A data center plays major role for IT needs to manage and store the huge resources which are important for the continuous work of any organization. As the name sounds, it seems that data center is a singular product but it has a huge role in today’s industry. It has been made by the numerous technical elements. The main work of data center is computing, storing and networking. While millions of people working on data and network, these data centers make that work easier, comfortable and trustworthy. Reliability, efficiency, security and constant evolution are the major role of data centers. A report by JLL, says that India’s data centre industry is expected to double capacity and cross the 1GW mark by 2023. While focusing on the same, BISinfotech sits around for an extensive exchange with Jeremy Deutsch, President, Equinix Asia-Pacific; Abhinav Kotagiri, Chief Data Center Delivery Officer, Pi Data Centers; Shailendra Trivedi, Senior Director Sales – Public Network, R&M India; Ankit Saraiya, Director, Techno Electric and Engineering Company Limited (TEECL); Nikhil Rathi, Founder and CEO, Web Werks Data Centers.
Data Center Vs Energy Efficiency
A report says that amount of energy consumed by data centers are set to continue to grow at a rate of 12 percent per year. So, how the energy efficiency will be maintained? While answering the same Jeremy says, as a leader in data center sustainability, we are taking steps to minimize our carbon footprint and reduce our energy consumption – all the while expanding our footprint globally. Equinix is the first in the industry to set a long-term goal of using 100% clean and renewable energy for our global platform. Of our electricity consumption, 91% was from renewable energy procured by Equinix in 2020. Amongst Equinix’s operations in Asia-Pacific, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore have achieved a 100% renewable energy goal in 2020, with the region as a whole achieving 75% renewable energy.
Abhinav feels that all datacenter networks today must adapt to and accommodate business-critical application workloads. Data centers will have to increasingly adapt to virtualized workloads and to the ongoing enterprise transition to private and hybrid clouds. Pressure will mount on data centers not only to provide increased bandwidth for 3rd Platform applications such as cloud and data analytics but also to deliver the agility and dynamism necessary to accommodate shifting traffic patterns (with more east-west traffic associated with server-to-server flows, as opposed to the traditional north-south traffic associated with client/server computing).
While it is up to experienced storage consultants and IT architects to make the decisions around these considerations, data center designers need to understand the complexity of a data center’s storage infrastructure, he adds.
The data center industry has been gaining more dependents, especially in the post-pandemic world where business transformation has become a necessity. All the data, access points from remote working stations, everything needs a center and that is where DCs come into picture. The amount of data generated now is more by leaps and bounds when compared to five years ago or a decade ago. And for this a 40-Gigabit Ethernet is sufficient. To future-proof data centers and see continued success, data center professionals must support higher server densities, deploy more fiber and accelerate their plans to migrate to higher speeds in their core and aggregation networks, suggests Shailendra.
Ankit feels that strategies need to be followed for energy efficiency and data center survival. He says, there is a growing need to curate strategies for energy efﬁciency to cut energy waste in the Data Centers like: Renewable and Alternative Source of Energy , Batter Energy Storage System (BESS), use water cooled systems instead of air-cooled systems for cooling the Data Center wherever possible, to reduce energy demand, Airflow Management, Reducing energy losses from PDUs (Power Distribution Units), Consolidating lightly Used Servers, Implementing Efficient Data Storage Measures – A variety of tools and technologies are available to help reduce the amount of data you store, and to store what you need more efficiently. Deduplication software, for example, can reduce the amount of data stored at many organizations by more than 95%.
Web Werks’ continuous focus on sustainability attracts more customers to colocating their IT infrastructure in our data centers. The company shares operational expertise for building data centers with clean energy for energy-efficient cooling systems. We are committing to using 100% renewable energy and efficient solutions. Web Werks data centers are carbon neutral contributing towards Global Go-Green concepts. We run efficient PUE, which is 1.66 using efficient technology and plan to have captive solar power as a renewable energy source to be Green, shares Nikhil.
The adoption of artificial intelligence has improved lifestyle, undoubtedly. How AI adoption can reinforce toward offering customers the best-in-class infrastructure, end-to-end security, and data center solutions?
While emphasizing a report by Gartner, which says that by 2020, more than 30% of data centers that don’t implement AI or Machine Learning will cease to function, Jeremy says, by utilizing AI, patterns can be detected to learn from past data and distribute workloads across peak periods more efficiently. As well as optimizing disk utilization, server capacity, and network bandwidth, they also enhance efficiency. By analysing data from multiple sources and devising response measures, AI can integrate with current Security Incidents and Event Management (SIEM) systems. By using AI-based systems, data center administrators can be more aware of the malicious traffic from false positives, thus reducing cyber security risks.
