10 Data Center Server Hardware Must-Haves
March 10, 2011
6. Digital Data Shredder
Every data center needs a data shredder for reasons much like why every office needs a paper shredder. A data shredder is a device to which you connect disk drives and wipe them of all data. The shredder makes it impossible to recover data from a disk. All disks removed from racked systems should visit the shredder prior to disposal or return. Yes, it's a bit more work than simply reformatting a drive while inside a server, but it's also worth the effort to protect your sensitive data from prying eyes.
7. SSD SAN Storage
Data centers should begin transitioning to solid state disk (SSD) SAN for high-speed access storage this year. SSDs are more expensive and should be used only in cases where workloads demand high disk I/O. Don't waste their high-priced capacity for file storage or long-term backup needs.
8. KVM Console Servers
Going "headless" in the data center sounds like a great pitch to management types, but try working on one and you'll change your mind in a hurry. No, you don't have to attach a monitor, keyboard and mouse to every system in your data center. You should, however use KVM Console Servers so your system administrators can do their jobs more effectively. Searching throughout a data center for an available crash cart is a waste of time and slows down workflow to a crawl. KVM systems are relatively inexpensive and make it easier to maintain hundreds of systems.
9. Virtual Tape Libraries
Virtual Tape Libraries (VTLs) are actually disk-based systems that allow you to offload backups to them for eventual leisurely backup to physical tape. VTLs are fast and remove the possibility of failed backups due to tape-related glitches or bottlenecks. VTLs work with existing backup software, and your systems are none the wiser because they "think" they're backing up to traditional tape-based storage.
10. Network Attached Storage
You need SAN for high-speed storage access and you need network-attached storage (NAS) for workloads and storage that don't require blazing speeds. NAS is cost-effective for storage, file services, ISO repositories and virtual machine template repositories, as well as of limited use for workload access.
Ken Hess is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of open source topics including Linux, databases, and virtualization. He is also the coauthor of Practical Virtualization Solutions, which was published in October 2009. You may reach him through his web site at http://www.kenhess.com.