In 1980 IBM introduced the 3380, which was the world’s first hard disk drive (HDD) with over one gigabyte of storage capacity. The 3380 had two 1.26 GB HDD assemblies which barely fit into a cabinet the size of a refrigerator.  The price tag was a whopping $114,879 in today’s dollars.

When the 3380 was introduced, it is safe to say that very few people were thinking in terms of a zettabyte. Even today, the scale of a zettabyte is difficult to comprehend. To put it into perspective, it would take 34,000 years to watch one zettabyte’s worth of high-definition movies on Netflix.  In technical terms, one zettabyte is the equivalent of 10²¹ bytes, or one trillion gigabytes. That is a lot of $114,000 refrigerators!

By the end of 2016, Cisco estimates that global internet traffic will have exceeded one zettabyte per year, and in three short years, global traffic is expected to reach two zettabytes by the end 2019.  Yes – we are officially in the Zettabyte Era.

The network of global data centers required to deliver this amount of data to our machines, computers, phones, TVs, and other devices is immense, and the stakes are extremely high. One interruption at a single data center can cost a company millions in lost revenue and cause significant, long-lasting damage to a brand.

For companies managing data centers, the ability to be hyper-efficient and hyper-reliable is a necessity. To continue to scale and deliver the requirements of the Zettabyte Era, data centers must strive to operate at near autonomous levels. There are many electronic security and fire prevention solutions that can help to deliver both reliability and efficiency:

Wireless Lock Technology

Aperio wireless lock technology helps to add access control capabilities to almost any opening in the data center, including server racks and cabinets. Aperio wireless locks increase reliability in the data center by protecting equipment, reducing disruptions & upgrade costs, and ensuring regulatory compliance.  Since Aperio locks connect to enterprise access control solutions, many efficiencies can be gained through cardholder database management, automation, metrics & reporting, and integration with company business systems such as enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, human resources, and more.

Automated Key & Asset Management

Keys in a locker safe

Traka key management solutions help manage and track the use of server rack keys in data center environments, making personnel and IT contractors fully accountable for the critical systems they maintain each day. With an integrated Traka system, an anti-passback process can be implemented, preventing someone from leaving a facility or area based on the status of a particular key or asset. The individual’s badge access can be granted or revoked ensuring they cannot pass through the access point without properly returning keys. This not only ensures that only authorized personnel get in and out, but equally as important, it automates the appropriate process to ensure risk is mitigated and that a tired, vengeful, or forgetful employee isn’t the reason for a disruption in service or workflow.

Emergency Command and Control

Computer screen showing fireworks protection header image

A single point of command and control provides users with an unprecedented level of interoperability among life-safety systems both old and new.  It pinpoints relevant details while keeping the big picture in plain view and allows for real-time monitoring of smoke, fire, life safety, and security events happening throughout a single facility or across multiple buildings hundreds of miles apart. With up to 850 TCP/IP connections, the emergency command and control console can remotely monitor hundreds of locations around the world.  By bringing events from thousands of points into a central console, owners and operators of data centers are able to greatly increase their efficiency while also allowing for swift, decisive, and effective action when needed.

Perimeter Fence as a Platform

gated parking lot

The Impasse II fence is a high-security physical perimeter solution manufactured in the USA by Ameristar Perimeter Security.  Because the Impasse II is a physical deterrent as well as a technology platform, it is a popular solution for the data center market.  The design of the Impasse II fence can significantly improve efficiency, since the rail design acts as a raceway for conduit, wiring, and security cabling around the perimeter of the data center.  By incorporating intrusion detection systems, security lighting, video surveillance, and other communications networks directly into the fence line, data centers can easily install, manage, service, and upgrade critical security systems.  The Impasse II raceway framework virtually eliminates the need for costly trenching during installation and excavation during repairs.  Its rigid construction reduces nuisance alarms generally associated with reverberation on other types of products, which also helps greatly with efficiency and reliability in the data center. 

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Wondering what comes after the zettabyte?  It is the yottabyte, which equals one million terabytes.  In 2010, it was estimated that storing a yottabyte on terabyte-size disk drives would require one million city-block-sized data centers, as big as the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.  According to estimates, it will be another 30-50 years until the Yottabyte Era arrives.

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