“Digital transformation” in the data center has achieved
buzzword status among media and marketers everywhere, but there are real
benefits to be gained from embracing the migration from manual, analog
information systems to automated digital ones.
There will be more demand for digital transformation
initiatives than ever before in 2019 because CEOs are finally realizing that
for their companies to stay relevant, their businesses need to transform. There
are five technologies that will continue to significantly impact data centers in
5G wireless technology delivers significantly higher data
rates and significantly more data in many more places. Mobile workforces, from
sales teams to delivery, maintenance and repair organizations, will all use
more sophisticated applications that rely on faster and more reliable data
transfers. And even employees at the office will use 5G services to rely even
more heavily on their phones and other portable devices.
While widespread deployment of 5G isn’t happening for at
least a few years, data centers in 2019 have to prepare for it. Infrastructure
must evolve to support higher wireless bandwidth and more ubiquitous data usage.
Companies and building owners are looking beyond just Wi-Fi to enable strong
and consistent in-building mobile wireless services with distributed antenna
systems (DAS). In the outdoor environment, service providers are upgrading and
expanding their fiber networks to carry wireless data back to the core of the
network, or in many cases, to edge data centers. Technology like C-RAN (Cloud
Radio Access Networks or Centralized Radio Access Networks) and edge computing
will be implemented in 2019 to support 5G wireless services.
One of the 5G use cases is to specifically support IoT applications. As companies deploy thousands or millions of
wired and wireless sensors that produce large amounts of raw data, this data is
turned into useful information providing value for the user. The processing of the data is being placed
closer to the source to reduce the communication requirements.
To other emerging industrial IoT applications where
production processes are controlled in real-time, the network infrastructure
needs to have very low predictable latency and very high reliability. In 2019,
data center operators will use augmenting intelligence in autonomous systems to
make use of expanded peer to peer communications at the edge, which is new to
5G networks. Fiber optic infrastructure will provide reliable low-cost
transmission capacity for edge data centers while placing edge data centers
close to the IoT sensors and actuators will reduce transmission latency and
CLICK TO TWEET: CommScope previews 5 technologies that will impact the data center in 2019.
Augmented reality (AR) is the use of a device like a cell
phone to display relevant data while the user is watching/doing something live.
This year has seen an increase in AR as technicians hold phones while repairing
a product to see a schematic of the product with instructions about how to make
the repair. On the other hand, virtual reality (VR) is a complete immersion in
a virtual world through the use of an audiovisual headset. For example, remote
training classes are using VR headsets to learn production procedures before
ever setting foot in a manufacturing facility.
While AR can be supported with today’s networks because the
data is often downloaded to a handheld device, VR will require real-time video
over an Internet communications link. If the connection is unreliable,
bandwidth is too low, or latency is too high, the experience is degraded and
may become useless. This new year will see higher-speed 5G networks designed to
support peer to peer traffic with a greatly enhanced capability to support data
generated at the end user device.
Blockchain is a decentralized database that is encoded,
unchangeable, consensual, verifiable and permanent. When people hear
“blockchain,” they think of Bitcoin, but there are myriad potential uses for
the technology. For logistics, blockchain is being used to establish trusted
information such as where a product was made, when it was made, when it
shipped, where it is located and arrived, and how it was used. It’s a shared public
encryption system in which distributed users participate in the operation of
Anything that requires or can leverage a distributed ledger
can benefit from blockchain. It can be applied whenever an exchange of
information needs to be recorded and verified, so it has the potential to
disrupt many organizational functions, from finance and procurement to manufacturing,
IT and sales. Because of the benefits, this technology will be increasingly
adopted in 2019, which will impact the data centers housing the distributed
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been slow to develop because
many people start with the idea of a machine thinking like a human. Another
reason AI has been slow to develop is that it has historically required massive
computers to support it. However, this is now changing. The cost of computing has greatly decreased; AI
algorithms have improved; edge computing has enabled AI to be deployed in new
ways. This will continue and be more dramatic in 2019.
Developing the models to run AI is done on the large central
cloud resources. This model is then
downloaded to the edge layer where the execution of AI provides benefits in
local time sensitive environments. The
edge AI analyzes and controls the local process (for e.g.) and then feeds back
information to the cloud helping to improve the higher layer model.
To prepare for a continued AI push in 2019, corporations will
adopt high-speed, low-latency networks coupled with high-end performance edge
compute. Layering AI between local and
centralized resources will combine the power of central cloud with the agility
and performance of edge-based AI.
It’s About the Infrastructure
All of the technologies discussed have been around but are
in the process of maturing and showing benefits that will bring about more
adoption in 2019 and will force a digital transformation in the data center. To
prepare for digital transformation, data center managers will implement advanced
network infrastructures to make their networks faster, more ubiquitous, more
reliable and more secure.