Despite bringing digital revolution, data centers are not without problems. According to Gartner analyst Dave Cappuccio, 80% of enterprises will shut down their traditional data centers by 2025. The figures are competitive considering the host of problems faced by traditional data centers like lack of readiness to upgrade, infrastructure challenges, environmental issues and more. And the remedy for this is leveraging artificial intelligence to enhance the data center functions and infrastructure, says Abhinav.
As per a Forbes Insights report, in early 2020, artificial intelligence is poised to have a tremendous impact on data center management, productivity, and infrastructure. Meanwhile, its technologies continue to offer data centers’ potential solutions to improve operations over the long term. In return data centers enabled by accelerated computing capabilities of AI, would be able to process AI workloads more efficiently, he adds.
Shailendra feels that organizations can deploy AI in the data center for data security. Data centers must identify and assess all mission critical assets and risks. Once they have been identified it will be far easier to formulate a business continuity plan with specific goals in mind. Server load balancing and link load balancing are two strategies that may be used to help prevent the loss of data from an overload or outage in a data center.
The advents of AI, ML, IoT and Data Analytics have taken hold of all global businesses and industries. Business processes and operations have undergone a radical digital transformation with these technologies. The rise of AI has significantly impacted industries across such as BFSI, Power & Infrastructure, security solutions, real estate, manufacturing and data centers amongst others, shares Ankit.
He also says that the rise of artificial intelligence is affecting global Data Centers in two ways:
- AI applications need the global Data Centers to provide the necessary computational power.
- AI applications are being developed to improve the Data Centers themselves.
AI assists organisations in efficiently automating and managing their workloads. In addition to analysing past data and goal setting, patterns arising from the use of AI also help enhance the distribution of workloads across peak periods. Organisations can also use them for better disk utilisation, server capacity, and network bandwidth. AI can complement current Security Incidents and Event Management (SIEM) systems by analysing incidents and inputs from multiple systems and devising an appropriate incident response system. AI-based technologies also aid energy efficiency through superior optimisations of heating and cooling systems, minimising electricity costs. It can also be used to detect power-hungry applications or servers, and recommend ways to move specific workloads to more efficient ones. AI systems can help organisations proactively manage the health of their IT infrastructures such as storage, servers, or networking equipment, says Nikhil.
Ethernet is constantly evolving, adapting to the needs of the networking world and addressing the requirements of both operators and end-users, while making sure that the resulting technology is cost-efficient, reliable, and operates in a plug and play manner. The daunting growth of the number of permanent or nomadic end-stations connected to the network (e.g., computer terminals, mobile devices, automated devices generating machine-to-machine traffic) has led to explosive growth in the volume of information exchanged at all levels of the networking infrastructure, shares Abhinav.
Ethernet is also venturing into brand-new application areas and adding support for synchronization protocols. Potentially, Ethernet could become the de facto standard for in-vehicle data networks, providing a common transport platform for control and multimedia applications, he adds.
Ankit says, as Data Centers virtualize more of their servers and storage, the need for speedy network connections increases. But the journey from 10 Gigabit Ethernet to 40 Gigabit Ethernet has been less than promising. Today, even fortune 500 IT companies are wary of going the 40 GbE way and are sticking with the status quo and are taking their time in upgrading their connections.
He also says, lack of wiring infrastructure where the Ethernet switches are placed, slower adoption of the 10 GbE (mostly still on servers) and abundance of a copper-based gigabit network connections have fuelled the delay of the 40 – Gigabit Data Centers. Despite these challenges, the 40 GbE has found its way to make itself relevant especially today in the Data Center industry with high-density virtualized servers, hyper-scalability models requiring huge bandwidths and hardware capabilities to deliver the lowest latency and highest performance.
In a country like India, where there is a huge potential for Data Center investment and development, with the likes of Google, Amazon, Cisco, Microsoft investing in Hyper-scalable models of Data Centers, the era of 40 GbE is rather closer than we thought, says Ankit.
Nikhil mentioned, to cost-effectively meet the exponential rise in demand as well as address requirements arising out of high-bandwidth applications of the future, data center cabling systems need a balance of both copper and fiber. With digital transformations and expeditiously developing applications and technologies, the speed and volume of traffic on data center networks have increased tremendously. It thus becomes critical to ensure that cabling solutions are designed to serve these ever-rising transmission rates particularly in the case of bandwidth-intensive applications. Maximising interoperability demands high-performance networks to support a migration path for 10/40/50/100 gigabit networks.
Trends in Data Center market in 2022
According to Synergy Research, the data center market in India is expected to exceed US$2 billion in 2025 and grow at 15% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2020-2025, the second highest rate in the world. The analyst firm also predicts that the country will become the eighth largest data center market in the world in 2021.
