James Young is the Director of CommScope’s Data Center Practice in Asia Pacific.
One question that keeps surfacing when discussing the evolution of the data center is, “How do we make the data center more eco-friendly?” I feel this is one area that we can all agree on. Reducing waste saves money. Designing to minimize or eliminate waste is the key objective of both IT equipment manufacturers and data center facilities. This synergy, combining modular data center technology with DCIM analytics can enable the eco-friendly data center of the future.
Making the Right Choices
Moving into the cloud means increased flexibility and reliability, but it also means trusting the network capability and capacity. The link between you and the cloud is vital for delivering the value of cloud computing. If that link isn’t reliable or fast enough, the benefits of the cloud are negated. So a strong, reliable network with the agility and capacity to support more data is vital – and also a fundamental building block on the road to the Internet of Things. A strong network infrastructure is vital to positioning data centers for the IoT and global machine-to-machine communications. This is a profound evolution of data communications.
IoT will bring together mobile devices and applications within buildings, smart cities, the connected car and more by adding sensors that generate more data than ever. This data will then be analyzed and converted into information that positively affects people’s daily lives. Examples include: energy efficiency through smart home monitoring and fewer traffic jams thanks to sensors on cars, traffic lights and buildings. Businesses will look to IoT for leaps in efficiency and competitive positioning.
All these sensors will produce a massive amount of data. The sheer volume will have to be stored and processed somewhere, inevitably in a data center. In a recent report, Gartner mentioned that the influx of IoT data will bring new challenges in terms of security and storage management. Moving massive amounts of data over the wide area network is expensive and introduces latency. Cost and latency must be controlled to unlock the value of IoT applications.
Changing Times, Changing Need
A shifting landscape has moved the data center development focus from “tried and true” to connected and efficient. Businesses naturally need to react to the behavior of their competitors, but their own competitiveness also hinges upon the ability to change on a continuous basis. Government legislation informs this need to change, and you can expect that CEOs and CIOs will take their cues from government policy to ensure their business priorities remain compliant with regulations. When a government is proactive in taking the lead and setting standards, change naturally follows.
The Influence of the Big Players
It’s worth noting the ways in which IT equipment developed by giants like Google and Facebook are now influencing how data centers are designed and built. There has been a shift in the data center from one large machine doing everything to thousands of small machines doing the same thing. This helps maximize resources and ensures that not all eggs are put into one basket, while simultaneously reducing computing costs. This represents a change in business model and strategy that some believe will disrupt the balance of the IT industry.
Ensuring the Last Mile
Recently we have observed many multiple system operators and carriers that are now experiencing an evolution in their processes and operations that seems similar to enterprise organizations. Sometimes they consolidate their data centers to save money and improve operational scale. Other times, they build geographically dispersed facilities to better service the customers they serve. The last mile comes into its own because one thing they all have in common is a dependence on the last mile to bridge people and information together. Network connectivity and latency of information builds application bridges that deliver business value.
The mix of different operating models will likely always remain with some organizations being less dependent on the IT equipment they use choosing instead to outsource all their IT or software needs to an expert third-party supplier. Since the data center is the core of their business, others may choose the alternative path. Ultimately, the network remains vital for any of these strategies to succeed. It is a good time to start planning accordingly and leverage the solutions available for a successful, effective future for your data center.
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