Writing for ITBusinessEdge, Arthur Cole confirms that modular infrastructure has gained a firm footing in the data center industry. To be sure, nearly all of the platforms currently on the market are optimized for scale-out, cloud-ready architectures.
“MarketsandMarkets puts the current value of the modular data infrastructure market at about $6.5 billion and expects it to top $26 billion by the end of the decade,” Cole explained.
“That is a compound annual growth rate of nearly 32 percent.”
Steven Woo, VP of Enterprise Solutions Technology at Rambus, notes that data centers are rapidly evolving in an effort to keep pace with petabytes of information generated by the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables and mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.
“One of the biggest challenges the industry faces today is expanding memory and storage bandwidth and capacity in parallel to meet the growing demands of processors with increasing core counts,” said Woo. “Each core requires a certain amount of memory capacity and bandwidth. The rapid growth in the number of modern CPU cores is putting pressure on memory and storage systems. The flexibility of modular rack scale architectures that disaggregate major resources allows administrators to scale up or down appropriately to meet their needs.”
Indeed, data centers have traditionally focused on raw compute, causing power and cooling costs to skyrocket. An alternative paradigm, says Woo, is to continue trending towards the design of modular resources with varying levels of processing, memory, bandwidth, capacity and storage.
“Modular, disaggregated architectures allow resources to be provided and assigned as needed to meet the widely varying demands of modern workloads. For example, serving up basic webpages and streaming YouTube videos can be achieved on an individual server with modest compute and memory resources,” he continued.
“However, heavy analytics jobs or scientific computing tasks that processes gigabytes of user or machine data require much higher compute, memory and storage capabilities and often entails many resources working together.”
As Woo emphasizes, a modular, disaggregated approach to data centers can help balance the ever-increasing requirements of Big Data and multiple core counts with accelerated demands for memory, storage capacity and bandwidth.
“Without a parallel boost in bandwidth and capacity, data centers won’t be able to take advantage of increasing CPU core counts,” he added. “Simply put, the key to building the data center of the future is providing a healthy balance between compute, memory and storage. The flexibility afforded by disaggregating resources is a compelling way to meet the needs of modern workloads.”