While there is a growing concern for security among ITdriven companies to safeguard its highly valuable data, a lot of firms are getting drawn to adapt modern-day technologies – Cloud or Data Centres but usually find themselves in a fix, writes Sandeep Datta of Elets News Network (ENN).
To many of us even if “cloud” and “data centre” may sound interchangeable technical jargon while mentioning about the same infrastructure, the two computing systems in fact have less in common than the fact that both are related to data storage.
A section of business fraternity opines while the adoption to cloud and data centers commenced late in India in comparison to its global counterparts, it’s going with the supersonic rocket like speed today.
India’s data centre infrastructure market, estimated to be worth $2.2 billion, is anticipated to touch $4.5 billion by 2018. The country is poised to be the second-largest market for data centres in Asia-Pacific by 2020 and the investments are expected to reach $7 billion, according to a report by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
The report titled ‘Conducive Policy & Regulatory Environment To Incentivise Data centre Infrastructure,’ which highlighted opportunities for the sector, was released by NITI Aayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant last May.
Stating that India could grow to an infrastructure hub drawing $7 billion or 4.5% of the world’s investments by 2020, the report stressed there is “an urgent need to create appropriate incentives to attract the investments and enable better connectivity, data speed and create more jobs in the country”.
The report also highlighted various legal, policy and regulatory enablers that are essential to promote data centre industry and strengthen the county’s positioning in the global data centre market.
A study reportedly has indicated the value of Indian Data Centre infrastructure and services market will be anywhere between $350 crore to $500 crore by 2018. The constant northward movement of the Indian data centre infrastructure and services market owes to the demand pooled by all major verticals like BFSI, IT & ITES, Manufacturing, Education, Health Care, Telecom and the Government.
The data centers are basically a conglomeration of elements instead of being any single thing. At the minimum, data centers serve as the principal repositories for all manner of IT equipment, including servers, storage subsystems, networking switches, routers and firewalls, as well as the cabling and physical racks used to interconnect and organise the IT equipment.
Physical size or style doesn’t matter when we are to define data centers. Small businesses may operate successfully with several servers and storage arrays networked within a convenient closet or small room, while major computing organizations like Google or Facebook may fill an enormous warehouse space with data centre equipment and infrastructure.
The data centers can also be assembled in mobile installations, such as shipping containers, which are also described as data centers in a box which be moved and deployed as required.
Data Centre versus Cloud
While thinking about the factors distinguishing a cloud from a data centre, we need to understand that a cloud is an off premise form of computing that stores data on the Internet. A data centre, however, refers to on-premise hardware that stores data within an organisation’s local network.
While cloud services are outsourced to third-party cloud providers who perform all updates and ongoing maintenance, data centers are typically run by an in-house IT department.
It maybe noted that data centers are increasingly implementing private cloud software, which builds on virtualisation to add a level of automation, user self-service and billing/charge back to data centre administration. The objective is to allow individual users to provision workloads and other computing resources on-demand, without IT administrative intervention.
What Suits Your Business — Cloud or Data centre?
We need to understand that a data centre is ideal for companies that need a customised, dedicated system which accords full control to them over their data and equipment.
Since only the company will use the infrastructure’s power, a data centre is also said to be more suitable for organisations running a host of varying applications and complex workloads.
A data centre, however, has limited capacity — once you build a data centre, you will not be able to change the amount of storage and workload it can withstand without purchasing and installing more equipment.
A cloud system, however, is scalable to your business needs, with potentially unlimited capacity, based on your vendor’s offerings and service plans. A disadvantage of the cloud is that you will not have as much control as you would a data centre, since a third party is managing the system.
Moreover, unless an organisation doesn’t have a private cloud within the company network, you will be sharing resources with other cloud users in your provider’s public cloud.
Cloud Security vs. Data Centre Security
Since the cloud is an external form of computing, it may be less secure or take more work to secure than a data centre. Unlike data centers, where you are responsible for your own security, you will be entrusting your data to a third-party provider that may or may not have the most up-to-date security certifications. If your cloud resides on several data centers in different locations, each location will also need the proper security measures. According to Debmalya Dey Roy, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Pi Datacenters, the global Datacentre traffic is growing multi-folds. With the high operational expenses “owing to the heavy energy consumption, service providers are now moving towards green Datacentres ensuring efficient consumption of resources and energy”.
Energy Efficient Green Datacentre
The process of building a green Datacentre commences from analysing the existing resources and the usage to decide on the next steps. Energy efficiency is the major factor to be addressed by any green Datacentre. Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) is the most standard industry metric to measure the same. A Lower PUE is the sign of an efficient Datacentre.
It can be achieved by effectively using the available resources. Optimised electrical and cooling design will enhance the power efficiency of the Datacentre. Be it enabling power management feature in Central Processing Unit’s (CPU), use of high efficiency equipment including Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS), adopting best practices in cooling, conducting energy audit, action to reduce energy consumption. Recent engineering innovations have made more options available. Using renewable energy resources is another way to improve the efficiency.
Roy says that enterprises nowadays seek smart and intelligent datacenters with inbuilt features like scalability, flexibility, reliability, integrity and security to support their growth cycles. “High availability of infrastructure elements to avoid downtimes is of significance for the enterprises to ensure resilience.”
Enterprises nowadays seek smart and intelligent datacenters with inbuilt features like scalability, flexibility, reliability, integrity and security to support their growth cycles.
How to Finally Decide?
In case your firm requires customisable and a wholly dedicated system, a data centre option may be a good option, as you won’t be sharing any space with another organisation. But if you need more space or computing power, it translates into purchasing more equipment, staff to maintain it, and electricity.
And, if you don’t need a customisable powerhouse dedicated only to your storage requirements, you can try a third party cloud system. It costs less. As in such a case, you will be sharing the space with other organisations hiring the third party to maintain their data. In case, you need extra space, most organisations will allow you to up your storage space without asking why?
But still a big concern remains that you lose the element of control since you are contracting another organisation to hold your data within their system.
The solution of this dilemma may lie in having a flexible approach depending upon our needs, placing the most essential and critical data in a data centre and less confidential information on the cloud to keep it more easily accessible.