Latest Data Centre Opinions
Corporate IT infrastructure has never been so complex. There are a host of different options open to organisations, from running on public cloud and on-premise data centres, to SaaS cloud native capabilities and serverless infrastructure. Applications are running across an ever-wider range of technologies and geographies, making it increasingly difficult to monitor and troubleshoot when something goes wrong. Unsurprisingly, companies often struggle with a messy array of different tools and technologies based in these different locations.
Application visibility is one particularly notable pain point. An estimated 80 percent of enterprises have gaps in monitoring their cloud or are totally blind to it. In these scenarios, customer experience (CX) is often hit hard. If an organisation lacks real-time visibility over application performance, the risk increases of gaps emerging between its internal view and actual user perception of how the app is performing.
Often, we struggle to discuss the edge – one of the IT world’s hottest trends – because it’s difficult to objectively define it. “The edge means something different to every person,” says Mark Howell, of the Ford Motor Company. Howell oversees the construction of every new IT facility the veteran automaker builds and is the lead for EMEA region design, planning and engineering.
From his perspective, the edge is effectively distributed technology, and need not encompass servers, storage and switches. By that token, Ford’s first edge site wasn’t a micro data centre, but the first remote offices and factories that Henry Ford built all those years ago. The company’s Paris office opened in 1908, the Kansas City assembly plant opened in 1911. By the end of the 1920’s Ford had more than 20 overseas assembly plants.
With data demands reaching new levels in 2020, the role of the data centre is set to take centre stage for IT leaders. Against a backdrop of constant disruption and increasingly ambitious enterprise and cloud strategies, how do you ensure that your data centre is futureproofed, so that you stay ahead of the game, rather than react to it?
In the far north of Sweden, scientists have built a facility to explore the future of data centres. “We have projects that are looking at innovative control of data centres…projects that would support zero touch data centres…we have started some projects that develop real life demonstrations of the reuse of heat for district heating.” Jon Summers, Scientific Lead at the ICE data centre lab at RISE, the Swedish research programme behind the facility, tells us about some of the innovative work being carried out there.
In September last year, data centre developer and owner Echelon Data Centres, a subsidiary of real-estate veteran Aldgate Developments, appointed Simon McCormick as CTO. McCormick, previously in the data centre leadership team at AECOM, joined the company in a period of rapid expansion.
The Irish-owned outfit currently has five locations in various stages of development, including three €500m facilities in Ireland and a £150m London Docklands facility, the company’s first outside of Ireland and the first to grace the data-centre heavy Docklands since the 1990s.
2020 will be a momentous year, and a great start to the decade, for edge computing, IoT and data protection. We should expect to see major changes to the way organisations adopt these technologies, as well as how consumers respond to various innovations.
Open source is not new. As far back as the early 1900s, engine designs were shared freely between automotive manufacturers. In the spirit of knowledge sharing that encapsulates academia, universities shared computer fixes to software bugs in the 1950s and 1960s.
But when we think of open source our minds tend to focus on the 1990s and the rise of the great Linux Kernel. This changed everythin
It was once the preserve of older-style legacy mainframe computers, and until recently was considered by many as only applicable for high performance computing (HPC) requirements. However, today liquid cooling is becoming a serious contender for mainstream applications, especially those emerging at the edge of the network.
Deployed in unmanned, remote sites where high levels of reliability and low maintenance are key considerations, edge computing environments must remain as secure and resilient as their larger counterparts. Furthermore, energy consumption at the edge is fast becoming another key consideration, edge data centres must also be powered and cooled both as cost effectively and efficiently as possible.
Many data centre operators strive to build facilities that are energy efficient and increasingly ‘green’ as concern for the environment, combined with ever more stringent regulations, encourages users to minimise their carbon footprint.
Mid-December is upon us, which means it’s time for – you guessed it – our yearly data centre predictions roundup.
As usual, we’ve handpicked four industry experts, all of whom have kindly consulted their crystal balls to serve up some digestible summaries of what lies ahead for the data centre in 2020.
Without question, the chief takeaway from this year’s roundup is the centrality of sustainability.
True, the environmental impact of IT has been scrutinised for several years now, but whereas once the interrogation was audible, now it is deafening. This is a consequence of the broader elevation of the issue around the globe, reinforced by the Greta Effect and the hellish wildfires that tore through the Amazon in November.
In recent times, cloud platforms have rightly taken their seat at the forefront of mainstream IT plans, alongside on-premise servers. Cloud’s ability to enhance business agility, deliver cost savings, open new streams of revenue, improve application performance and unlock routes to leverage emerging technologies is widely acknowledged.
As a result, businesses have adopted cloud in their droves. Yet while the technology is thriving, the sheer myriad of choices available can make it a daunting task for IT managers when looking to find a cloud platform which meets their specific organisational needs.
The skills gap is striking multiple industries and is making headline news across the many facets of the technology industry. The data centre industry is certainly not immune to this issue, central as the industry is to the technology ecosystem. Cloud technology has carried this issue for a long time by shifting on-premise workloads away to help mitigate the skills gap within enterprises, however, as the complexities of the data centre increase and IT strategies grow, the gap is still widening.
Busy data centres are lavished with new technological advances making it extremely difficult for the put-upon data centre managers to stay trained with the new skills and abilities necessary to utilise the technologies that can optimise the business experience for their users. Quite often there it is a ‘one-person band’ holding down the fort and trying to offer the business the best experience possible.