We are moving towards a software defined data center: Dr Sourav Dutta, Executive Director & Head – IT, IDBI Bank
Dr Sourav Dutta, Executive Director & Head – IT, IDBI Bank speaks about the origin of data centers in India, and its evolution over the last many decades.
Highlighting the genesis of the internet in India, Dr Sourav Dutta, Executive Director & Head – IT, IDBI Bank says, “Internet was commercially launched in India on 15th August 1995, and before that it was only available in the prestigious research institutes of the country. It was commercially launched in partnership with state-owned Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL). And back then, nobody had a clue of what data centers are all about. However, even the first data center grew up around that time, when the internet was born in India.”
Talking about traditional data centers, Dr Dutta explains, “A traditional data center is a place where you have a lot of computers sitting together and it is managed from there. And that is how we started off with traditional data centers. And gradually, when people realised the potential of these data centers and the advantages of having it in one place then they started to think big, and that’s how its evolution began. So, you have the traditional data centres and most of the BFSI segments usually have their own data centers for the prevalent security and regulatory requirements. Also, in the BFSI industry the main concept is trust. That’s why most organisations have an on-premise data center. ”
Dr Dutta further states, “Some of the main components of the data centers are basically, multiple computers set up at one place, power distribution units, and then comes air handling mechanism which involves the computer room air conditioning (CRAC) or the precision air conditioners and mechanical refrigeration to cool the air in a data center, the electrical systems setup and UPS, etc, etc. So these are the basic structure of a data center, which most data centres have in common, across the world. However, there can be differences in power supplies, some may opt for green energy and some may go for hydrogen as a power source. And even the hydrogen has 4 different categories; There is Blue, Green, Grey and Black.”
He adds by saying, “If you look at the evolution of data centers over a period of time, that is from the 1980’s; and it was there in the United States of America, Europe for some time and we call it Generation 1. The metric to measure the data center is called PUE, which is the ratio of the total amount of power used by a computer data center facility to the power delivered to computing equipment. And this, Generation 1 technology is as old as 20 to 30 years now.”
Explaining further, Dr Dutta says, “In Generation 2, we have high density racks coming in and there was an overall improvement in the cooling technology, as a result you have higher density of servers and storage etc., coming into place. The 3rd Generation is again containment where you had even better concepts of putting these servers, networks and storage together. So, we had a technology called Container Technology which was a bit popular back then, but as the times and technology have moved ahead, it lost its charm and demand. And from Generation 3 onwards there was an increased focus on the sustainability factor of data centers. And from Generation 4 onwards the data center design was completely modular. The self-contained containers allow modularity and contain the necessary core components that facilitate the 4th generation of data centers. So you have the IT packs, co-locations and faster time to market.”
Subsequently in Generation 5, we are moving towards a software defined data centre, points out Dr Dutta, adding further that is where the next generation is going to happen. “We are witnessing the level of virtualization in the compute area to a good saturation level, but if you assess it from a networking perspective, it is still not completely software defined. It is still somewhat based on the traditional approach. However, from a software defined approach you have these domains separated,” he concludes.