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Enterprise data centres not 5G-ready, report suggests

Written by Wed 19 Feb 2020

Data Centre

Thorough planning and foresight is needed to meet organisational computing requirements, claims new report

Enterprise data centres are not ready for the rise in data volumes that 5G and IoT will bring about, claims a new report.

Forbes Insights and critical infrastructure specialists Vertiv surveyed 150 data centre executives and engineers from around the world to discover how they are improving data infrastructure, compute capabilities and bandwidth to meet the demands of “5G-fueled hyperconnectivity”.

According to the companies, organisations of all stripes must “reimagine the data centre to stay in the race”. Yet their survey revealed very few companies are ready to rethink their data centre strategies. Only 11 percent of C-suite executives reckon their data centres are “ahead of the curve” and just 1 percent of engineers feel the same way.

One of central point of concern is bandwidth capabilities. Most IT professionals surveyed (63 percent) admitted it’s a challenge to meet today’s bandwidth needs, and with networks set to be stretched even further, the report paints a picture of an industry unprepared.

“As today’s data centre evolves to incorporate enterprise, cloud and edge resources, thorough planning and foresight is needed to meet organisational computing requirements and business objectives,” said Martin Olsen, vice president of Global Edge Systems for Vertiv.

“It is clear, however, that many organisations are lagging on that front. With that in mind, we anticipate considerable investment and activity among businesses trying to catch up and get ahead of the changes.”

Edge tactics

Vertiv, a company heavily investing in its own edge strategy, said shifting data processing and resources out of the data centre to edge locations will be necessary to ease the strain on enterprise networks, but cautioned that this shift brings new vulnerabilities, threats, “significantly more infrastructure management tasks and a whole set of problems to solve”.

From the technical side, “self-healing” edge data centres (devices that allow for remote, real-time maintenance, configuration and issue resolution) are seen as a vital tool in this new era of decentralised IT. “Ultimately, this capability could reduce workload for engineers, enable IT staff to focus on other areas and address an array of technical pain points,” reads the report. 32 percent of data centre leaders believe their data centres will be self-healing by 2025.

The management problem is compounded by the brain drain that is set to blight the data centre in the short-term.  A previous Vertiv report suggested organisations could lose up to 16 percent of their infrastructure workforce in the next five years. “This raises a critical issue: companies face a brain drain as they aim to adapt the data centre to disruptive forces,” reads the report.

In addition new tech, Vertiv anticipates organisations will have to cultivate new skills and partnerships if they are to handle the increasing processing power and energy management complexities of “the new data centre”.

“Retooling data centers to handle the 5G-powered data landscape and the flood of information from edge devices will require tapping the expertise of cloud and edge providers,” reads the report.

“Since configuration and management data center infrastructure will become more automated, engineers might consider seeking new skills,” it adds.

Written by Wed 19 Feb 2020

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