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The Circular Data Center: Deploy a Cloud Operating Model While Lowering Cost and Climate Impacts

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ITRenew has announced that Pluribus Netvisor ONE OS and the Adaptive Cloud Fabric controllerless SDN software are now available as part of Sesame by ITRenew rack-scale cloud solutions. Pluribus is very pleased to take part in this new circular approach to building data centers; one where we can deliver a cloud operating model with on-prem performance, while also helping our customers achieve their sustainability goals.

The timing of this partnership is apropos given the global attention to COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference and ongoing efforts worldwide to scale back emissions. While all industries have a responsibility on this front, the data center industry has specific, well-documented sustainability challenges that are only just starting to be properly addressed.

Most efforts to build the “green data center” have largely focused on increasing energy efficiency and using renewable energy sources, even though power used during the operational phase is only part of the problem. The bigger environmental culprit is that the industry continues to manufacture and deploy brand-new IT infrastructure equipment at a rapid pace.

In its report, The Financial & Sustainability Case for Circularity,” ITRenew used a lifecycle model, assuming a typical 3-year operational lifetime for the equipment, that showed how 76% of the overall global warming CO2 emissions are found in the pre-use phase, with only 22% occurring in the operational phase.

diagram: System boundaries lifecycle model by ITRenew

Fig 1: System boundaries lifecycle model describing the activities of the pre-use phase and post-use phase. 76% of the climate impact is in the pre-use phase. (Source: ITRenew)

ITRenew is addressing this serious problem with a “Circular Data Center” approach, in which the most advanced IT equipment from the largest global hyperscalers is decommissioned, recertified, transformed into best-in-class edge and data center infrastructure hardware then deployed into enterprise and service provider data centers, fully supported and warranteed. As the industry leader in hyperscaler cloud infrastructure decommissioning, ITRenew partners with the world’s largest public cloud service providers to decommission and create multiple years of useful subsequent life for outbound high-performance hardware much of which has been deployed for only 36 months.

So, instead of that nearly brand-new gear being treated and disposed of as waste, it is transformed into a high-value, high-demand asset and made available to the broader market at a fraction of the original cost, Simultaneously, this approach reduces the substantial environmental impact that would otherwise have been incurred by producing and shipping new equipment.

The Benefits Extend Beyond Achieving Sustainability Goals

Achieving sustainability goals is becoming increasingly important, but often not the leading criteria of cloud infrastructure teams as they build out on-prem data centers to support ever more demanding workloads. These teams need to deploy high-performance and highly automated cloud infrastructure while staying within their annual budgets. The good news is that there are a number of other benefits that come from a circular data center approach:

  • Lead times of 4 weeks or less: Sesame by ITRenew is not beholden to traditional supply chains or the delays and constraints currently affecting the rest of the industry ITRenew’s circular economic approach means that all the material needed to build new IT infrastructure is already manufactured and in the company’s possession. That eliminates long order cycles and enables delivery of fully integrated, tested and assembled rack-scale systems, ready to plug-and-play, in as little as 4 weeks
  • Up to 50% cost savings versus traditional OEM offerings: Because this is recertified equipment, the cost can be substantially lower than new infrastructure, enabling IT teams to invest the remaining budget in other strategic areas.
  • Optimized for your workloads: Pre-integrated rack-scale compute, storage and networking systems are designed for specific workloads like AI/ML, Kubernetes, and more can be pre-tested with relevant software — a model that lets IT leaders deploy server hardware that’s tuned to their unique requirements for scale, compute density, and more.
  • Open Infrastructure: Open computing and networking, particularly as envisioned by the Open Compute Project (OCP), is pooling the engineering know-how of an entire industry and channelling it into advanced server hardware. OCP servers are helping to mainstream hyperscale technology and its myriad benefits without vendor lock-in.
  • Increased Density: the innovations that have come out of collaborative OCP design efforts have resulted in server designs that are up to 35% more dense than traditional OEM designs.
  • Speed of Deployment: Since the Sesame by ITRenew racks arrive fully assembled, and pre-tested there is no racking and stacking, customers can just roll them in and turn them on. ITRenew targets 60 – 90 minutes from truck to workloads running in your data center.
  • Cloud Operating Model with On-prem Performance: Sesame by ITRenew combines the performance advantages of on-prem hardware with cloud convenience, enabling customers to focus on consuming infrastructure instead of building it. With more than 50% of workloads staying on-prem, IT teams also want to implement cloud operating models, similar to those of the hyperscalers, in their on-prem data centers. This is where Pluribus comes in…

How does Pluribus Networks fit into the Picture?

To make it even easier for data center infrastructure teams to deploy, manage and scale at the speed of cloud, a highly automated, open network operating system from Pluribus Networks has been fully integrated with Sesame by ITRenew rack-scale solutions. The Linux-based Netvisor ONE® operating system, which powers the Adaptive Cloud Fabric™ (ACF) software defined networking (SDN) fabric automation solution, is now available as a configurable option on multiple ITRenew rack scale solutions.  The top of rack switches are typically OCP-accepted 25G/100G switches such as the Edgecore Wedge100S-32X or Pluribus Freedom Series Switches.

Compute and storage virtualization and automation have been widely deployed. Networking, on the other hand, has always been the Achilles heel when it comes to achieving a truly agile cloud operating model on-prem. Even today, many legacy networking vendors require box-by-box configuration for every new network service or security policy that needs to be deployed. At worst, this burdens NetOps teams with manual work or, at best, extensive scripting development, taking time away from higher leverage activities.

Pluribus solves this problem by radically automating both single site and multi-site data center fabrics. Our Adaptive Cloud Fabric software uses a distributed, controllerless SDN approach to fully automate both the data center underlay fabric and the virtualized overlay fabric. Now, with a single command, a new network service or security policy can be declaratively deployed with 100% consistency across every switch in the fabric. IT teams can now deploy services in seconds to delight their customers and help their companies move at the speed of cloud while at the same time freeing up their time to focus on more strategic projects.

diagram: The Adaptive Cloud Fabric

It’s time for a new approach – the Circular Data Center

With exponential data growth accelerating hardware refresh cycles for hyperscalers, there is no shortage of high-end data center equipment that can be refurbished and distributed through various channels into secondary markets. For businesses who want to maximize sustainability, the adoption of a circular data center model and sustainable infrastructure with help reduce their carbon footprint. Added to these sustainability benefits, businesses can also realize significant financial, performance, operational and time to market benefits when purchasing integrated ITRenew and Pluribus Networks solutions.

For more information please visit https://www.pluribusnetworks.com/itrenew/ or contact Pluribus Networks.

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About the Author

Neil Walker

Neil Walker

Neil Walker is the Director of Channel Marketing and Enablement for Pluribus Networks. With Pluribus Networks, Neil can combine his keen interest of innovative technology with his passion for partner success. Prior to Pluribus Networks, Neil guided world-wide Channel and Field Marketing for Censornet – a cyber security start-up and held senior EMEA marketing roles at Fujitsu and Cisco Systems, where he focused on building strategic technology partnerships, accelerating partner enablement activities to support revenue growth ... and became a keen cyclist.