India has immense opportunity for continued penetration of internet infrastructure and a focus on accelerating cloud adoption. In addition to government-led initiatives and incentives, India is benefitting from local influences as well as upcoming data sovereignty laws. The demand for data center infrastructure in India is growing exponentially, shares Jeremy.
At Equinix, we assist digital leaders to connect and interconnect their digital infrastructure by making use of the best transformational technologies across all layers of our Platform Equinix® stack — data centers, interconnection, and bare metal — and to do so sustainably. We ensure that our customers have access to end-to-end orchestration of these capabilities at software speed by leveraging APIs, open-source tools, and cloud-native technologies to stay ahead of tomorrow, today, he also says.
Abhinav share the following trends that are all set to make its mark in the data center market India in 2022:
- Cloud Adoption taking precedence – According to research, almost two-thirds of enterprise-sized firms have a strategy or pilot program for hybrid cloud in place, and over 80 percent of enterprises deploy workloads using a mix of cloud We are seeing the trend where large enterprises are now finding a distinct place for colocation in their digital strategy outside their own premises, where they are creating their own private cloud.
- Enterprise Connectivity- Connectivity is one of the most critical components of a hybrid strategy. To maintain the flow of business, data must move rapidly, cost-effectively, and securely. Data center providers are typically well equipped to offer clients a large choice of Internet Service Providers, distributed locations and uninterrupted
- IOT and Edge Computing- From sensors used in industrial manufacturing to driverless vehicles, to smart cities and smart building controls, IoT is creating significant new demands on IT infrastructure giving rise to the concept of edge Edge computing is essentially a “mesh network of micro data centers that process or store critical data locally and push all received data to a central data center or cloud storage repository, in a footprint of less than 100 square feet.”
- Artificial Intelligence- According to industry analyst firm Forrester Research 70% of enterprises expect to implement AI this year and 20% said they would deploy AI to make decisions. AI and machine learning have been forecasted to be game changers for the next
- High Performance Computing– Connected devices now far exceed the number of humans on this planet, linking us to the world through billions of things that sense, think, and act across a global network. 19 High performance computing (HPC) is considered critical by world governments for national security, scientific leadership and economic prosperity .
Whereas Shailendra feels that a few big trends that will certainly create an impact in the India DC market are –
Robotics and Automation –Robotics and automation is gaining more traction as pandemic has accelerated the need to make systems less reliant on human intervention. Edge Computing –As more people adopt smart technologies in their homes and businesses, the demand for edge computing will grow and so will edge data centers. In fact, the IoT market is expected to grow by over $50 billion by 2022. With that kind of growth, and that kind of demand for reliability, speed, and connectivity, the edge market will need to grow. Sustainability and Green DCs – The massive energy footprint of cloud computing enables the data center industry to drive a global shift to renewably-powered business. Customers and stakeholders are demanding accountability on climate impact, creating a compelling business incentive to embrace sustainability.
From a technology standpoint, the future is going to be that of hyper-scalable and edge-technology. One of the outcomes of this pandemic was the acceleration of growth and digital transformation journey for several companies. This translates to a huge demand in the Data Center space, so much so that it is estimated that the Data Center IP traffic will reach 20.6 ZB at the end of 2021. A huge increase in the demand for colocation and hyper-scale vendors predominantly in Europe, Asia-Pacific, South-East Asia regions. Furthermore, a significant part of the Data Center growth will be attributed to the healthcare and pharma sectors. Many hospitals, research facilities, pharma companies during the pandemic have already initiated their digital journey and taking significant steps in requiring an overhaul in their IT infrastructure, elaborates Ankit.
India is thus experiencing a huge demand for cloud services in comparison to the other APAC countries. The government is encouraging investments in the Indian data center industry. In 2020, the data traffic in India grew by 36% year-over-year primarily due to a rise in 4G data consumption as 4G subscribers surpassed 700 million with 100 million new additions during 2020. According to reports by Crisil, growing at a CAGR of 21%, the market is expected to reach 1,100–1,200 MW from the current 360 MW by 2025. Furthermore, the Indian government aims to develop cable landing and submarine cables and low earth orbit satellites to improve connectivity and reduce latency across the country, particularly addressing the needs of Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, feels Nikhil.
There is no doubt that data center is playing a huge role. During pandemic the role of data center has expanded its reach to serve the country. The increasing demand of digital usages has made it possible. Investors and global data center players increased their commitment during the last six months in the Indian market by announcing joint ventures to meet expected demand. So, the growth of data center is going to be huge in coming time.