Datacenter monitoring: data security and energy efficiency

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Global demand for Data Centre (DC) capacity and Data Centre services continues to rise steadily, despite macroeconomic conditions. The DC role is expanding thanks the rapid increase in Virtualization, Cloud computing, High-Powered Computing, and the vast growth in Internet use, with the consequent increase of power consumption.

Power consumption of DCs becoming a serious concern in the design and operation, given by the need to save energy and use green energy to reduce environmental impact and energy costs. The effects of high power consumption manifest not only in the cost of electricity consumption, but also in the costs spent in designing effective cooling systems to ward off the generated heat.

It is crucial to deploy power management strategies to lower these costs towards enhancing profitability. At the same time, techniques for power management that include shutting down these servers and/or modulating their operational speed, can impact the ability to meet Service Level Agreements (SLAs).  So each technique should be used in the right context.

However, energy efficiency concepts are necessary to reduce ecological impact of DCs, but are not enough alone. The carbon emissions of DCs are greatly influenced by the energy sources used, the operation of the DC, the connection to energy infrastructures in our cities and integration of Renewable Energy Sources (RES). In order to control the carbon emission is necessary to develop a set of advanced concepts under a holistic approach integrating the best technical solutions, including: management of the IT load following “green” objectives, low-energy air-conditioning systems, solar cooling, interaction with district heating and cooling networks, re-use of heat, optimal use of heat and cold storage, and integration in smart grids.
Planners, managers, investors, owners and designers of DCs need the necessary tools (monitoring systems in particular DCIM) capable of evaluating the environmental performance and the share of RES. Some of the best-run DCs are those where managers have accurate and meaningful information about their Data Centre’s assets, resource use and operational status, from the lowest level of the facility infrastructure to the higher echelons of the IT stack. This information enables them to plan, forecast and manage, to make decisions based on real-time data, to perform scenario testing and to use automated systems with confidence. This provides some benefits such as an increase of system availability, an improved productivity with remote management, a reduced power consumption and energy savings, a better capacity management and planning and an improved team communication.

Nevertheless, this kind of approach and the usage of new technologies bring with them some new issues to deal with like:
• Big Data issues, namely the management of a large volume and variety of data, and to get value from them;
• Security issues, regarding data, network, services etc.
For instance, concerning security issues, with the proliferation of wireless devices such smartphones and tablets, the number of devices connecting to and accessing applications within the DC is exploding. This increase the burden of perimeter security, as services are being accessed from anywhere and with greater traffic volume. In the market there are advanced DC Security solutions able to provide complete network and application security for the DCs. Examples of them are: Firewall, DDoS protection and attack mitigation, Intrusion Detection System (IDS), Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), Security information and event management software (SIEM) etc.
Finally, another aspect regarding security issues is data protection, namely all the tools available for data backup and data recovery, used in order to make sure that enterprise data are safe, accurate, and secure.
Despite the crisis, the IT world will continue to have a bright future. We’ll have several challenges ahead of us and ICT and Data Science skills will be necessary to achieve them.

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