A holistic approach on automation in data centers

22 April, 2016 - 10:14

Vinnova has decided to fund a large project at SICS North Swedish ICT, focusing on cross-layer automation and monitoring in data centers. The project will take a holistic approach on automation of control, management and orchestration across the different layers of a data center.

Vinnova has decided to fund the project SENDATE-EXTEND in the Celtic plus program of EUREKA. The total project cost amounts to 50,7 MSEK over three years. The main partners are Ericsson, ABB, KTH, LTU and SICS. Other important partners are Arctos labs, BnearIT, Eitech, Metria, Netrounds and Swegon, and Vattenfall and city of Luleå are co-funding the project.

The project acronym SENDATE-EXTEND is spelled out as Secure Networking for a Data Center Cloud in Europe – extended data center solutions.

In many data centers of today facility and IT are operated separately in different teams: Within facilities the building automation system, power supply control system and the cooling automation system are managed separately, especially when different vendors have delivered the systems.

“The separate control systems of the equipment do not talk to each other and the different DCIM systems, which are used for operation and maintenance, are not integrated. This is the rationale behind the project”, says Tor Björn Minde, CEO of SICS North Swedish ICT.

On the IT side the software is deployed and operated based on assumption of the server design and operation. Cooling of IT equipment is based on assumptions of the server hardware and software operation – not on a common design principle.

The aim of SENDATE-EXTEND is to provide the scientific concepts and solutions for holistic control, management, and orchestration of data center infrastructure.

Control, management and orchestration of each separate part should be based on a common knowledge about the status and performance of the whole data center.

“We aim to break the silos of different technology and product areas in the data center. The common goal is to maximize computing power and minimize energy consumption”, says Valeriy Vyatkin, Professor at Luleå University of Technology, one of the academic partners in the project.

The premise is that the separate processes should still be performed separately, but in a hierarchical structure. The common policy management and common performance metrics will be shared between sub-systems, and a shared information architecture and database of all environmental, asset, electrical and IT related metrics will be designed and developed in the project.

The ideas and concepts will be tested and demonstrated in the recently opened large-scale data center research facility SICS ICE in Luleå.

“That will be key to successful results and exploitation of the solutions”, says Peter Löfgren, at ABB Corporate Research, one of the main partners in the project.