Vertiv released six data centre infrastructure trends to oversee in 2017. This year’s trends follow the 2016 data centre trends published by Emerson Network Power last year.
According to Anand Sanghi, President, Asia, Vertiv, “A globally connected, always on, mobile and social world is rapidly transforming how consumers and businesses interact and transact. Hyperscale platforms and the explosion in critical applications shaping tomorrow’s digital economy are redefining ITC infrastructure. For 2017, we are seeing increased focus on efficiency, sustainability and data security in the architecture of data centers and the underlying power, cooling and DCIM technologies deployed in these data centers all the way from the cloud to the edge.”
Below are six infrastructure trends shaping the data center ecosystem in 2017:
1. Infrastructure races to keep up with connectivity at the edge
Distributed IT and the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are driving IT resources closer to users and industrial processes. While the data centre remains essential to delivering applications and services, such as point of sale and inventory management, network closets and micro data centres are increasing in number and importance as internet-connected sensors and devices proliferate and remote users demand quicker access to information. Responding to these changes, organisations will turn to pre-configured micro data centre solutions that support fast deployment, better standardisation and remote management across distributed IT locations. Standardisation and modularity are now as important in distributed IT locations as they are in large data centres.
Current network closets and remote IT locations will also be re-appraised to ensure the power and cooling provisions are sufficient to meet the growing criticality of these locations as they begin to offer localised collection and analysis of real-time data from connected sensors and devices.
2. Thermal management expands to sustainability
Data centre cooling has transformed more for the past five years than any other data centre system. Driven by the desire to lower energy costs, conventional approaches that focused on delivering “maximum cooling” have been displaced by more sophisticated approaches focused on eliminating heat as efficiently as possible. Increased use of advanced economiser technologies and the dynamic evolution of intelligent thermal controls have enabled highly resilient thermal management strategies that support PUEs below 1.2.
While energy efficiency remains a major concern, water consumption and refrigerant use are also crucial considerations in select geographies. Thanks to the expanded range of thermal management strategies available today, data centre operators are tailoring thermal management based on data center location and resource availability. Global market trends reveal an increase in the use of new technologies utilising evaporative and adiabatic cooling that use water to cool the surrounding air. These technologies are channelling highly efficient, reliable and economical thermal management.
3. Security responsibilities extend to data centre management
While data breaches continue to garner most security-related headlines, security has become a one of the issue as well. The 2016 Ponemon Institute Cost of Data Center Outages study discovered that cyberattacks accounted for 22 percent of the data center outages studied.
As more devices get connected to allow simpler management and eventual automation, threat vectors also intensify. Data centre experts are adding security to their list of priorities and starting to look for solutions that help them identify vulnerabilities and enhance response to attacks. Management gateways that gather data from various devices to support DCIM are becoming known as a potential solution. With some modifications, they can detect unsecured ports across the critical infrastructure and provide early warning of denial of service attacks.
4. DCIM proves its value
DCIM is continuing to develop its value, both in the issues it can address and its ability to manage complex data centre ecosystem. Forward-thinking operators are using DCIM to address data center challenges, such as regulatory compliance, Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), and managing hybrid environments. Finally, colocation providers see that DCIM is a valuable tool in analysing their costs by customer and in offering their customers with remote visibility into their assets.
DCIM has emerged as the forerunner to IIoT in the data centre, delivering the visibility, increased coordination across systems and support for automation that are at the core of the IIoT value proposition.
5. Alternatives to lead-acid batteries become viable
New solutions are evolving to the weak link in data centre power systems as operators seek to lower the footprint, weight and total costs of traditional valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries. The most promising of these is lithium-ion batteries. With prices declining and chemistries and construction continuing to advance, lithium-ion batteries are becoming a viable option for the data centre and are being scaled to handle row- and room-level requirements. While this battery technology has been available earlier, the improving economics have sped up increased commercialisation efforts in the data centre industry.
Data centre operators have long been interested in alternatives to lead-acid batteries, but available technologies have not been able to match the value and storage capacity of traditional batteries. Now, real alternatives are emerging that can lower footprint, expand runtimes and enhance sustainability.
6. Data centre design and deployment become more integrated
Technology integration has been expanding in the data centre space for the last several years as operators look for modular, integrated solutions that can be utilised instantly, scaled easily and operated efficiently. This same philosophy is being applied to data centre development. Speed-to-market is one of the major drivers of the companies developing the mass of data centre capacity today, and they’ve found the traditional silos between the engineering and construction phases cumbersome and unproductive.
Consequently, they are embracing a turnkey approach to data centre design and deployment that leverages integrated, modular designs, off-site construction and disciplined project management. Vendors that bring together infrastructure expertise, design and engineering capabilities and sophisticated project management to deliver a turnkey capability can build greater data centers quicker.
Sanghi further noted, “Organisations, regardless of industry and size, must continue to evolve their critical infrastructure to deliver exceptional services to their customers. With new trends emerging within the IT space, it is vital for organisations to continue to reevaluate their IT and business strategies and choose a right partner that can provide them with the speed, efficiency and agility they require for business growth.”
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