Top 5 data centre trends in 2019
Vertiv has released its top five trends for the year, and predicts the edge of the network will be the “epicentre of innovation” in the data centre space. It stated activity will focus on increased intelligence designed to simplify operations, enable remote management and service, and bridge a widening skills gap.
“Today’s edge plays a critical role in data centre and network operation and in the delivery of important consumer services,” said Vertiv CEO Rob Johnson. “This is a dramatic and fundamental change to the way we think about computing and data management. It should come as no surprise that activity in the data centre space in 2019 will be focused squarely on innovation at the edge.”
Simplifying the edge
Vertiv states there is a convergence of a smarter, simpler and more self-sufficient edge of the network with broader industry and consumer trends, including the Internet of Things (IoT) and the looming rollout of 5G networks, to drive powerful, low-latency computing closer to the end user.
Intelligent infrastructure systems with machine learning capabilities working in tandem with cloud-based analytics are fundamentally changing the way we think about edge computing and edge services. The result will be a more robust, efficient edge of the network with enhanced visibility and self-healing capabilities requiring limited active management.
Vertiv Managing Director Australia and New Zealand Robert Linsdell highlighted the need for his region to get the edge right.
He said: “We have a highly disperse geography and many of our primary and resurging industries such as mining and manufacturing aren’t done in cities with access to centralised data centres. They’re in far-flung destinations where even basic connectivity can be poor or absent.
“The only way to harness the power and benefits of IoT and smart city applications in these areas is through edge computing and we need further investment in this area to make sure technology expectations among customers, staff and businesses are met across the region.”
With an ageing workforce and training programs lagging behind the data centre and edge evolution, this is creating staffing challenges for data centres around the globe.
In 2019, organisations will begin to change the way they hire data centre personnel, moving away from traditional training programs towards more agile, job-specific, in-house training with a focus on the edge. Businesses are also expected to turn to intelligent systems and machine learning to simplify operations, preserve institutional knowledge and enable more predictive and efficient service and maintenance.
Smarter UPS systems
According to Vertiv, new battery alternatives will present opportunities for the broad adoption of UPS systems capable of more elegant interactions with the grid. This will result in load management and peak shaving features in the short term, while in the long term organisations will use some of the stored energy in their UPS systems to help the utility operate the electric grid. Vertiv said the static storage of all of that energy is a revenue generator waiting to happen, and we are moving closer to mainstream applications.
The data centre remains far too complex to expect full-fledged standardisation of equipment, but Vertiv said there is interest on two fronts: standardisation of equipment components and normalisation across data centre builds.
The latter is manifesting in the use of consistent architectures and equipment types to keep systems simple and costs down. In both cases, the goal is to reduce equipment costs, shorten delivery and deployment timelines, and simplify service and maintenance.
High-power processors and advanced cooling
As processor utilisation rates increase to run advanced applications such as facial recognition or advanced data analytics, high-power processors create a need for innovative approaches to thermal management.
Direct liquid cooling at the chip — meaning the processor or other components are partially or fully immersed in a liquid for heat dissipation — is becoming a viable solution. Although most commonly used in high-performance computing configurations, Vertiv suggested benefits such as better server performance, improved efficacy in high densities and reduced cooling costs justify additional consideration. Another area of innovation in thermal management is extreme water-free cooling, which is an increasingly popular alternative to traditional chilled water.
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