Against this challenging backdrop, Future Facilities has the ideal solution. A software company dedicated to improving the way data centers are designed and operated, Future Facilities is streamlining data center management operations by leveraging the extraordinary potential of the Data Center Digital Twin.
In an interview with CIO Applications, Sherman Ikemoto, Director of Future Facilities, discusses how the Digital Twin can enable operators and managers to maximize the utilization of their data centers and operate them reliably and cost-competitively.
How is the Data Center Digital Twin exactly helping in the management process?
Digital twin technology has been adopted by many industries that rely on analytical models, including aerospace, automotive, and consumer electronics, just to name a few. Gartner even named digital twins as “One of the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018.” While digital twin technology is still relatively new to the data center industry (as we are the first to bring it to this industry), it is paving the way to a more streamlined operations process.
The Data Center Digital Twin is a 3D virtual replica of the physical data center. Using live data and physics-based simulation capabilities, Future Facilities’ Digital Twin is equipping managers with the much-needed tools to consolidate multiple tasks on one platform to collaborate across data center teams effectively. The Digital Twin predicts the impact of any change made to the data center by visualizing and quantifying performance, which enables data center teams to anticipate the resource requirements necessary to reach service-level agreements (SLAs). As such, managing and optimizing resources is now easier than ever.
Future Facilities is a software company dedicated to building a better future for your data center. We pioneer the use of the Digital Twin for data center operations, so that you can make your capacity planning decisions in a risk-free environment.
Is the Digital Twin the same as virtualization?
It might be useful to compare or link the emerging Digital Twin methodology to the well-recognized virtualization technique, which is applied to computing resources. Virtualization helps overcome the constraints on the management of memory, storage, or processors, facilitating much higher utilization of the computing resources while also lowering the costs and risks.
Our vision is a world where all data centers can realize their business potential. To make this vision a reality, we are pioneering the concept of the Digital Twin for data center design and operations.
What are the pain points your clients generally face, and how are your solutions mitigating them?
At Future Facilities, we seek to help data center designers, vendors, owners, and operators find ways to improve how they design and operate data centers. A pain point that has become more apparent recently is the increasing adoption of cloud IT technologies. While legacy data centers were designed to handle 5-6 kilowatts of power per cabinet, with the new cloud IT infrastructure, that number goes as high as 15-20 kilowatts per cabinet. Managing this surge in power, coupled with other new and growing demands, is difficult given the range of toolsets available that do not integrate well with one another.
Our platform enables the design and operation of data centers for the entire data center ecosystem. We also have a range of modules to help with specific pain points, like the Power and Data Network modules. We’ve virtualized the data center and, in turn, all other components that make up the industry. In other words, we’ve re-created the entire data center ecosystem in a virtual world where suppliers can also design their products. Virtual design and optimization are cheaper, faster, and safer than designing with physical prototypes.
Can you walk us through the solution delivery or deployment process you adopt at Future Facilities?
We implement a three-stage delivery process for the Digital Twin. First, we build a Digital Twin model of your data center. Then, we compile our report on the technical and business performance of the data center and a detailed roadmap to close any gaps. Finally, we implement the Digital Twin and its related software and train your staff to be able to use our technology on their own.
Could you cite a case study where you have helped your client meet their requirements?
We have implemented the Digital Twin concept for a large healthcare provider that has multiple data center locations throughout the US. It involved numerous teams, ten data halls, hundreds of thousands of square feet of data center space, and about 17 megawatts of capacity. We created a baseline of their data center performance and found that at 50 percent of full load, about 12 percent of their IT configuration was in violation of temperature SLAs. At the same time, the client was over-provisioning the capacity of their data centers by 20 percent.
The Digital Twin not only uncovered these problems, but also provided the necessary platform to solve them. They won 16 percent of their stranded capacity back and increased their reliability score from 88 percent to 100 percent Through the Digital Twin methodology, our healthcare client successfully met their SLAs for 100 percent of the IT configuration.
By adopting the Digital Twin, they have embraced an integrated, automated, and cohesive data center management process with better control over their SLAs and the resources required to meet those SLAs.
What does the future hold for your company?
Our vision is a world where all data centers can realize their business potential. To make this vision a reality, we are pioneering the concept of the Digital Twin for data center design and operations. Future Facilities will continue to learn more about how the Digital Twin can better serve our clients’ needs, particularly with respect to reporting the findings from the Digital Twin to management and streamlining the management process.
While digital twin technology has just started to scratch the surface, we believe the Data Center Digital Twin will become the standard in design and operations in the foreseeable future. With that goal in mind, we will continue to spread awareness of and improve upon the extraordinary capabilities of the Digital Twin methodology.