The Raritan Blog

Disruptive Technologies Changing Data Centers: Part 2

Rick Gonedes
August 6, 2018

Content originally sourced from 451 Research.

The technological world is constantly innovating and evolving. Rather than break the rules, data centers can be found at the heart of these positive, yet disruptive changes. In Part 1 of this series, we explored two disruptive technologies that will help to meet the growing demands for data generation, security and storage. Now, we want to examine two technologies that will have the power to change the infrastructure and design of IT systems.

Disruptive Technology #1: Storage-class Memory 

A new frontier in storage media bridges the latency gap between server storage and external storage: storage-class memory (SCM). SCM extends the apparent capacity of a standard DIMM by using NAND as a backing store and DRAM as a cache for active data.  SCM technologies are all about simplifying data access and capture, while still retaining security and high processing speeds. It is important to note that a SCM covers a range of technologies, not simply one standalone solution.

Who will adopt this technology? 

•    Companies that have no SCM technology. 
•    System vendors interested in marketing new data access and capture technologies. 
•    Data centers interested in drastically reducing the risk of data corruption.

Why will this technology continue to be adopted? 

•    Increased Operational Speeds: SCM-based devices are built to bridge the gap between Flash and DRAM, which will not only benefit large databases but will also increase the speeds of online transactional systems.
•    More RAM: In-memory computing systems will have an increase in RAM, which will lead to the ability to mine greater data sets in real-time.
•    More Efficient Data: SCM technologies are built to reduce duplications in data from both a device's storage and memory. 

SCM technologies will be used to dramatically enhance in-memory computing so that storage by IO is achieved at faster speeds. Additionally, SCM has set the stage to alter the very way that computers are designed. These advances will help data center managers to greatly reduce the operational burdens associated with redundant facility infrastructures. 

Disruptive Technology #2: Silicon Photonics 

Silicon photonics is an evolving technology in which data is transferred among computer chips by optical rays (laser light), which can carry far more data in less time than electrical conductors can. The optical fiber is directly built into semiconductor chips to give IT “computing at the speed of light”. Silicon Photonics (SiPh) are beginning to replace fiber-optic links directly within semiconductor chips. This feature is achieved to increase the speed of optical connections within data centers.

Who will adopt this technology? 

•    System builders interested in retaining and growing their businesses.
•    Cloud providers interested in gaining the pricing, configuration, and flexibility advantage over their competitors.

Why will this technology continue to be adopted?

•    Increased Flexibility: SiPh offers a chance for flexible system designs that are complete with the physical decoupling of storage, accelerators, network, and memory. Administrators will gain the increased flexibility to virtually assign disks, ports, and accelerators to a selected server. 
•    Enhanced Resource Utilization: Too many IT systems struggle to handle the peak load requirements. These struggles are due to internal resource bottlenecks. SiPh effectively resolves these bottlenecks through proper resource utilization. 
•    Faster Refresh Cycle: SiPh will enable technology refresh cycles to occur on specific systems. For example, only the memory, storage, or another subsystem could be programmed to refresh at a certain time, which will lead to faster technology upgrades on processors. 

SiPh is set to change how IT systems are actually designed and operated. This disruptive technology will change the way that systems are interconnected, as well as how data centers are designed. The higher IT utilization that SiPh offers will not only reduce and reshape the demand for data center capacity, but it will also provide the foundation needed to deploy relaxed climatic settings for a 100 percent free cooling throughout the year. 

The Adoption Of Disruptive Technologies Will Continue 

Storage-class Memory and Silicon Photonics showcase the ability of disruptive technologies to change the very design and infrastructure of data centers. As these technologies become more prevalent, we expect to see data centers continue their trend towards increased levels of flexibility and agility. In Part 3 of this series, we will be exploring two disruptive technologies that will bring a heightened level of agility to the data center at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions. 

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