According to Rittal head office in Germany, rapid upgrades to data centres and rising energy consumption are key factors to consider in 2020.
Market researchers at the International Data Corporation predict that humans and machines could generate 175 zettabytes of data by 2025. If this amount of data were stored on conventional DVDs, it would equate to 23 stacks of data discs, each of them reaching up to the moon!
Adrian Buddingh, Managing Director for Rittal South Africa says that an estimated annual growth rate of 27% will place major pressure on company’ infrastructure. “Storing this amount of data will prove costly and based on this, we are seeing an obvious trend in companies migrating towards the use cloud technologies. While cloud technologies are common practice overseas, the adoption rate locally has been slow but steady”.
A survey published earlier this year by the “Bitkom” ICT industry association showed that three out of four companies are already using cloud solutions; Adrian notes one concern in this regard. “Businesses making use cloud solutions from third-party providers tend to lose some control over their corporate data. That is why, for example, the US Cloud Act (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data) allows US authorities to access data stored in the cloud, even if local laws at the location where the data is stored prohibit this”.
According to Adrian, future success in business will be sustainable if businesses keep pace with full digital transformation and integration. “Companies should use their data more and more to provide added value – in real-time,” he says.
“Retaining control over data is becoming a critical success factor for international competitiveness,” he adds.
Trend #1: Data control
The self-determined handling of data is becoming a key competitive factor for companies. “This applies to every industry in which data security is a top priority and where the analysis of this data is a key factor for business success”. Examples are the healthcare, mobility, banking or manufacturing industries. “Companies are now faced with questions around how to process their data securely and efficiently, and whether to modernise their own data centre, invest in edge infrastructures or use the cloud” explains Adrian.
Smaller data centres with open cloud stacks might be able to create a new class of industrial applications that perform initial data analysis at the point where the data is created and use the cloud for downstream analysis. One solution in this context is ONCITE. “This turnkey (plug-and-produce) edge cloud data centre stores and processes data directly where it arises, enabling companies to retain control over their data when networking along the entire supply chain”.
Trend #2: Standardisation in data centres with OCP
The rapid upgrade of existing data centres is becoming increasingly important for companies, as the volume of data needing to be processed continues to surge. Essential requirements for this growth are standardised technology, cost-efficient operation and a high level of infrastructure scalability. “The OCP technology (Open Compute Project) with its central direct current distribution in the IT rack is becoming an interesting alternative for more and more CIOs. This is because DC components open up new potentials for cost optimisation. For instance, all the IT components can be powered centrally with n+1 power supplies per rack” says Adrian. “This way, an efficient cooling is achieved, since fewer power packs are present. At the same time, the high degree of standardisation of OCP components simplifies both maintenance and spare parts management. The mean efficiency gain is around 5% of the total current”.
Rittal expects that OCP will establish itself further in the data centre as an integrated system platform in 2020. New OCP products for rack cooling, power supply or monitoring will enable rapid expansion with DC components. “Furthermore, new products will support the conventional concept of a central emergency power supply, where the power supply is safeguarded by a central UPS” explains Adrian.
Trend #3: Heat recovery and direct CPU cooling
Data centres release huge amounts of energy into the environment in the form of waste heat. As the power density in the data centre grows, so too do the amounts of heat, which can then potentially be used for other purposes. So far, however, the use of waste heat has proven too expensive, because consumers are rarely found in the direct vicinity of the site for example. In addition, waste heat, as generated by air-based IT cooling systems, is clearly too low at a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius to be used economically.
“In the area of high-performance computing (HPC) in particular, IT racks generate high thermal loads, often in excess of 50 kW. For HPC, direct processor cooling with water is significantly more efficient than air cooling, so that return temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees become available”. At these temperatures, for instance, it is possible to heat domestic hot water or use heat pumps or to feed heat into a district heating network. However, CIOs should be aware that only about 80% of the waste heat can be drawn from an IT rack, even with a direct CPU water cooling. IT cooling is still needed by the rack for the remaining 20%.
Trend #4: Integration of multi-cloud environments
“Businesses need to be assured that they can run their cloud applications on commonly used platforms and in any country. This calls for a multi-cloud strategy. From management's point of view, this is a strategic decision based on the knowledge that its own organisation will develop into a fully digitised business” Adrian concludes.