Latest Data Centre Opinions
When deploying IT infrastructure to support an enterprise organisation, there are several factors to consider. All of the decisions are based on the specific needs of the business, it’s type, the customers it services and the applications it needs to support. For many, the first decision however, is whether to own or outsource?
Do the needs of the business require predominantly commercial applications, which can be delivered via the cloud? Or does the organisation depend so crucially on local IT assets for performance, data sovereignty or application speed, that it is more preferable to keep their resources on premise?
For years, proponents have urged businesses to better enable employees to work from home, citing benefits like increased productivity, less commute time, better work-life balance and enhanced preparedness for business continuity, should a localised disaster strike, such as a tornado, hurricane, earthquake or flood.
Overnight, the COVID-19 global pandemic made the final argument for work-from-home a reality for millions of workers – ready or not. Many global enterprises must suddenly support more and more people working remotely, whether they are equipped to deliver and support workloads at scale or not. This has sent businesses scrambling to quickly embellish digital channels and platforms, increase bandwidth, add virtual private networks (VPNs), provision more laptops, and offer thin-client applications to their employees and customers to improve operational collaboration and enforce social distancing.
In the telco sector, 5G rolls out built on cell towers, base stations and new street furniture will see appliances installed in non-ideal and often harsh environments. Use cases such as consumer-focused Internet of Things in retail, Smart Cities transportation projects for autonomous vehicles and Industrial IoT deployments in processing and manufacturing plants will see more and more servers deployed outside safe, environmentally controlled data centres.
These new Edge environments will not be uniform in nature but common to all will be the need to keep the IT equipment cool.
The current crisis instigated by COVID-19 is putting immense pressure on organisations across the globe to maintain smooth operations while managing remote workforces and workloads. Therefore, many businesses that operate their own IT infrastructure – whether through racks located on the company’s premises, or via a data centre where they rent one or more colocation racks – are considering making a move to the cloud. In either situation, adopting a cloud strategy means that infrastructure needs to be moved from the office location to a data centre, or from one data centre to another that offers hosted services.
Perhaps the number one issue facing businesses and society is the need to keep pace with digital transformation. But what does it mean to keep pace with digital transformation? In layman’s terms, think about it like this: The train is leaving the station, and individuals and organisations need to get on board quickly to achieve business goals.
The speed of technological change is constantly and explosively accelerating, with new topographies being rolled out faster every year. As the saying goes, everything which can be is being digitalised. If businesses and society cannot keep up these shifts they will struggle to scale and maybe even survive.
The coronavirus pandemic is testing the theory that data centres are completely manageable remotely. Although a large number of governments, including the UK’s, have recognised data centre workers as key workers, operators are ensuring they minimise risk to employees by keeping non-essential staff at home, establishing rotas, and firing up remote systems where possible.
Those who built remote management capabilities preceding the pandemic are now putting them to the test at a time when businesses and society as a whole need mission-critical infrastructure more than ever. But what are the limits of remote management, and what are the best practices to guarantee uptime?
Aruba is one of the largest data centre providers in Europe and operates four facilities in the Italian cities of Arezzo, Milan and Rome. In this Q&A, Alessandro Bruschini, Infrastructure Manager at Aruba, gives us a glimpse of how the company is maintaining uptime in a country hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Separating this pandemic from predecessors is that information technology is firmly on our side. In the absence of sport, Netflix is keeping families entertained. FaceTime or Zoom are connecting us safely from a distance while ordinary socialising presents a risk. And a plethora of cloud-based workplace tools are channelling business productivity from newly-distributed workforces.
Nobody doubted our dependency on connectivity before coronavirus, but the degree to which the thread of the internet holding the fabric of society together during the crisis is striking. While restaurants, pubs, cinemas, cafes and more turned off their lights, data centres, network operations centres and internet exchanges geared up for an unprecedented rise in traffic.
In many businesses, from retailers and chain restaurants, to health services and government offices, it is the local remote branch which is the prime client interaction point and where the business and the customer meet face to face. As a result, it is where initial client satisfaction is formed and the loyalty journey gains momentum. But, as they are often located outside of where a core facility is for customer convenience, these sites typically don’t have extensive IT staffing and therefore lack the technical resources of core offices. But they do require advanced client service applications with local processing capabilities. If every branch office needs to have its IT configured and deployed separately and in-person, costs are seismic and, in many cases, cost-prohibitive. As a result, remote office edge computing becomes a trade-off between costs and managing delays, service roll out, and mixed customer satisfaction.
The latest research from Cisco says that global internet traffic will reach 4.8 zetabytes a year in 2022, or 150,700 gigabytes a second. Video will represent at least 80 per cent of the total internet traffic. That research was published before the current coronavirus pandemic, which may well have a dramatic change in the shape and per-type breakdown of global internet traffic as face-to-face meetings are being overwhelmingly replaced with video conference calls and live video streaming. For example, NAB, the biggest event of the year in media production and distribution, has recently announced it will switch to a virtual conference for the 2020 year, with live presentations and meetings taking place via video streamed over the web.
Data centres are becoming more complex as the need for HPC (high performance computing), data bandwidth and latency outstrip the capabilities of legacy facilities. It is not simply customers generating more information throughput across the infrastructure.
The ability to collect actionable data, analyse and predict outcomes within the technical spaces provides one of the largest opportunities to eliminate energy wastage (up to 50% reduction in cooling energy costs), reduce CO2 emissions and reduce downtime risk. Data’s strategic importance to organisations has placed new pressures on technology networks to work to their optimum performance levels.
There is a constant stream of innovation happening in storage technology, and the hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) market is leading the way. According to this report, the HCI market is expected to be worth $17.1 billion by 2023. This projected growth could be put down to the myriad of advantages that HCI offers, including single-pane-of-glass management, reduced rackspace and power which means greener data centres, and improved disaster recovery capabilities to list a few.