Data Center Virtual Realities: What Could They Look Like?

Sunday, December 4, 2016 - 1:30pm5:00pm

Tony Foster, Dell EMC


In this half-day workshop, we will work toward developing how Virtual Reality (VR) can be leveraged in the Data Center to change how both users and data centers operate. As a team we will see what VR technologies (like Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, and others) we could use to create new realities in data centers. Some of the new realities we might want to consider as part of VR in the data center include visualizing cloud structures and virtualized environments, real time system diagnostics, and self-learning/healing data centers. All of which could impact how the group investigates applying VR in the data center. The group may want to probe further into each of these areas.

Cloud Structures and Virtualized Environments:
As the idea of the cloud permeates our society, the question can be asked: "how do we comprehend cloud structures?" After all, resources are shared and maybe spread between multiple locations. What does this mean to the group as we delve into VR in the data center? We may want to consider how virtual reality can help provide a single view of these cloud structures. What would they look like in a new cloud reality? What other facets of cloud visualization do we need to consider as a group so we can lay the foundation for VR in a cloud based data center?

Real Time System Diagnostics:
Of course, these cloud worlds are all built on physical systems in a data center somewhere. How does the group take this into account? These data centers are filled with rows and rows of identical hardware with glowing lights blinking on and off to the hum of a song we cannot hear. What could this group devise to change someone’s experience in the data center? Are there existing technologies or standards we could use to augment how the data center is viewed, such as Oculus Rift or Google Glass? What could this group devise to make data centers run more efficiently by leveraging virtual reality?

Self-Learning/Healing Data Centers:
Being able to visualize areas of concern in the data center could be powerful. What if the datacenter was able to learn and heal its self? Could this group discover a way to leverage deep learning, GPUs, and the throngs of data generated by components in the data center to make it more intelligent? What attributes would be needed so the data center could understand and react to changes, possibly maintaining or improving the data center's health autonomously?

It would be interesting for this group to investigate other possible ways this learning and healing could be applied to virtual reality in the data center. What things would be helpful to have the data center respond to on its own? How could the group facilitate the creation of a reusable construct, enabling new self-learning models for the data center? What new cloud structures would start to grow from an analytical data center and what would they look like? Each of these highlighted areas are interconnected. What the team will need to explore is how to unify them to create a new virtual reality in the data center. As we find answers in one area, it can unlock new horizons in another area. Come and explore the virtual reality of data centers and see what develops.

Tony Foster, Dell EMC

Tony, a.k.a. the WonderNerd, has been involved in the virtualization industry since 2005, where he has architected, deployed, and supported virtualization systems for organizations large and small in both the public and private sector. In recent years he has branched out into GPU architectures and exploring ways to leverage them in the data center. Tony has been at the forefront of designing GPU solutions at EMC for the last four years. This includes significant contributions to the VCE Technology Extension for Compute offered by the company. Tony is also active in the social communities as a VMware vExpert, VMware EUC Champion, and is an NVIDIA GRID Community Advisor. You can often find him presenting at conferences around both virtualization and GPUs. If you are interested in finding out more about Tony be sure to visit

@conference {208465,
author = {Tony Foster},
title = {Data Center Virtual Realities: What Could They Look Like? },
year = {2016},
address = {Boston, MA},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = dec,