• Data Center

    An Introduction to Containers

    What is a Container? A Container is a set of processes (applications and their dependencies) that can be isolated from the rest of the machine. While a Virtual Machine Hypervisor abstracts the entire device (hardware-level), Containers abstract only the Operating System (OS-level). Within an Operating System many Containers can exist, and they are isolated from each other. Within a Container, applications are packaged along with their dependencies. So within the same OS, for example, one Container can have a certain version of PHP while another has a different version. When compared to VMs, Containers occupy less space/resources. They can be built once and can run on different platforms like network…

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  • Data Center

    Understanding Networking in Virtual Machine (VM) Environment

    Server Virtualization packs applications in Virtual Machine (VM) format and runs multiple applications in a single server. So how is networking handled in a scenario where there are multiple VMs in each server, and multiple servers? The above diagram represents networking in one such Virtual Machine environment. (Citrix XenServer. I am using their concept to explain networking in Virtual Machines, in general. This is only to give you an idea and may not apply to all scenarios.) In the above diagram, the area enclosed within dotted lines represents a server (host). There are multiple Virtual Machines (VM) within a host (top), and each of them have a Virtual Adapter/Virtual Interface Card.…

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  • Data Center

    PCoIP: Enabling Graphics with Desktop Virtualization

    PCoIP, developed by Teradici (and licensed by desktop virtualization vendors) is a useful protocol that enables high-definition and 3D graphics (among other demanding applications) without lag in centralized DV scenarios. PCoIP is a desktop display protocol that transmits encrypted images of desktop sessions to zero clients that come embedded with a PCoIP encoding/decoding processor. There is no need for processing or memory at the endpoint level and hence zero clients may be sufficient. PCoIP can enable multiple-display clients and peripherals (USB, DVI, etc.) to be used at the endpoint level. Since processing happens in the servers, and only encrypted images are transmitted from the server to the zero client, security…

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  • Data Center

    Delivering your Desktop from the Public Cloud?

    I guess you are familiar with Desktop Virtualization. Using it, companies can host (and process) user’s desktop sessions in their data centers, and just send the desktop image to the end-user terminal over the network. This process happens within the enterprise network/private cloud. What if, desktop sessions can be hosted and delivered, instead, from a public cloud – over the Internet? Welcome to Desktop as a Service (DaaS). Today, it is possible to decouple software, applications & data from end-user hardware, host it in a public cloud, and offer it as a service with no upfront costs but monthly payments. In this post, let us see why desktop software and…

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  • Data Center

    Zero Clients – Advantages and Limitations

    What are Zero Clients? You maybe familiar with a thin client used in desktop virtualization. There is also something called as Zero Client, also used in desktop virtualized scenarios. In a Zero Client – unlike a thin client – there is no CPU, no local storage, no RAM, no moving parts, and no Operating System. A Zero Client just has a chip with built-in firmware. In other words, zero clients act as Input/Output redirection units. They send the user input/strokes from keyboard, mouse, etc. to the server; receive data as images (pixels) and display them on the monitor. The processing is totally done on the server-side, but the zero client may employ…

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  • Data Center

    Increase Data Center Energy Efficiency – Learn from Facebook & Google!

    Let’s admit it – Data Centers are tremendous energy guzzlers. Anti-Green. But, you wouldn’t have much of a reason to think about improving the energy efficiency of data centers just because you need to make the earth a greener place to live in. But there is another, more compelling reason for every company to increase their data center efficiency – the reduction in their electricity bills (running costs), and in many cases, reduction in capital expenditure required for building data centers, as well. But just how do we achieve it? Well, there is no need to reinvent the wheel, as two of the largest cloud companies – Facebook & Google…

  • Data Center

    Server Virtualization Next: Paravirtualization & Hardware-assisted Virtualization?

    Server Virtualization has enabled IT departments to run multiple applications and multiple Operating Systems within a single server. This not only reduced the total number of servers required (and networking, cooling requirements, etc.,) but has also reduced the under-utilization of high-performance servers. But, doesn’t virtualization come with its own processing overhead and requirements? Can that be reduced? Two concepts: Paravirtualization & Hardware-assisted Virtualization, are catching up in the industry to achieve just that, and increase the efficiency of the virtualization process. What is the Problem? Operating Systems do not expect to share server resources, but sharing is the main advantage of virtualization. Also, Operating Systems expect/need direct access to memory…

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  • Data Center

    Would you prefer a rack with integrated compute, storage & networking components?

