5 Mega Trends Driving the Future Direction of Data Centers

2018 was a spectacular year for change around the data centre environment. While researching my new paper – ‘Light into Money – The Future of Fibre Optics in Data Centre  Networks’, There have been various bubbling under technologies that have broken through and are providing the impetus to some radical cloud environments.

  1. Edge Computingless edgy more mainstream – We are seeing leading businesses and organisations heavily invest in technology that will demand ‘both’ growth of centralised cloud data centre services and driving the requirement for a whole new breed of Edge data centres placing compute capability where it’s needed. Placing analysis and response processing close to the source allows data users to optimise response times. The Edge is driving efficient bandwidth utilisation and minimising connections and physical reach (distance) that introduce latency into the infrastructure. Together with other data growth areas, Edge Computing applications will generate petabytes of data, daily, by 2020. Systems that intelligently process data to create business advantage will be essential to our customers’ future prosperity.
  2. Hyperscale – data centre investment – Efficiency gained on the coat tails of giants – Industry titans, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple and Asian public cloud players Alibaba and Ten Cent are investing heavily, not only in new facilities, but the technology platforms that are enabling ever faster data transport and processing. The global hyperscale data centre market size is expected to grow from $25.08 billion in 2017 to $80.65 billion by 2022. Established businesses competing with the web scale firms cannot afford to be constricted by legacy technologies, to remain competitive you must build new platforms and invest in the next generation Internet Protocol (IP) infrastructure.
  3. Solid State StorageNo Flash in the pan – Flash storage is replacing disk drives across the industry for high performance compute environments. Flash technology is on trend with the demand for higher bandwidth and low latency requirements of big data workloads. As our customers’ data volumes increase, new access and storage techniques such as Serial Storage Architecture (SSA) delivers to eliminate data bottlenecks in the data centre and Edge environments. Flash offers a more efficient cabinet and rack footprint and far greater power efficiency over disk drives. As the requirement for storage space multiples this is a significant advantage.
  4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) – disruption driving growth – AI together with Machine Learning (ML) require machine to machine communications at network speeds and the data volumes that have serious implications for network topologies and connectivity. An example of this is seen in the Ethernet switch market, which has seen incredible growth of 25 and 100Gigabit Ethernet (GE) ports shipments. These and new higher speed Ethernet ports will be essential to the growth of AI and Machine Learning applications, as the volume of data required are in the petabyte scale. We are working with partners on high speed and high-quality infrastructure and the next generation topologies to support this data volume growth. Read more on this subject in the report – Light into Money.
  5. Converged technologysimplify to clarify – To build more efficient data centres it is agreed that simplified designs on flexible infrastructure platforms are required to achieve more agile organisations. We are witnessing increased automation, more integrated solutions and software defined capabilities that are reducing the reliance on silo-systems. This allows users to taking advantage of highly flexible infrastructure to drive more capacity, monitoring and analysis and increase efficiency within the data centre. Converged and hyper-converged infrastructure are taking advantage of the many of the topics discussed above to build the future cloud.

Understanding how leaders in the market are moving forward provides stepping stones for all of us to develop our platforms and data centres to take advantage of new developments. However, we must not follow blindly, it is essential that our designs and solutions create the most effective and efficient solution for our needs, and we can only do this when we step out of the silo and view the wider opportunities.

Bandwidth Bottleneck – How to De-stress the Data Center Infrastructure

The IT industry does an excellent job in advance positioning the next great innovation. We have been just a step away from the internet of things (IoT) for over 20-years, AI (Artificial Intelligence) has been around for as long as I can remember, and solid-state memory is set to take over from disk drives and tape, speeding access, saving space, energy and resources. Maturity of technology can be mapped using a ‘hype cycle’ concept model, in simple terms… as time moves forward the ‘hype’ becomes reality and ‘quantum leaps’ are ever closer.
Explosive data growth and need for ubiquitous storage and processing is undisputed, which leaves the question – is it time to believe the hype?

Preparing for tomorrow’s future is crucial for business survival

In data center network communications, multiple technologies are converging to deliver growth of emerging, data intensive applications from e-health and media and content delivery, to sensor connected devices and automotive vehicles.

With volumes of data set to grow exponentially, the method of gathering, storing, processing and transmitting across the data center will be seriously hindered without infrastructure that meets latency and bandwidth performance requirements now, and for the foreseeable future.

Indeed, when technologies such as AI and Machine Learning (ML) become mainstream, individual data sets will run to 100s of terabytes. Meanwhile M2M data is expected to outstrip enterprise and personal data within the next five years. This increase in data traffic is already creating bottlenecks within legacy data centers, with every gateway and connection reducing the overall performance potential of the system.

My latest research white paper, ‘Light into Money – The Future of Fibre Optics in the Data Centre Networks’ investigates the drivers for the current and next generation infrastructure needed to support the data center industry and facilitate the high bandwidth, low latency platforms required in the multi-petabyte traffic era.

With an understanding of the opportunities available and the technologies influencing change we can plan better and prepare our structures to operate at the most appropriate levels. We can learn from the hyperscale designers who are designing systems with equipment manufacturers to optimize requirements for use, to attract these fast-growing applications into the cloud.

Each of these technology advances reflects the rapid growth of the global digital economy which is creating demand for greater network speed and performance from the internet backbone right into the core of the data center.

Key challenges for the infrastructure network are the ever-growing demand for faster speed – 10GE, 25GE, 40GE, 50GE and 100GE today, with 200GE – 400GE with predicted rollout as early as 2019. Together with new network architectures designed to maximise performance, the physical infrastructure must be designed to enable rapid and seamless deployment of new switching technologies.

Data bottlenecks will continue to be a growing problem if infrastructure and data center businesses focus on short term fixes. Network infrastructure is as vital as data center power and cooling, without appropriate investment it could significantly reduce both the life cycle and ROI.

My white paper – Light into Money – The Future of Fibre Optics in the Data Centre Networks is free to download @ Light into Money – The Future of Fibre Optics in the Data Centre Networks’