What new trends are open infrastructure vendors leading the way?

The perception is that rail transport seems to have little relevance to data centres. However, many consider the width of the train carriage to be a major influence on IT rack and cabinet size design.

By tracing their origins to deployment in railroad signals, many believe the racks were designed with a 19-inch design because they could be placed inside train cars for transport. The size has not changed in nearly a century because of the original decision to go with a 19-inch equipment tray. For a long time, components within the rack (e.g., switches, storage devices, servers) have needed to be mounted into 19-inch equipment bays. Thus it can be said that the size of the rack determines its design.

Open computing project rack

To understand the logic of the open infrastructure design pioneers, one can imagine if smartphone designers set the standard for all smartphone sizes? Regardless of its initial decision, the dimensions of the rack equipment must match. While it's a bit ridiculous to use a cell phone as an example, it's obvious why this design practice confuses many people. Part of the reason for this is a response to irrational behavior, and companies with large numbers of data centers are beginning to consider alternative architectures.

Another reason for open infrastructure design is that customers see data center offerings as an unfair and unnecessarily proprietary solution. Vendors have built many features for various data center products. These features allow vendors to sell their products at a higher price. For some companies with a lot of data center space, these features are unnecessary because (1) their software is broken out from the hardware and does not require an immediate response to hardware failures. (2) They have an in-house development team that can build custom management and/or monitoring solutions. The result is that large customers are not willing to pay for these features and are beginning to demand lower cost, more basic solutions.

Due to the size dependence of the rack design and the introduction of higher standards of proprietary technology, led some to question whether data centers could be more efficient for other infrastructure designs。 Many of the creators of these designs believe they can reduce data center capital expenditures, thus requiring a lower cost solution。 moreover, They believe they can reduce operating costs by designing more efficient solutions。

Trends led by open infrastructure vendors can be leveraged.

(1) Concerns about commoditization and replacement

For many traditional providers, the shift in the market to open infrastructure is frightening. Many vendors see open design infrastructure as the driving force behind the commoditization of infrastructure components. They are concerned that customers seeking an open design product will simply buy a less expensive IT rack or stop using a certain IT product. But that fear didn't come.

While many customers are happy to adopt open infrastructure because it leads to lower-cost solutions, an IHS Markit survey found that the price of these products has only been cut in half. Many open racks are more expensive than traditional racks due to the higher dynamic load ratings required for fully integrated rack deployments. For example, while Facebook has demonstrated the benefits of using new rack-level power distribution technologies through new products such as power racks and bus bars, many customers still rely on more traditional rack-level power distribution methods. Many vendors believe this is because data center operators are taking a cautious approach to new technologies. However, it is worth noting that the buying power of the mega-vendors (who typically buy open infrastructure) is driving down the price of data center infrastructure components, which will happen regardless of how open infrastructure evolves.

(2) General products

Another trend in which traditional suppliers may be able to leverage open infrastructure is the increased interest in generic products。 These products can be used for both traditional and open infrastructure designs。 for example, Used in the Olympus project is the UniversalPDU, Can be used in any data center anywhere in the world, Regardless of its standard voltage。 Not only does Microsoft have a problem with this genericPDU be interested, The product is also of interest to customers with diverse data center locations and legacy infrastructure around the world。 In addition to the genericPDU apart from, There are also some generic products on the market, For example, it can be used for21 inches and19 Rail kit for inch racks。

(3) Customized products

An open infrastructure will allow many vendors to commit to new standards, but rely on custom designs. Many customers with large data centers are very interested in open infrastructure, but do not want to use the same design as other customers. They need a specific design. For suppliers, this means that each new design requires a new custom solution to meet the customer's needs. For many people, open infrastructure design is no different than any other custom project.

The increase in customized products also means that many smaller customers cannot take advantage of open infrastructure, Unless they use the exact same specs as the big customers, Because most suppliers have minimum order quantities。 in caseOpen19 The standard has proven to be an efficient and scalable solution, Then this customization trend may not benefit most businesses, This makesOpen19 Becoming an important criterion to watch。

(4) More integration

As the demand for open infrastructure increases, another trend is that vendors are seeing more customer requests for integration with all racks before they are deployed in the data center. For many rack providers, this means strengthening relationships with IT equipment vendors and systems integrators who all install and test all IT equipment before deploying it.

For IT hardware companies , which means ensuring that the warranty on the equipment is not voided by the IT equipment installed in the rack. For system integrators It is important that suppliers are able to quickly deliver infrastructure components to system integrators so that they can meet the changing needs of their customers.For many suppliers , which means keeping the inventory in the system integrator. The move to fully consolidate racks prior to deployment means that the new computing class is racks and no longer servers.

Even though open infrastructure has not yet become mainstream in the market, it is already changing the relationship between providers and customers. Today, vendors need to be not only sellers of data center infrastructure products, but also provide service and support to customers to implement the best solutions (building relationships with system integrators or other third parties). These new expectations provide a significant opportunity for vendors to strengthen relationships with existing customers and understand the emerging needs of the industry.

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