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’

Trump and his impact on the healthcare structured cabling market

Healthcare, specifically the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was a central topic healthcarethroughout the recent U.S. presidential campaigns. Though we can’t say how just yet, Donald Trump’s election will likely bring change to the U.S. healthcare market. Trump campaign promises pointed to repealing and replacing the ACA with something completely different; however, as time goes on, it is expected that at least parts of the ACA will remain.

Over the past several years, the U.S. healthcare industry has been consumerized through initiatives like the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). These initiatives changed the way that physicians are paid from a volume-based system to a value-based system. This has forced providers to reduce the cost of care while improving quality and patient outcomes. These cost reductions and the concern for the quality of patient care is likely to continue, and perhaps become even more important during the Trump administration.

Based on what we have heard thus far, analysts predict the following for health care under Trump’s policies:

  • There will be more of an emphasis on price transparency for medical procedures and other healthcare costs.
  • The Medical Productivity Index* (MPI) is expected to increase by 2% by 2026.
  • MACRA is likely to continue.
  • We will see greater consumer responsibility for healthcare costs, creating a more competitive market.
  • The number of uninsured people will increase by as many as 25 million, with conservative estimates hovering around 20 million.

Impact on the Healthcare Structured Cabling Market

What do these things mean for the healthcare structured cabling market? We can expect continued growth in the healthcare industry; however, it may look different than over the past decade.

  • Large hospital new construction is likely to decline. At the same time, hospitals are likely to continue investing in technology. This technology will deliver operational efficiencies and improved precision and diagnostics, which will drive down costs.
  • The amount of data will continue to increase, and speed of retrieval and analysis will be more important than ever. This forces the need for high-speed cabling and large-scale storage, especially as hospital groups continue to acquire independent facilities, creating more centralized systems.
  • Healthcare IT and facilities groups will have less budget to work with while being expected to deliver the highest quality of service to the organization.

Regardless of whether the ACA (also known as ‘Obamacare’) is repealed or not, it appears that the emphasis on value-based care will continue to grow. As structured cabling professionals, it is our responsibility to guide the healthcare community towards solutions that are both cost-effective and deliver the resilience and performance that a medical environment demands.

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*The Medical Industry Leadership Institute developed the Medical Productivity Index to measure the productivity of insurance-financed medical care. The MPI analyzes the health status achieved by a patient relative to the amount of resources invested in that patient’s care. The higher the index number, the better the return on investment. Care through Medicaid produces a low index value, whereas health savings accounts generally produce the highest index value.

Are We Approaching a Technical Skills Shortage?

A concern has been growing in recent years over the potential for a technical skills shortage in the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere around the globe, particularly in science, and engineering-related occupations.

It is generally predicted that, by 2018, a mass wave of retirements by members of the Baby Boom generation will result in 1.2 million U.S. job openings in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, and there will likely be a significant shortage of qualified applicants to fill them.  The full depth of the STEM skills shortage may be even greater than this, as 50 percent of jobs that require STEM skills do not require a bachelor’s degree or better, according to Plant Services.

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Joliet Catholic Academy Enhances Learning Experience

It’s Back-to-School season for many readers and their children—time for students of all ages to meet new friends and teachers, get some fresh school clothes and/or uniforms, and check for the closest wi-fi hot spot.

Technology has become a significant part of students’ everyday lives, with tablets and interactive eBooks starting to replace heavy textbooks in everyone’s backpack, according to SecurEdge Networks.  In fact, SecurEdge reports that the average college student now uses three devices daily, and 67% of surveyed students claim that they cannot go more than one hour without using some sort of digital technology.

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Don’t Miss Us at AFCEA West 2014!

In our last post we announced our partnership with SOLiD in effort to provide enhanced cellular service, both voice and data, as well as carry 2-way radio transmissions and public safety announcements via In-Building DAS Solutions.  In order to promote our partnership, we are pleased to announce that both Panduit and SOLiD will be participating in the AFCEA West event in San Diego, CA, February 11 -13, 2014 at the San Diego Convention Center.

Co-Sponsored by AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute, West 2014 is the largest event on the west coast for the U.S. government, armed forces, and the contractors that support them.  This event gives these individuals the opportunity to engage on multiple levels with both their peers and suppliers, as well as attend technical sessions revolving around emerging technologies and equipment relevant to their industry.

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