hardware like servers and storage devices. But Software-define Datacenter  decouples the hardware and the intelligence. It  encapsulate the hardware infrastructure intelligence into a software which upgrades the traditional data center functions into Software defined functions.

  • Software-defined data center (SDDC) utilizes virtualization concepts such as abstraction, pooling, and automation of the data center’s resources and services to achieve IT as a service (ITaaS).
  • In an SDDC, compute, storage, networking, security, and availability services are pooled, aggregated, and delivered as a service and are managed by policy-driven intelligent software.
  • These built-in policies  and services automates the provisioning and configuration of the IT infrastructure. Thus allowing organisations to dynamically manage their IT infrastructure. 

Cloud Computing is the main drivers for Software-defined Datacenters which simplifies the work of managing servers & storage systems by an organization to reduce the IT costs which we have it in today’s traditional datacenters. 

Go To  Home >> Storage Basics and Fundamentals

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Anil K Y Ommi
Anil K Y Ommi
Cloud Solutions Architect with more than 15 years of experience in designing & deploying application in multiple cloud platforms.

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