The resilience of data centres across Europe is at risk as the industry looks towards a permanent renewable energy infrastructure, according to a major new report launched by global temporary power and temperature solutions company, Aggreko. The report – Mission Critical – provides unique insight of 700 data centre consultants across the Netherlands, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the UK and Ireland, following a survey conducted by independent agency, Censuswide, on behalf of Aggreko. The results found that more than half (55%) of those surveyed expressed at least some concern about the capabilities of the local grid and energy infrastructure’s ability to meet current demand.
Four experts tell Intelligent Data Centres how data centre leaders can ensure resilience in today’s rapid growth market.
Nabil Khalil, Executive Vice-President of R&M Middle East, Turkey and Africa, said: “Internal data centre traffic is expected to grow by 80% over the next three years. Because of this, there is a real risk of networks becoming bandwidth bottlenecks. As a standard practice, organisations must now move away from traditional low-density cabling to high-density modular structured cable solutions. By doing so, they can implement physical network infrastructure in a far more manageable and flexible manner. Furthermore, these systems enable data centres to easily migrate to 25, 100 and 200 Gb/s networks and solve some of the most critical network challenges.
“When planning the installation or upgrade of network cabling, it is vital to remember that while the cost of cabling typically only accounts for 4-5% of the total expense of the data centre, reports have shown that 65% of system outages are related to cabling and patching mistakes cause of 28% of downtime in data centres. They are therefore making sound cabling investments to significantly reduce the possibility of data centre downtime.
Fibre is the way forward
“Today, no one asks for a slower network and while it is 25GbE that is being deployed, all new implementations are factoring in the need to include easy 100G and even 200G migration as a part of their future. And for this, higher value cabling systems such as fibre is the way forward. Fibre systems facilitate the setup of high-density cabling systems for data networks with parallel-optical connection technology. Consequently, data centres can introduce 25 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) or even 100 and 200 GbE as a bandwidth to connect the fastest servers and switches to each other.
“That being said, copper is still a good option for horizontal links (10G) and with the new Cat. 8, it will be able to provide 40G for 30 meters. So, it remains cheaper and sufficient for small distances.
Data centre network design
“To ensure data and applications are available in real time at all times, latencies have to be considerably reduced, calling for singlemode or multimode fibre and new kinds of network architecture.
“Changing network topologies also warrant the use of Automated Infrastructure Management (AIM) solutions. Using a single, current, consistent database eliminates stranded capacity and facilitates end-to-end analysis, agile infrastructure management, predictive analysis, capacity utilisation and efficiency of operation and administration, and can bring 30 – 50% reduction in downtime.”
Russell Poole, Managing Director UK, at Equinix, said: “2020 has certainly been a challenging year for global businesses as they come to grips with both the short- and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. As many organisations shifted to remote working almost overnight, the pandemic has been a catalyst to accelerate current trends, the most prominent of which is the move towards global, Digital Transformation and distribution of digital solutions.
“Throughout this period, Equinix has been a trusted partner to organisations, ensuring resiliency as they accelerate shifts in their IT infrastructure to the Edge, to seamlessly meet the needs of users in dispersed locations that require robust Internet bandwidth. This approach has only intensified in the first half of this year as enterprises quickly adopted new technologies to encompass remote working in the wake of the pandemic.
“The seismic shift to remote working has accelerated the need for scalable, secure digital infrastructures. As such, global IT strategies are increasingly moving towards multi-cloud solutions to reap the benefits of improved agility and speed to market, rapid innovation, scalability, enhanced productivity, security and cost effectiveness. However, for most enterprises this transition isn’t without its challenges, as even the most cloud-native businesses must tackle concerns around managing multi-cloud infrastructures, distributed data, security threats, compliance risks and decreased performance over the public Internet.
“At the same time, COVID-19 has increased demand for reliable peak performance as a result of the growing use of data-hungry applications that leverage Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of things (IoT), video conferencing and streaming content. Thus, companies must ensure they are hyper-connected to ensure latency doesn’t impact the overall customer experience.
