Written by Mourad Younes, the Cloud & Services Segment Leader MEA region at Schneider Electric
Data centres are the heart of our online world. They store the data and increasingly they host the applications that we use to work, shop, bank and entertain ourselves. Given what happened last year, the data centre market is growing rapidly. According to market research company Gartner, the global data centre market size is poised to hit US$200 billion by 2021. The data centre industry is undergoing changes to serve the needs in today’s business landscape.
It comes as no surprise when we hear organisations discuss their plans to enhance their data centre infrastructure, with technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine automation promising improved uptime whilst controlling costs — both of which are important for companies to drive operational efficiency and business resiliency.
The current pandemic is driving forward-looking companies to become increasingly interested in predictive technology and remote capabilities in data centres. The ability for IT departments to predict disruptions and unplanned downtime can potentially minimise business impact, especially in an environment that is riddled with uncertainties.
AI & Machine Learning in Data Centres
Over the years, AI and machine learning in data centres have witnessed significant development. In the case of data centres, algorithms that have been built for task automation and predictive maintenance are becoming more refined, therefore enabling IT departments to focus less on routine tasks and more on future planning.
Algorithms will leverage historical data to predict more accurately when maintenance is required. Not only can they alert IT departments when something is about to fail, but these intelligent systems can also minimise the chances of failure thanks to data-driven predictive maintenance models. Proactive insights on critical assets can help IT staff manage the health and availability of an IT environment. These insights provide them with the ability to deliver actionable real-time recommendations to optimise data centre performance, mitigate risk and ensure uptime.
In the wake of the pandemic, companies that relied on on-site data centre support staff soon realised they had limited or no visibility into their data centre operations. With cloud-based, next-generation management platform, IT support staff can now manage sites remotely and more importantly, in a much safer manner.
Better Data Centre Performance with Predictive Capability
Increasing the intelligence and automation of the physical infrastructure and management systems enable data centres to be more reliable and efficient both in terms of energy use and operations. This also enables the collection and analysis of data that can lead to better performance with predictive capability.
Successful cases of digitally transformed data centres are already emerging around the world. This new breed of data centre, whether a cloud provider or an edge site, can deploy 20% faster with modular infrastructure. In the MENA region, the UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar are the largest markets in terms of colocation data centres. The market is expected to witness increased training and development activities on installation and commissioning services for data centre facilities.
AI and machine learning will underpin the next generation of data centre infrastructure management. Disruptive technologies like these will integrate people and processes resulting in a true digital data centre. As digital transformation progresses, we will see data centre evolve based on real-world experience and are driven by demand for ever higher levels of profitability.