Inside a Hyper-Dense Data Center

In this video, explore a state-of-the-art Nutanix data center built with highly integrated hardware and hyperconverged infrastructure software.

By Ken Kaplan

By Ken Kaplan March 29, 2022

Data centers are the heart of businesses, governments and just about any aspect of life that relies on digital data. As more of the world goes digital, so grows the need for computational resources that require complex, interoperable technologies, space and electricity. A lot of space and megawatts of energy. 

“We’re constantly and consistently using electricity, so the power and cooling have to be always available, every second,” said Harmail Singh Chatha, senior director of global cloud operations at Nutanix. 

In this short video first released in 2021, Chatha explains what went into building the “hyper-dense” data center.

Chatha and his team custom-designed the data center using tightly integrated hardware and Nutanix’s hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) software, which combines compute, networking and storage.

Nutanix’s hyper-dense data center design relies on tall racks (55 units vs. the old standard of 42 units), which cram extra processing power into each stack. Running HCI on these stacks helps optimize data center efficiency because it’s so much simpler to manage software digitally than to configure hardware manually.

In a 2022 interview with The Forecast, Chatha called Nutanix’s data centers “my babies.”


Building Scalable, Sustainable Data Centers

In that interview, he provided updated information about the hyper-dense data center. Over two years, his team grew the data center by the equivalent of 2 megawatts of energy consumption, over 5000 square feet of space, 200 cabinets, 4600 servers, 400 switches, all requiring over 66,000 various types of cable connections. Supply chain constraints — people and equipment alike became scarce — slowed the expansion by several months in 2020 and 2021.

He said it’s now the age of the software-defined data center. 

“That’s the mindset that everybody has to go into in this industry.”

Video transcript:

So we're at Nutanix, the largest corporate data center. 

It's a 2.5-megawatt facility. We have 160 racks here over 3000 blocks, just over 12,000 nodes within the data center. 

This data center is used for our entire software development platform. So all of the services in our core enterprise essentials are developed at this data center and they're tested at this data center as well. 

We wanted to design a data center based on our platform, hyperconverged infrastructure. We wanted to see how HCI can enable a hyper-dense data center design. 

So one of the cool aspects of this data center is really the power profile. We're able to stuff 23 blocks, uh, 92 nodes into a single rack here. 

Hence we call it a hyper-dense data center environment.

Ken Kaplan is Editor in Chief for The Forecast by Nutanix. Find him on Twitter @kenekaplan.

Tom Mangan contributed to this story. He is a veteran B2B technology writer and editor, specializing in cloud computing and digital transformation. Contact him on his website or LinkedIn.

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