IBM’s lease of Second Life for data centres

21 Feb 2008

Remember that scene in Tron where the characters are able to drive motorcycles through the data banks in a 3D world inside a computer?

Well, new technology developed by IBM will be able to render a virtual world like this which organisations can use to monitor and manage all of their IT platforms.

As companies become increasingly globalised, technology like the 3D data centre can provide centralised resources, which offer economic benefits by more efficiently monitoring usage of machines and cutting down on a firm’s power costs and carbon footprint.

The real innovation, said Michael Osias, the IBM researcher who designed the 3D data centre service, is that it is perfect for our human reliance on sight and sound as opposed to 2D text to filter meaning from the world around us.

By actually seeing the operations of your data centre in 3D, even down to flames showing hotspots and visualisations of the utilisation of servers, the technology permits clearer understanding of the enterprise resources, better informed decision-making and a higher level of interaction and collaboration, said Osias.

Not only can this environment be used for monitoring but it can also be used to test ‘what if’ disaster scenarios to ensure a company’s data centre is robust enough for its needs.

The virtual world which this IBM data centre environment is based on is OpenSimulator, an open-source project that allows anyone to create and deploy their own 3D environment, and it can be customised to suit each organisation which uses it.

By Marie Boran