In this article

While enterprise data center workloads have evolved in size, quantity and complexity over the last 30 years, their underlying infrastructure has not. Consequently, conventional data centers are increasingly incapable of handling the heavy lift of modern workloads such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL), which negatively impact results and return on investment.

Resources are trapped inside dedicated hosts, while power and cooling constraints limit the ability to scale solutions. In addition, the emergence of edge computing now means organizations will need to process more data at the edge more quickly, demanding (but sometimes not receiving) optimally efficient performance from all resources.

One long-discussed solution to these challenges is deploy a composable, or software-defined, infrastructure. But early instances were limited in their capabilities, offering only a partial answer to the problems they were meant to solve. The solutions of the past are still impeded by physical limitations to the number of devices they can support and the amount of power and cooling they can supply; what's more, they require data center technicians to manually interact with the hardware.

Those challenges are now eliminated with the emergence of new Composable Disaggregated Infrastructure (CDI) technology from World Wide Technology partner, Liqid.

Understanding what CDI can bring to the data center

Here's how composability works: Residing on-prem, a CDI solution first disaggregates discrete resources such as GPUs, Intel® Optane™ solid state drives, nonvolatile flash memory, Intel® FGPAs and NICs from their servers and places them into dedicated resource pools interconnected over high-speed fabric. Then composable software is then used to connect compute, storage, accelerator and network resources into right-sized systems. Using a common application interface, IT staff can manage resource allocation dynamically without the need to physically interact with hardware.

At least, that's the idea. Although a few such solutions in the last 20 years have marketed themselves as "composable," their claims have been either doubtful or tightly focused on a limited purpose – high-performance computing, for example – and their implementation can be complex and time-consuming.

WWT believes it's time for customers to learn more about Liqid's fast, easy, intuitive CDI solution – an approach to composability that's equally effective within the enterprise data center or at the edge, allowing you to take advantage of the latest infrastructure innovations from IntelDell and other technology leaders to drive performance, cost-effectiveness and security.

Liqid accelerates and simplifies a flexible, scalable, edge-ready CDI solution  

Founded in Broomfield, Colorado by an experienced team of data center architects and software designers, Liqid is the first company to truly deliver on the promise of a composable disaggregated infrastructure.

The Liqid CDI solution enables users to:

  • Deliver new levels of flexibility as servers can be composed for virtually any need using vendor-agnostic resources shared up and down the stack or over a distance, with multi-fabric support (PCIe, Eth, IB) for those resources. And, they're versatile enough to support all manner of workloads and workflows, from bare metal to virtual and containerized.
  • Improve IT agility by speeding deployment times from days or weeks to minutes. Scale up or down, redistribute resources or return them to the pool with zero touch using highly intuitive and easy-to-learn management software.
  • Reduce cost in a software-defined data center environment with as-a-service functionality. The Liqid CDI solution reduces the need for physical touch and the likelihood of accidentally damaging components. What's more, the ability to create highly dense servers virtually may reduce the number of servers that consume licensing and maintenance budgets.
  • Validate future technologies on today's servers that handle current workflows, enabling solutions to be validated in a fraction of the time that it conventionally takes.

Using Liqid's approach to CDI, organizations can build agility and scalability into their data center from the get-go, delivering an adaptive compute infrastructure to scale core resources as needed for data-intensive workloads – benefiting not only their own performance but that of their customers who depend on their operation.

Liqid Matrix composable software delivers adaptive infrastructure quickly and easily

Liqid delivers cloud-like flexibility and agility to the data center with efficiency surpassing on-prem. By expanding the concept of a "computing unit" from meaning individual servers to encompassing the entire data center itself, Liqid offers a composable infrastructure that leverages industry-standard elements into pools of disaggregated resources: compute, storage, networking, GPUs, FPGAs.

At the heart of the CDI solution is Liqid Matrix software that automates, orchestrates and composes physical computer systems from bare-metal resource pools. Meanwhile, Liqid's fabric switching technology allows resources to be instantly interconnected into physical servers via PCI Express (PCIe) fabric.

The result is a dynamically configurable, ideally sized, bare-metal server that provides the precise resources each application needs. Liqid's CDI approach reduces deployment time from weeks to minutes. And, its non-proprietary nature enables the use of elements from an array of ecosystem partners, avoiding the constraints of vendor lock.

Enhancing the advantages of composability with Intel® technology

The nonproprietary nature of Liqid's CDI solution allows you to realize greater value from the latest Intel® technology advancements – 3rd generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors with PCIe 4.0 support. 

Examples of Liqid composable offerings using Intel technology and Dell servers and blades include:

  • Liqid Composable vSAN HCI Appliance, employing a solid-state vSAN solution bundle that leverages NVMe SSDs and Intel® Optane™ technology for hyperconverged and virtualized environments to improve data center agility, management and utilization.
  • Liqid Composable GPU for Dell MX7000, for workloads like AI that require parallel accelerated computing, Liqid enables GPU to be composed into the PowerEdge MX7000 Modular Chassis, improve data center agility, management and utilization.
  • Liqid Composable Intel® Optane™ NVMe SSD combine the high throughput, low latency, quality of service and high endurance of Intel Optane SSDs with Liqid PCIe fabrics for composability as well as scaling of capacity and bandwidth.

WWT is excited to roll out these and other game-changing CDI solutions, along with our technology partners Intel and Dell, as opportunities arise. The easy scalability, resource optimization and intuitive management tools make it a compelling alternative to traditional architectures and answer to tomorrow's data center challenges.

See the benefits of Liqid CDI solutions in our Advanced Technology Center (ATC)

Composable disaggregated infrastructure enables organizations to create cloud-like hardware environments effortlessly via software. And, they're equally easy to modify or expand without complex, time-consuming physical reconfigurations. Changes happen immediately, on the fly.

CDI solutions from Liqid are designed for new levels of flexibility and agility, supporting every workload and workflow regardless of whether servers are bare metal, virtual or containerized. Crucially, these solutions are edge-ready for ease of resource management – a critical advantage for evolving technologies.

And, the very nature of a composable infrastructure – optimizing resources, reducing physical footprints, conserving IT personnel – makes OpEx / CapEx considerations highly attractive and increases overall ROI by reducing the time and expense of right-sizing the data center environment.

WWT and its CDI technology partners Liqid, Intel and Dell are excited to showcase these capabilities to you in our Advanced Technology Center.  See for yourself how the promise of composability has finally been realized in Dell servers in blade and rack form factors, powered by Intel Xeon Scalable processors and Intel Optane™ technology, managing pooled resources in the Liqid Command Center, and deployed by WWT.

Interested in a demonstration?
Contact Us