As businesses migrate their IT to the Cloud, and as virtualization takes hold, physical IT on the business premises is shrinking, particularly in remote, branch and SME offices. This poses challenges for businesses in the form of, among others, space utilization, right-sizing of cooling capabilities, and adjustments to power and redundancy configurations.
I caught up with David O’Coimin, Solution Offer Manager for Schneider Electric to talk about the issues this is creating. He told me, “My experience so far is that businesses are starting out with or shifting the majority of their IT infrastructure to the Cloud at a very rapid rate – of that there is no doubt. It means network connectivity has become even more critical – if that’s possible.
“Protecting your connection to the Cloud against downtime is an essential precaution. A lost connection puts everything on hold and a stalled business hemorrhages money until the problem is fixed. The best approach is to take proactive steps to mitigate against problems which could cause downtime in the first place – whether that’s an equipment failure due to overheating or dust ingress; malicious or accidental interference, even the impacts of a power cut can be protected against. At the same time, the IT infrastructure is physically shrinking, sometimes down to 10% of what it previously was on site.”
Where businesses don’t have the space or requirement for a purpose-built server room or data center, Schneider Electric have recently provided a ‘Cloud in a Box’ reference architecture which demonstrates how to create a compact and flexible, on-site physical IT environment. The reference design incorporates and integrates everything you need to house, monitor and maintain an efficient, well protected, local IT hub, connected to the Cloud, which is also free to move, deploying instantly and relocating with you when you re-arrange or move offices.
“We recently built one up and obviously we have been a little tongue in cheek with the actual small-Cloud appearance,” David added. You can see a library of ‘Cloud in a Box’ images by clicking this link. “However, there is metaphorical method behind our madness. Once built, the actual Cloud in a Box solution, which to all the world looks from the outside like an office cabinet, will fade from sight, disappearing in amongst the office furniture.”
What’s inside Cloud in a Box?
The unique Schneider Electric ‘Cloud in a Box’ solution is a secure, sound-proofed, portable environment that enables rapid roll-out of unified computing architectures while optimizing business space and productivity. Within the walls of the enclosure you will find all the components needed to monitor and maintain effective Cloud networking connectivity. This includes a versatile 19” server rack, powerful but quiet & low energy ventilation, a basic power distribution unit, award winning Smart-UPS, environmental monitoring, access logging and surveillance plus dust ingress protection, all aimed at ensuring business continuity through issue anticipation, alerts, remote control and redundant power.
For further information about the Cloud in a Box solution, please click this link. Click here to view a short Instagram video of the Cloud in a Box.