The Modern Data Center – Challenges and Innovations: Part 4

As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to gain ground within the home and business enterprise, organizations will face new challenges with handling the resulting amounts of data. In the next edition of his blog series on the modern data center, Jim Young discusses the benefits of IoT and what can be done to better equip the data center for future needs.

ModernDataCenterThis blog is the next installment of a six-part series discussing data center challenges and solutions.

In my previous post, I mentioned that a strong network infrastructure is vital to positioning data centers for the Internet of Things (IoT) and global machine-to-machine communications. This is a profound evolution of data communications.

IoT will bring together mobile devices and applications within buildings, smart cities, the connected car and more by adding sensors that generate more data than ever. This data will then be analyzed and converted into information that positively affects people’s daily lives. Examples include energy efficiency through smart home monitoring and fewer traffic jams thanks to sensors on cars, traffic lights and buildings. Businesses will look to IoT for leaps in efficiency and competitive positioning.

All these sensors will produce massive amount of data. The sheer volume of data will have to be stored and processed somewhere, inevitably in a data center. In a recent report, Gartner mentioned that the influx of IoT data will bring new challenges in terms of security and storage management. Moving massive amounts of data over the wide area network is expensive and introduces latency. Cost and latency must be controlled to unlock the value of IoT applications.

Making the most of IoT

Commercially, IoT represents a huge opportunity, and the question lies in finding the best way to take these massive volumes of data and turn them into profit. In the retail sector, for example, the opportunity exists to interpret all the data, identify spending and buying patterns of consumers, and then make proactive purchase suggestions to customers.

However, this also poses the question of how the data is analyzed as it streams into the data center in real-time. This results in a potentially huge amount of data traffic to support. In order to accommodate these huge data flows, the data center will need to provide improved efficiency and capacity. There will need to be plenty of servers available to house the data and support all ongoing conversations. Proximity of the data center will reduce the cost and latency of the IoT and enable real time IoT applications. Modular data centers may provide excellent cost benefits when building data centers in close proximity to the people and infrastructure they serve.

Equipping the data center for IoT

One of CommScope’s fundamental objectives is to connect people with information. We’ve recently taken steps to reinvent the way fiber optic cabling works to enable more data capacity support over existing fiber networks. This is crucial to helping data center owners and operators meet data demand, both now and in the future. It supports a key strategic business goal, where operators invest in and improve their facilities to help improve profitability.

It’s also important to understand and keep up with the direction that governments are taking on this technology and what policies will be affected. In Singapore, for instance, recent legislation requires that organizations consider energy efficiency when building data centers. Current forecasts predict that seven percent of all energy in Singapore will be directed towards data centers in the future. This is indicative of a global move towards improving standards, and an indicator of a healthy and proactive industry.

Do you have a question about the challenges and innovations for the modern data center? Leave a comment below, and I will be sure to respond.