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The Next-Generation Data Center Is Here Today

Look to the future or your past will drag you down, says Huawei


The world is creating more data than ever and on an unimaginable scale. Data could reach an incredible 180ZB (one zettabyte = one million petabytes) by 2025, according to Gartner, the tech advisory and analyst firm.

The complexity of data is also growing apace. For example, millions of IoT nodes – “dedicated-function objects, such as vending machines, jet engines, connected cars and a myriad of other examples” writes Gartner – are capturing data that can be turned into actionable insights.

The data deluge is inevitable, but how can we harness this to enable digital transformation? Organisations need to be able to store, protect, analyse and migrate the data – and without breaking the bank. But to do this requires having the right technology infrastructure in place.

Conventional data centers can no longer handle the tremendous volumes. The low flexibility of the older compute, store and network components is a drag on performance and fast deployment. Older facilities also consume a lot more energy than modern counterparts, significantly driving up the costs of ownership as well as operations and maintenance. As the resources are on the edge of exhaustion, operations are jeopardized, while creating issues for security.

There comes a point when simple product refreshes drives operations into a cul-de-sac, leaving nimbler organisations to race ahead. So, instead of merely giving a technological boost in the existing facilities, it is worth exploring how to reinvent the data centre. Let’s take a look at some key concepts.

Next-generation data centre models bring new value

First of all, it is to create added value to the facilities. The operations become more complex amid the rapid pace of digitalization, posing further challenges in terms of the long construction period, high power consumption, and difficult O&M. Enterprises must find more business value by reducing the time to market, the total cost of ownership and boost the internal rate of return while establishing or renewing data center facilities.

The Abu Dhabi City Municipality (ADM) is a good example of creating added value. The public sector body has built an uptime TIER- IV Municipal Disaster Recovery Data Center. With a fully modular design construction time shortened and energy consumption is reduced, even in Abu Dhabi’s high-temperatures.

Second, the next generation data center should transform resources into productivity. All to often in legacy data centers, resources, such as space, energy and other related costs, are not fully utilized. But as the digital economy continues to drive forward, digital transformation is adding more metrics into competition across different industries. Therefore, the ability to utilise existing resources fully and monetize them for various organisations, has become a critical factor.

Some industries have adopted operational models that ensure the efficient use of available resources. For instance, Dawiyat in Saudi Arabia, the wholly-owned subsidiary of the Saudi Electricity Company, uses substation site resources and power pipes between substations to deploy data centers for Fibre To The Home (FTTH) deployment, bringing broadband services to the Kingdom’s citizens. The company deployed Huawei’s FusionDC1000A Prefabricated Modular Data Center Solution to help enable a quick services roll-out.

The 20 foot long container is separate from the IT equipment room and managed remotely from a single pane of glass. It can be positioned outdoors meaning Dawiyat can deploy communications devices anywhere and on demand. Furthermore, Fusion DC1000A also maximizes the reuse of existing resources. Dawiyat has been able to use substation site resources close to users, and power pipes between high-voltage and low-voltage substations, with the FusionDC1000A deployed in a small independent area outside the substation. This physically isolates it from the mains services of the electric power company.

Also, deploying FusionDC1000A is quick: the entire process, from hoisting and commissioning, only takes one day, reducing both the time needed and the costs by 85 per cent compared to some other solution.

Green is the new colour of data centers

Data center energy consumption, currently three per cent of global energy consumption, will triple over the next decade, Data Centre Knowledge predicted earlier this year.

How can energy-burning data center facilities address this hugely important issue? Keeping data facilities eco-friendly through outputting a low carbon footprint helps save the energy bills and reduce the total cost of ownership. However, to accomplish this takes more than improving individual parts of these facilities. What is required is a whole new infrastructure that changes entirely how operations should be to enable green data centers can operate. For example, BorsodChem, a leading plastic raw material and inorganic chemical producer in Hungary, has constructed an ultra-green data center to manage its business expansion and rapid data growth. With its new data center, BorsodChem has greatly reduced electricity consumption and this, in turn means lower overheads and greater savings, essentially increasing the competitiveness of the business.

Collaborations drive changes in mindset

Modern data centers should also drive shared success among enterprises, system integrators, vendors and other stakeholders. Business models are always changing along with technological advancements. Enterprises and organisations need to be agile enough to adopt the ever-changing environment through digital transformation.

This sounds like a familiar premise but every enterprise has its own requirements for the changes. The “one size fits all” mentality can no longer fulfill the needs. Therefore, information and communication technology (ICT) companies need to work together, with the involvement of partners and clients, for sustainment development.

Huawei refines data center facilities

These are the values that Huawei incorporates into next-generation data facilities, through its Smart Data Center Facilities solution. The ultimate goal is to keep it simple by ensuring zero wait time for rollout and zero waste of investment, making it smart with the elimination of manual O&M, turning it green with no waste of energy, and increasing its reliability with zero service interruption.

Huawei is building next-generation smart data centers that are:

  1. Simplified: reducing time-to-market from 20 months to nine months with prefabricated delivery, while ensuring on-demand deployment and phased investment through modular design;
  2. Smart: cutting O&M costs by 35%, and boosting resource utilization by 20% via digital monitoring, unattended inspection supported by AI, and intelligent and visualized resource movement;
  3. Reliable: operating with zero service interruption through AI-based fault prediction, as well as integrated software and hardware for comprehensive defense; and
  4. Green: enhancing the Power Usage Effectiveness by 8-15%, with the support of power system reaching 95-97% efficiency, and incredible cooling system.

To conclude, technological breakthrough helps drive digital transformation faster, and data centers are embracing a new role in the course, serving more than just a single point of data storage and processing but an essential part of the overall IT infrastructure. Huawei is looking for more than just innovation. It is indeed bringing these state-of-the-art technologies in actual practice to ensure modern data facilities are green and can create added-value to the economy while boosting productivity by cleverly utilizing resources. Ultimately, this will be shared success for the greater good of society.

What next?

Africans have been waiting for decades for mains electricity which the rich world takes for granted. Renewable energy technologies bring power to the people and by doing so, empower people themselves.

Huawei is in a good place to deliver on this dream. As part of the Digital Power business, Huawei FusionSolar team will be sharing more insights at the up-coming Huawei Tech Summit on 17-19 March 2021. Register with now.

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