    Photo: Derrick Coetzee. Published under this creative commons license. Instead of buying a separate rack, servers, storage appliances, networking switches, etc and integrating the hardware/firmware to work with each other, what if you are able to buy a rack that comes pre-installed with all these components and (internal) connectivity? Wait, there is more – What if this rack comes with a OS/virtualization software and has a unified management unit/interface for all these components? What if you could choose what goes into certain parts of this integrated unit and still be able to manage all disparate systems using the same interface? Yes, such systems are available today. Unified management is the…

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  • Data Center

    Should enterprises consider geolocation data for routing application requests?

    It is not uncommon to see enterprise companies host their applications/data on multiple data centers, private & public clouds. Geolocation is a technology that helps companies determine accurate location of clients/devices accessing their applications/data. This is nothing new, as content delivery networks have been using this technology for quite some time to locate servers closest to the requester location, in order to provide the best user experience (faster access, lower latency, etc.). Targeted advertising is another field that has been using geolocation data for a long time, in order to serve relevant ads to users based on their location information. Though geolocation data can be obtained from IP address registries,…

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  • Data Center

    Advantages of Precision Air Conditioners for Data Centers/Server Rooms

    Let us look at the advantages of Precision air conditioners over comfort/standard air conditioners for data centers and server rooms. Of course, people use precision air conditioners (or something better) by default in data centers, these days. But, smaller facilities like server rooms and IT rooms don’t always get that privilege. It might actually take a single accident to understand that precision air conditioners are a must, at every location where network/server gear worth thousands of dollars (and more) are located. Advantages of Precision Air Conditioners (AC) over Comfort/Standard Air Conditioners (AC): Precise and quick processor-based temperature control, to keep your IT equipment at the right temperature, always. Precise humidity control.…

  • Data Center

    Facebook’s Open Compute project seeks to Open Source Data Center hardware

    Facebook’s Open Compute Project seeks to open source data center hardware design and evolve a common set of standards for scale-computing applications. Open-source concepts are popular with the software industry, but why not open up the design aspects of the data center computing hardware, the same way? Opening up will enable customers to have a say in the kind of design they prefer/want, it will enable engineers around the world to contribute their ideas to create more efficient/effective models and it will enable different manufacturers to use the design and manufacture inter-operable hardware components, based on standards. The data center industry seems to be moving in the proprietary mode, with…

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  • Data Center

    Evolution of Conventional Data Center networks into Modern Data Center networks

    Conventional Data Center networks (Limitations) Conventional Data Center networks have 3-4 tires like access layer, aggregation layer, core layer, services layer, etc. Each layer duplicates many of the IP/Ethernet packet analysis and forwarding functions. This adds end-to-end latency. To reduce costs and make these networks scalable, over-subscription (higher downlink capacity and lower uplink capacity) is typically used for all these tiers. Over-subscription might result in packet losses during network congestion and is not suitable for storage traffic. STP (Spanning Tree Protocol) is used to block multiple paths (loops) in the network. STP prevents the complete usage of available network bandwidth and the network may have to be rewired to handle…

  • Data Center

    An overview of Server Input-Output Virtualization (IOV)

    IOV or Server Input - Output Virtualization is a technology that enables the Input/Output Interface components like NIC/HBA to be removed from physical servers and consolidated using a separate device. Let us look at the need, definition and advantages of IOV/ Input-Output Virtualization, in this article.

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  • Data Center

    Why Cloud Computing is an excellent option for Disaster Recovery (DR)

    One of the advantages of implementing a Private Cloud in your organization, is the possibility to build a solid Disaster Recovery strategy using Public Cloud infrastructure. Read on, to find out more… What are Private and Public Clouds? A Public Cloud service provider creates common scalable infrastructure (Servers, networking, bandwidth, etc) in their data centers which can be utilized by many individual companies to host their applications. The main advantage of a Public Cloud is the low capital expenditure for companies hosting their data (no need to buy hardware),  Pay-as-you-use flexible billing model and the ability to scale infrastructure requirements up or down at any given point of time. Private…