Why adaptability is critical to meet future data centre demands

The next wave of technology innovation is already here with new applications transforming the way we live, work and travel. With the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), cloud-based services, 4K videos and 5G networks, data centre operators must provide more data capacity and higher computing power if they hope to keep up with the unprecedented demands.

The sheer scale and scope of the gap the industry faces, demand that network operators rethink the way they have traditionally organised the design and deployment of networks and data centres.

According to Gartner, by 2025, the number of micro data centres will quadruple, due to technological advances such as 5G, new batteries, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and various software-defined systems (SDx). By the same year, enterprise data centres will have five times more computational capacity per physical area than today.

With demands for data increasing at such an unprecedented rate worldwide, operators are under mounting pressure to develop and build data centres that can handle the increased connectivity and bandwidth demands that these new technologies bring. Data centres are being forced to adapt to the demands of their ever-changing environments and in order for to prepare for future demands, operators need to invest in technology that will grow alongside them.

Change needs to happen in order to be prepared for the future

With the continuing advancement of technologies at a rapid rate, the availability of computing and storage with ultra-low latency needs to be at the forefront of operators’ minds. Downtime of data centres carries enormous cost implications to an operator, making it crucial that there are fibre management solutions in place that make day-to-day operations as seamless as possible. 

If data demands continue at the current rate, it is predicted that hyperscale data centres would need to be upgraded every two years to keep up with the bandwidth and storage demands. The cost and time implications for operators to overhaul the entire system every couple of years would be astronomical. Instead, operators need to be doing all they can to invest in technology that future-proofs their investments.

The evolution of data centre infrastructure starts with simplification. Data centre infrastructures are changing from predominantly complex or proprietary systems to repeatable and predictable, standardised around Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) infrastructures. In addition, fast-paced adoptions of new advances with systems such as hyperconvergence, software-defined and composable infrastructures are adding resources for standardisation, rationalisation and consolidation initiatives.

Cabling is critical to the future of data centres

Fibre management systems are crucial in organising the cabling in a clear and concise way, reducing the risk of damage and downtime. With such large costs associated with inaccessible data, downtime is simply not a possibility for a data centre operator. With hyperscale data centres containing hundreds of servers, it is absolutely crucial that there is no error when it comes to moves, adds and changes (MACs) of fibre connectivity.

Due to the complexity of fibre cabling and the implications that can occur through error, operators need to deploy flexible, comprehensive fibre management systems that can be managed with ultimate ease and maximum efficiency.

In order to achieve the ultimate level of protection and maximum ease, operators should install fibre optic systems in the meet-me-room (MMR) or main distribution area (MDA) that are high-density with a clear demarcation point. Selecting a dense cross-connect fibre management system is best. By having all the connections in one location, there are fewer reasons for someone to interact with the active equipment in the data centre and subsequently cause an error.

With its market leading modular LISA Double Access fibre management system, HUBER+SUHNER has revolutionised how structured cabling in data centres work worldwide. In the future, such a short time-to-market turn around will be required. With ever-increasing bandwidth and connectivity demands, it is critical to adapt quickly and select a fibre management system with interchangeable modules that can be easily installed, exchanged and removed.

This modular approach makes the cabling structure in a data centre incredibly flexible. The fibre management system can be installed in a multitude of positions whether that be against a wall, the end of a row or back to back in a row. With a variety of layouts possible, the system can easily be implemented in the main distribution area (MDA) but also in the horizontal distribution area (HDA).

With the pressure on data centres only set to increase in the future, operators need to consider all options available to them and remain flexible and ready for any eventualities that may arise. There are many options on the market for operators to consider when selecting a fibre management system, but by using a fibre management system with a modular pay-as-you-grow infrastructure, data centres have the capability to continuously evolve and adapt to reflect the ever-increasing future demands.

Preparing for the unknown

Over the last fifty years, enterprise data centres have been responsible for storing and processing critical business information and have evolved gradually and conservatively during that time. However, traditional data centres are now feeling the impact of disruption from cloud, edge computing, advances in colocation and hosting services. In addition, advances in the areas of power, cooling, telecommunications, AI, operations, hardware and software are transforming enterprise data centres as never before. Traditional on-premises data centre models must evolve to play a role in modern enterprise information management.

In order for data centre operators to be in with a good shot of keeping up with the unprecedented demands they need to take advantage of the systems that enable them to do their jobs effectively. As technological innovation continues, the pressure on data centres is only going to mount further. Simple, high-density fibre management systems with easy handling designs that clearly demonstrate the incoming and outgoing connectivity, will be critical to the future of data centres.

Picture credit: HUBER+SUHNER

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