Date and Time:
14th Oct 2009: 1430 Hrs to 1730 Hrs.
EMC Data Storage Systems India Pvt. Ltd. ,
Bagmane World Technology Center, KR Puram Marathahalli Ring Road,
Mahadevapura, Doddanekundi Village, KR Puram Hobli, Bangalore - 560 048
ISiM’ians took up a visit to the EMC Corp’s datacenter in Bangalore in a bid to see and understand how a datacenter is set up and operated. The datacenter was located at the new campus of the company which is spread over 4.95 lakh sqft on the outer ring road near Marathahalli. The Bangalore R&D centre also happens to be EMC’s largest outside the US and has particular strengths in software for storage management, network management and content management.
An opportunity to visit such a facility to see and learn about the various components of the datacenter and interact with the storage specialists was too much a temptation for the ISiM’ians to resist. Lot of students volunteered for the visit out of which 28 students were shortlisted. The shortlisted students were accompanied by Jayanth, who coordinated the visit from ISiM. The ISiM’ians assembled at the venue and reported to Sunitha Anilkumar, who coordinated the visit from EMC Corp, at 2.30pm. Sunitha welcomed the group and led them to the datacenter. The datacenter was visually spectacular. It was the largest datacenter in the Asia-Pacific region spanning over 21,000 sqft. The components were neatly organized into 38 bays.
Sunitha then introduced the group to Pavan, one among the key data storage experts who manage the datacenter. Pavan started the tour of the datacenter with some exhilarating facts. The datacenter housed over 3,500 servers and 450 switches has the capacity to store data upto few petabytes.
1 PB = 1,000,000,000,000,000 B = 10005 B = 1015 bytes
According to Kevin Kelly of the New York Times (Published: May 14, 2006), "the entire [written] works of humankind, from the beginning of recorded history, in all languages" would amount to 50 petabytes of data. Some experts have also estimated that Google processes about 20 petabytes of data per day.
Pavan also pointed out the EMC Corp is the world’s largest consumer of HDD’s in the world. Orders are placed to several of their vendors/partners like Seagate, Hitachi, HP, SUN etc to manufacture custom-made HDD’s. These products conform to the specifications of the EMC Corp and become the propriety components of the company. These products are also loaded with unique firmware that makes them work only on EMC Corp’s network.
Answering a query, Pavan said that they face multiple challenges in efficiently running the datacenter. He also revealed the fact that cooling of the apparatus amounts to half of the maintenance cost of any datacenter. He pointed out that the electricity bill of their facility could be as much as rupees 65 Lakh a month. Apart from the cost of cooling, the maintenance and monitoring the center forms another significant challenge. However, EMC Corp have automated most of their monitoring process by building an application software – “EMC Control Centre (ECC)”. ECC not only alerts the user/admin in case of any abnormal behavior, it also aids in trouble shooting and configuring new devices into the network.
Acknowledging the fact that reducing redundancy and duplicates within the storage is important, Pavan said that the company has an application (Avamar) built that does the job of deduplication.
The students were then taken around the vast datacenter to show few of the new age devices of storage. The students got a first hand look at the interconnected servers and optical switches among other devices. Students were particularly amazed with the storage disks that were of the size of a chocolate bar and could hold 1 TB of data. One could not help but think of their desktops and the huge 80 GB HDD’s back home. Pavan and his colleague, Abdul explained in detail the various versions of the devices and how they evolved. They took the students around the facility explaining how the components are interconnected to form a single functional unit.
Talking passionately about EMC Corp’s ‘Green-IT initiative’, Pavan pointed out that a certain intelligent application has been implemented which will auto shutdown the datacenter on the weekends and also switch them back ON during weekdays. This initiative alone resulted in 10% power savings. He also mentioned about implementing sensor controlled lighting inside the premises which will switch off the lights when not required. There is also another technique of taking the data backup in batch cycles than in online mode to reduce the load on the processor. These initiatives, he pointed out, will help use the resources optimally and keep the earth clean and green.
The interaction continued for over 2 hours with students asking many questions to the experts. The tour ended by thanking Sunitha for coordinating the visit and Pavan for sharing his expertise about the storage systems.