Evolve or Be Left Behind
Hardware is not only a major investment for data centers – it is a critical component of data center infrastructure and, as technology advances, the necessary hardware to keep a data center running at optimal capacity changes as well. Legacy hardwire cannot simply be removed and replaced with a slightly newer model of the same component. Often, the needs of a data center have changed, as well as other software and hardware, and that can complicate things.
In an ideal scenario, a data center would anticipate the shifting needs and recognize that certain hardware (or, perhaps, all hardware) needs to be replaced. When this is the case, your DCIM strategy is going to come in very handy…assuming you have one. If you do not anticipate these changes with some forethought and careful planning, you may find yourself trying to catch up as quickly as possible to prevent downtime. The Internet of Things (IoT) is here, the cloud is here, data size is increasing rapidly – the list could go on and on but the one thing we know is that every data center will have to adapt their hardware to accommodate these changes.
Data Centers Must Prepare for Hardware Evolution Due to 5G
The emergence of 5G has shined a light on how data center hardware will need to evolve to keep pace in a highly competitive space, as TechTarget explains “The importance of 5G for data center operators is threefold…First, the initial use cases for 5G focus on enhancing mobile wireless broadband and expanding traffic growth to and from data centers. One goal of 5G is to remedy the latency and bandwidth bottlenecks that exist with 4G, but that puts pressure on the data center to not become the processing bottleneck. Second, the 5G infrastructure is designed to align with modern virtualization approaches and service-based segmentation. The architecture’s effect on IT is still unknown. ‘As such, it is expected that most of the components will run in either central or edge data centers on dedicated hardware,’ Peeters said. Third, between cloud and on-premises approaches, the edge data center can be a part of either setup. 5G use cases focus on low latencies and strict data and control separation and slicing for industrial application expect these edge data centers to be part of the infrastructure.”
Evolving Hardware = Increased Data Center Spending
The old saying ‘you have to spend money to make money’ is certainly true when it comes to changing data center hardware. A big reason why all data center operators should be anticipating hardware evolutions with the many emerging technologies we are seeing is the cost. Converting hardware is costly and may require things like additional/new/unique server racks, new cooling systems, new cabling, etc., and those come with a cost.
But, while you will be spending more you will also be making more. New hardware offers you a unique chance to scale your data center without necessarily increasing your footprint. So, not only will your new data center hardware be saving you money through better performance or increased capabilities, it will also be saving you money by allowing you to scale without having to expand your data center footprint/more to a bigger facility.
Hyperscale Data Centers Force Hardware Evolution
Hyperscale data centers are, in the most condensed description, data centers that can efficiently scale at a rapid pace. This is important because many are predicting that hyperscale data centers will revolutionize data center operations as they become more and more common. The reason for this is that many industries are highly competitive – the more time wasted = falling behind and less time making money – and technology is rapidly evolving. These two things leave data center managers in a bit of a pickle if they working in a traditional data center because if data evolves and grows rapidly, there must be adequate hardware capabilities to manage that increased size and volume. But, if you cannot rapidly scale because you are waiting for that time to come and the market gets competitive, you are falling behind with each minute that you waste scaling to accommodate.
At first glance, it may seem like hyperscale data centers are only for the massive companies running mega data centers with server racks as far as the eye can see. But, hyperscale data centers are something that we will absolutely see make its way into data centers of all sizes because, in the long run, it is the most economical (in terms of both money and space) way to scale a data center. The thing is, in order to convert a data center to a hyperscale data center requires a good amount of hardware evolution.
Data Center Frontier points to just a few potential hardware changes data center operators can anticipate if/when they convert to hyperscale, “The rise of artificial intelligence, and the hardware that often supports it, is reshaping the data center industry’s relationship with servers. New hardware for AI workloads is packing more computing power into each piece of equipment, boosting the power density – the amount of electricity used by servers and storage in a rack or cabinet – and the accompanying heat. New silicon offerings from hardware startups could bring even denser workloads into the data center. Google’s decision to shift to liquid cooling with its latest hardware for artificial intelligence raised expectations that others might follow.”
The Data Center Hardware Evolution is Coming – Are You Ready?
Upgrading hardware technology and migrating data is an undertaking that is not easy or cheap but it something that will pay off handsomely. And, as data center operators know, there is no avoiding it. The rate at which technology is growing and changing directly impacts the rate at which data centers must grow and change to accommodate or be left behind. Consumers want data transmission speed, they don’t want to wait, they want it now. Thus, the companies that want to keep their consumers happy will ensure they get exactly that, and that means they will be building or working with a data center that has hardware to accommodate new technology. Don’t get left behind waiting until it is ‘absolutely necessary’ to upgrade because, in all likelihood, that will put you behind the 8 ball. Anticipate now so that you be a leader in your industry with very satisfied clients.