With heightened competition driving the need for new efficiencies to be found across data centre estates, Richard Clifford, head of innovation at critical environment specialist Keysource, discusses some of the key drivers for change in the data centre market.
With increased competition and tighter margins comes new impetus for operators to identify efficiencies. Implementing more efficient cooling systems and streamlining maintenance procedures are well explored routes to doing this, but they also represent low hanging fruit in terms of cost savings. Competition in the co-location and cloud markets is heating up, and so data centre operators are going to have to be more imaginative if they are to stay ahead of the curve.
Some notable trends are likely to accelerate over the next five years and operators would be wise to consider how they can be incorporated into their estates.
The resurgence of the edge-of-network market is one. This relies on a decentralised model of data centres that employ several smaller facilities, often in remote locations, to provide an ‘edge’ service. This reduces latency by bringing content physically closer to end users.
The concept has been around for decades, but it fell out of favour with businesses with the advent of large, singular builds, which began to offer greater cost-efficiencies. That trend is now starting to reverse, due in part to the rise of the Internet of Things and a greater reliance on data across more aspects of modern life. Growing consumer demands for quicker access to content is likely to lead to more operators choosing regional, containerised and micro data centres.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is also set to have a transformational impact on the industry. Like many sectors, the potential of AI is becoming a ubiquitous part of the conversation in the data centre industry, but there are few real-world applications of it in place. Currently complex algorithms are used to lighten the burden on management processes, for example, some operators are using these systems to identify and regulate patterns in power or temperature consumption that could indicate an error or inefficiency within the facility. Managers can then deploy resources to fix it before it becomes a bigger problem or risks downtime. Likewise, they can also be used to identify security risks, for example recording if the data centre has been accessed remotely or out of hours and reporting any unusual behaviour.
This article was published in the March edition of DCS Europe Magazine for the Data Centre Alliance. You can continue reading here