Networks Europe March/April 2019 - Page 42

42 INTERVIEW What will be the market drivers for the future? Recent trends have shown that edge will be a key enabler of 5G, which will mean that more localised micro data centres will need to be deployed and could become as normal a as the old red phone boxes you used to see on every road. As more companies become focused on energy efficiency and sustainability, we believe that you’ll see greater adoption of Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries within UPS solutions. Use of Li-ion also enables companies to take advantage of significant savings enabled via lower TCO and use emerging grid technologies like demand side response (DSR). As costs increase, especially those associated with energy, it’s likely that more companies will embrace Li-ion as to be more environmentally conscious while reducing OPEX. 4 Can companies afford to specialise? Diversification, being able to adapt to and quickly solve customer challenges in today’s business-critical environment is, of course, essential, but specialisation is key to success. Specialisation in cloud-based software is absolutely fundamental to the success of the solution, and it’s been a key enabler for both today’s end-users and channel partners. 5 What does the data centre of tomorrow look like? It’s hard to predict how the data centre of tomorrow will look, and it depends purely on where you sit within today’s edge ecosystem. Collaboration will continue to play a crucial role, as will new and emerging technologies such as 5G, AI, machine learning and the re-emergence of liquid cooling. If you’re a colocation provider, you may be utilising different cooling technologies as a way to remain energy efficient and cost competitive. It’s also possible that you may also consider utilising prefabricated data centre infrastructure to expand your existing capacity or take a modular approach to designing and deploying any new data centre builds, rather than conforming to traditional designs. One thing is for sure, is that data will continue to be a high-value commodity so both physical and cybersecurity will play a crucial role. And with the innovation that we’re seeing in today’s hyperscale and micro data centre solutions, anything is possible. 6 shift in customer expectations, from where once critical infrastructure and IT vendors worked in silo, there is now a requirement for them to work together. This collaboration has actually been a hugely positive breakthrough. Edge solutions are standardised, pre-tested and pre- integrated to meet rapid deployment times, which means that the infrastructure will work as planned once it reaches the customer site. Predictability and reliability are crucial for today’s IT environments. Where do you see the industry heading in the future? We’re already seeing the era of edge come into fruition and the amount of data being generated shows no signs of slowing, especially with the discussion around 5G. There are three key enablers for the edge including remote management with simplified monitoring, 24/7 visibility and predictive analytics, greater physical security to prevent unauthorised access to IT equipment, and rapid deployment to ensure a standardised and repeatable approach. In the future, businesses will need to embrace the edge as an intricate ecosystem made up of localised or on- premise micro data centres, mid-sized regional facilities and hyperscale campuses – those used by the Internet giants to provide large cloud cover and data backup. One may even argue that edge computing is just the next evolution of physical infrastructure. So, in order to embrace digital transformation and adapt to this data-driven environment, it’s likely that businesses will have to embrace different components of the edge ecosystem to remain competitive in their respective markets. 3 How is Schneider Electric keeping abreast of current and future industry developments? Schneider Electric makes a significant annual investment into research and development and has a continual focus on innovation within the critical infrastructure space. We also have a team of experts in our Data Center Science Center that focus specifically on research into established and evolving technologies. Their findings are frequently published in APC and Schneider Electric White Papers, and they use the data gathered from research to create a specialist digital TradeOff tool. These include a Local Edge Configurator and a Li-ion vs VRLA capital cost calculator, which customers can use to build and test solutions or calculate the total cost ownership (TCO) over the lifecycle. Innovation is at the heart of everything we do at Schneider Electric and is something that will never change. n 7