Inside Google's data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa Google
Inside Google's data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Critical Thinking: a New Column on Data Center Infrastructure Innovation

Companies building data centers today are rethinking the way these facilities have been designed in the years past. Data centers are getting larger than they’ve ever been. At the same time, a new class of digital infrastructure is quickly emerging: small pods, designed to deliver edge computing capacity for a new network, more distributed and ubiquitous than we’ve ever seen.

The way mechanical and electrical infrastructure is designed and managed is being rethought too. In more and more cases, there is less redundancy, which doesn’t mean less resiliency for applications hosted inside. Machine learning is bound to make supercomputer-level power densities commonplace. Infrastructure management is being automated to become more dynamic, and the more forward-thinking operators are using the power of data analytics to run at higher efficiency than ever thought possible in the past.

There’s also a new focus on renewable energy and the broader impact the industry is having on the environment. Data center operators are more interested than ever in ensuring that one of human kind’s greatest infrastructure projects is done in a sustainable way.

Staying abreast of all the changes while sorting through vendor marketing verbiage is a full-time job few in the industry have the bandwidth to take on, which is why we’re introducing Critical Thinking, our new weekly column on innovation in the data center infrastructure and energy space.

The column’s author is Andrew Donoghue, a technology writer and consultant specializing in data centers and critical infrastructure. He is the author of several influential reports covering topics including renewable energy and the data center; IT power management; and data center cooling. Most recently, he worked as an analyst at 451 Research. Prior to that, he held senior editorial roles at business publishing companies, including CBS Interactive and Incisive Media. He has been involved in a number of European Commission-funded IT research projects into data center energy efficiency and sustainability.

Here is his first post: Beyond Lights-Out -- Future Data Centers Will Be Human-Free

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