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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.
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.
Facebook plans to hire 1,000 more people in the UK by the end of 2020, with a large number working on technologies to remove harmful content. The social network said more than half of the recruits will work in technology-focused roles across software engineering, product design and data science, as well as developing the WhatsApp app, and Workplace, its business-skewed version of Facebook.