“It’s crucial that businesses remain agile and, where possible, ensure that they can adopt flexible practices at the drop of a hat. Data centre companies can cater to this by helping organisations leverage their Digital Transformation to remain resilient, regardless of external circumstances, as they move with the times.”
Niclas Sanfridsson – CEO, Colt DCS, said: “The data centre industry looks to be holding strong in the face of COVID-19, with 26 new hyperscale data centres being built out in the first half of the year alone. While the future does look bright, it is important that operators ensure they are taking the right steps now to remain resilient no matter what the next few months or years throw at them.
Scalability is everything
“By the end of this year, Gartner predicts that there will be as many as 5.8 billion enterprise endpoints. As data centre service providers, it is our job is to ensure we don’t just meet demands but exceed them. However, when it comes to modern IT infrastructure, overall capacity is but one piece of the puzzle. Modern customers also require unparalleled levels of flexibility and reliability.
“So, when it comes to keeping customers happy, data centre operators need to be thinking hyperscale.
“A hyperscale facility is able to rapidly increase capacity, while also ensuring they are operating at peak efficiency at all times. This high degree of scalability means that data centre services can expand or contract in line with customer demand. In disruptive times such as these, inbuilt scalability helps to ensure resilience, not only for the operator, but for the customer as well.
Downtimes are extremely damaging
“Downtime is damaging and can be especially pronounced in today’s climate with disruptions brought on by the pandemic. To ensure this is limited, providers must invest in increased staffing and enhanced management systems that are at the ready to proactively anticipate and diagnose infrastructure and network issues before they occur.
Customers come first
“Providers must ensure that their service management teams are equipped with the necessary specialist knowledge to support customer needs.
“Customers rely on their providers to keep their business-critical data safe. This is a big responsibility and providers must ensure that their customers feel supported and well-taken care of by a team of experts.
“It is also especially important that operators are able to be flexible during these times.
“In times like these, scalability, expertise and customer service aren’t just a ‘nice-to-have’ but must be engrained into every facet of operations if we are to ensure our services remain resilient in the face of rapid growth and disruption. So, are you prepared for what’s next?”
Jeroen Schlosser, Managing Director, Equinix MENA, said: “Rapid growth of the digital economy has driven increasing demand for global connectivity and hybrid multi-cloud solutions.
“The Middle East has proven to be one of the most exciting areas of growth for cloud adoption – where cloud soared to be a key factor in the region’s Digital Transformation.
“UAE businesses are also rapidly adopting new technologies, such as 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and the Internet of things (IoT), as part of their Digital Transformation strategy. This is driving up data volumes and network bandwidth requirements and ultimately the demand for cloud services in the region.
Onset of COVID-19 has accelerated the move to digital platforms.
“One of the ways businesses can use the cloud more securely is through direct, dedicated interconnections between network and cloud providers and users and data, bypassing the hacking and performance risks of the public Internet. According to Global Interconnection Index (GXI), interconnection is key to ensure full Digital Transformation and for this, businesses will need to grow their interconnection bandwidth capacity (data exchange capacity). Every MENA business must understand and leverage Interconnection Bandwidth to compete in the digital age. This will require a regional drive among IT chiefs to re-architect their companies’ IT platforms.
“Equinix’s Platform Equinix is a truly global interconnection platform that enables customers to implement Interconnection Oriented Architecture(IOA) strategies. This approach to interconnecting people, locations, clouds and data integrates the physical and virtual worlds where they meet. This shifts the fundamental delivery architecture of IT from siloed and centralised to distributed, interconnected and co-located. Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric (ECX Fabric) brings enterprises and service providers closer via high-speed, single-digit latency connections that significantly improve digital business performance. For expanding hyperscale ecosystem, xScale data centres that will support the world’s leading hyperscale cloud providers’ unique core workload needs and accelerate connectivity to the business existing and future enterprise customers.”Click below to share this article