App Could Be a Boon
Such an application could be a boon at a time when data centers are often sprawled across different buildings, cities or countries. IT workers, who are pulled in several directions to work on different projects, can't physically be two places at once; 3-D Data Center is designed to make it so that they don't have to be. Virtual reality is popular among gamers, thanks to Linden Lab's Second Life and other applications. With 3-D Data Center, IBM's goal is to apply the virtual technology paradigm to real-life enterprise IT scenarios.Virtual worlds aren't as fun and interesting if there aren't any other people playing in them. IBM's 3-D Data Center features instant messaging to let users carry on active discussions in-world.This type of collaboration is much faster than the traditional practice of exchanging messages and two-dimensional drawings via e-mail. Osias said the company is testing audio capabilities in 3-D Data Center prototypes but is not offering them yet. Some IBM customers have already taken the 3-D Data Center for a test drive. Implenia, a Swiss real estate management company, used the software in eight pilot sites to monitor its customers' servers, security and HVAC systems. For the most part, functionality in the 3-D Data Center is currently limited to monitoring, but Osias said the company will eventually add the ability to provision servers and other tasks. IBM is offering its 3-D Data Center, based on the OpenSim Application Platform, in a beta test now. Ultimately, IBM's Global Services unit will charge for the hours its engineers put in to set up the application for customers.