Network Communications News (NCN) August 2016 - Page 25

IT load F E AT U R E How low can you go? Traditional data centres are designed for a low PUE rating, but Kevin Brown of Schneider Electric questions whether the impact of the IT load is more important. A s Internet based computing evolves, the data centres that house much of the processing power and data storage will become increasingly important. With an increase for service and computing power, the infrastructure will also become increasingly varied in size and makeup to support the diversification of IT services. This, in turn, will create new requirements for data centres that cannot be realised through a ‘one size fits all’ approach. One consequence is that energy management will become a more complex problem. Among the variables affecting the energy performance of a data centre are its size, layout, utilisation density, type of cooling infrastructure employed, the type of IT deployed and local climate. As multiple data centres become more diverse in engineering terms, and come to be distributed across a variety of geographies with varying climates, managing all of these variables to optimise the energy consumption and efficiency of each data centre will become a greater challenge. The trend of data centres becoming more widely distributed geographically is a feature of edge computing: the evolution of data centres away from massive hubs at the centre of a global network, to smaller regionally based installations ever closer to the users of the data and applications housed within them. Among the trends driving this change are the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), in which embedded sensor driven network connectivity will connect all manner of physical devices. These range from buildings to automobiles and all manner of smart devices, collecting information to enable better business decision making. The growth of data intensive multimedia applications such as video on demand is also a key driver, accompanied by the growth in high definition TV services, which requires efficient management of high bandwidth networks at a regional as well as global level. Delivery of digital HDTV and video on demand requires service providers to locate their server farms close to their customers. Therefore viewers in London or Glasgow downloading the latest movie blockbuster to their TVs are likely to have a smoother, glitch free experience if the server farm is located in the UK rather than California. Lastly, the increasing demand for computing services in specialist applications such as mining and fossil fuel extraction, which typically takes place in remote or hostile environments, is driving the need for ruggedised computing applications. 25 25-26 D&FM – Schneider.indd 25 02/08/2016 12:06