Friday, February 22, 2008

IBM Launches 3-D Data Center in OpenSim

IBM announced today that it had built a 3D data center application in OpenSim. Aimed at IT professionals, the application should let them monitor data centers more effectively over long distances. IBM presented the idea of a 3D data center in Second Life last year but the new OpenSim application should allow more security with privately hosted environments. "Viewing information about your data center in 2-D text -- even in real time -- only tells a data center manager part of the story, because our brains are wired for sight and sound," IBM Researcher Michael Osias, who architected the 3-D data center service, said in a statement. "By actually seeing the operations of your data center in 3-D, even down to flames showing hotspots and visualizations of the utilization of servers allows for a clearer understanding of the enterprise resources, better informed decision-making and a higher level of interaction and collaboration." Last year IBM looked at this idea in Second Life before moving the project to OpenSim: Implenia, a Swiss building services and real estate firm with experience in real-world applications of Second Life, counts a data center among its eight pilot sites in evaluating use of the virtual world to augment the real. They were all running with different tools, though, which complicated work instead of simplifying it. Then IBM integrated its virtual world middleware Holographic Enterprise Interface (HEI) Implenia's Building automation interface (VWCI). "Until working with IBM we only knew the state of our data center from the information we got through the building automation system and our virtual worlds communications interface," said Oliver Goh, Implenia IT Specialist. "We didn't know the state of the server and information that was readily available to us until it was made more accessible via the 3-D visualizations that IBM built for us. We think that by combining this information with the information we had from the building automation side we can, from a building management standpoint, control the data much better and take action to be more efficient." The companies hope that the collaborative, multi-user nature of the environment will also make data center management more efficient, allowing multiple users to work together and analyze usage in real-time.

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