IT system which deals with peaks and troughs

[2009-11-26] Instead of filling the basement with computers, those who wish to start a sales site or a TV channel on the Internet can easily purchase the exact IT capacity required. Data centres which supply infrastructure for Internet services must, therefore, be able to efficiently meet a capacity requirement characterised by strong variations.

Computing scientists at Umeå University are now developing a new type of infrastructure together with IBM and eleven other companies and universities.

In the future, it will be possible to see a company’s IT resources as a virtual cloud of IT capacity. It will be possible to adapt the size and form of the virtual cloud to current needs by combining the companies’ own computers with hired capacity.
– Among other things, it must be possible to dynamically increase capacity in order to cope with peak loads and decrease it in order to save energy and money when the requirements
are smaller, Erik Elmroth, Principal Investigator at the Department of Computing
Science and HPC2N, says.

Explosive development

This new IT infrastructure will be able to supply, in an economical and energy-efficient way, sufficient capacity to one’s own company, or form the basis of an IT service hotel for companies and private individuals who prefer to use IT resources on the Internet rather than buying their own.
– At the moment, an explosive development
in the supply of new IT services is taking place on the Internet, both with regard to number and range. For example, there are websites where you can place your own videos or book your trips on the net and companies often use external IT services instead of their own computers and software. Many of these websites often experience planned or unplanned peak loads such as, for example, the Swedish Tax Agency’s online system during tax return submission periods or a news site with streaming video in the event of a big news event. Utilisation may be extremely low in between peak loads, even if the services must be available at all times. In order to manage the large and varying load in a cost-effective manner, we require new and more flexible infrastructure solutions, Erik Elmroth says.

Data centres of the future

The research group in Umeå participates with IBM and several European companies and universities in the EU-supported project RESERVOIR, Resources and Services Virtualization without Barriers. The project is aimed at the development of an infrastructure for data centres of the future by combining advanced grid technology, an area where the Umeå group is leading, with virtual computers.

Photo: Samuel Bengtson

Editor: Karin Wikman

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