Every time you share a file via email, access CRM or ERP services, use machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, virtual desktops or any other form of collaboration services, you are continuously being routed to and fro from data centres. In an era where physical storage facilities have gone obsolete and it is important for everyone to understand what is going on in the world of data centres? Here is a quick run-down on innovations in data centre technology.
The last decade has spared no industry from the term cloud computing. This technology is built fundamentally on a data centre facility that hosts data, through service providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM Cloud and Microsoft (Azure).
The cloud computing world has seen significant developments and innovations. In traditional processing, all the data collected must reach the network core, where the central server is located. This journey is not instant; it takes time, resulting in latency and slowing the access to data. This data can be of any type — video, content, applications, quantitative data, etc. Edge computing came into existence to overcome this access delay with frequently visited data.
Edge computing functions just as it sounds: instead of frequently visited data travelling back and forth from the core or the central server, such data is stored and processed at the edge of the network, thereby decreasing the density at the core and uniformly distributing it. This mode of computing leads to increased speed and responsiveness in accessing data.
Software-defined data centres
Software-defined infrastructure has gained quite some traction in recent years. In this mode, servers and data containers are virtualized through software, which is then bundled and sold as a service. Installation and management of these virtual servers become easy and is done by the client directly. The use of virtual servers ensures security and privacy and boosts data efficiency. It is also easy to scale the software according to the client’s needs and requirements, making it flexible and easy to relocate.
Appropriate for small to medium-sized companies, colocation means renting out space and processing power from a third-party data centre. Private data centres are seeing increased costs of maintenance and installation, and do not offer much flexibility. Modern data centres provide more than just a repository for storing and tallying data: they provide every digital data service imaginable, from managing tools to business intelligence software and 24×7 remote hands-on technical support.
Effective cooling systems
With the increase in processing power and data handling, energy consumption in data centres has also increased multiple-fold. One consequence has been the overheating of routers, switches, servers, etc. Overheating of these high-performing units is, of course, not desirable. Various solutions are being deployed in massive data centres to overcome this hurdle. AI applications that dynamically monitor performance and heat release continuously regulate the environment to maintain optimal temperatures. Liquid cooling technology is a field seeing exciting advances in research, as air cooling systems are no longer adequate.
Innovations in storage technology
With the consistent rise in the rollout of 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) products, more data than ever is being produced. The costs of Solid State Devices and Hard Drive Disks (HDDs) are falling; these forms are still in widespread use, but there is a widely felt need for more storage technology.
The 5D memory crystals field is also seeing hectic innovation. Here, minute discs much smaller than a CD or a Blu-ray disc are encoded with data. These disks can store up to 128 GB of data.
As data centre technology goes through continuous innovation and consistent growth, talent acquisition remains a significant crisis. Professionals still involved in the data centre domain are old and experienced, while there is a shortage of new skilled professionals. Once experienced professionals phase out of the industry, filling knowledge gaps will become a challenge. Enterprises must embark on large-scale, high-speed hiring and training of young trainees and professionals to meet demand and keep the momentum going.