DCN August 2016 - Page 51

final thought it effectively provides processing), capacity will need to continue to double year on year. Virtus is a good example. It has gone from 6MW when it had one site, to 40MW and three sites in 18 months. In these terms, Virtus will need 80MW or more of data centre capacity in a further 18 months. Data centre organisations need to work very closely with cloud providers to understand their prolific growth rates if they are to be able to meet the demands of the future of computing. New technologies But how else can data centre providers prepare for the potential end of Moore’s law for microprocessors? In the UK we don’t have an abundance of real estate on which to build data centres, so we need to look to new technologies if we are to improve computing capacity. Increasing speed and the availability of power will be major factors. Photonics is already being looked at to increase processing speed, albeit at the early stages of research. Some labs, for example, Intel in Texas, are testing photonics which uses light so data is processed more quickly with no resistant losses. This stops heat being generated and enables processing at the speed of light, reducing the need for so many processors because they are much quicker. This will further enable Moore’s law to increase processing capabilities, thus starting the cycle again. For any computer to work, it needs power, and data centres need lots of it. If Moore’s law applies to data centres, so it will apply to power. The danger is that the UK could face a power shortage in the future because of the rate of consumption and the time it takes to build power plants. The most innovative data centre providers are mitigating this potential risk by future proofing their energy requirements. At Virtus, this is an area we are already focused on. We are investing time and resource to look into self-generation of power by standard means and alternatives such as nuclear batteries. By looking ahead, we can continue to aid the future of computing. So, Moore’s law may mean the end of one era of computing, but it could unleash a new wave of creativity where the leading innovative data centre players come to the fore. Moore’s law could unleash a new wave of creativity where the leading innovative data centre players come to the fore. 51