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Executive Interview
Top Data Center Predictions

What do you see ahead on areas such as public and private cloud deployments, green IT, high power/density deployments, networking and/or the future of cutting-edge DCs?

 

High power/density deployments

Land scarcity and high rents are driving ICT hubs in cities like Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo to plan their data center construction smarter and more cost effectively in terms of land use. Coupled with the fact that there is insatiable hunger for more robust IT hardware to meet computing loads, we have seen the overall power requirements increased accordingly in recent years.

 

While the onset of server and virtualization technology evolution could make the power density stay high up at 8-10Kva level, there is no doubt that rising power density would become one key trend to watch, which will further filter down to the need to better integrate energy-efficient technology in future data center designs for optimizing total cost of ownership in the long run.

 

Green IT

Power consumption accounts for a major operating expense (OPEX) of data centers today. But so many data centers in Asia Pacific are still hanging on to conventional thermal management and continuous cooling designs that are not as effective to drive TCO down. There is a pressing need to look into developing more cutting-edge energy efficient data center designs.

 

Compared to conventional down-flow cooling design, we expect the new front-flow cooling design (AHU) with hot aisle containment that we launched with Emerson Network Power in the new Financial Data Center Tower 2 (FDC2) in Hong Kong is an example of a game changer for data centers in years to come. AHU is designed to overcome heat-density limitation of traditional down-flow designs, while improving over air flow management, effectiveness and energy efficiency by over 20% compared to legacy cooling systems.

 

The technological leapfrog enables high-density data centers to lower the raised floor even further to house more racks, and ultimately TCO. Extra reliability and uptime guarantee are other major benefits not to be missed.

 

Networking

NTT Communications recognized “Sprawling ICT” as one of the biggest headaches for enterprises. Network complexity increases as business connectivity and communications are indispensable in the era of digital transformation, while largely affect other IT infrastructure and data center development. The pressure is now on service providers as they are still struggling to figure out how to reduce the “frictions” that stand in their way.

 

Despite NFV and SDN transformation in Asia, the region is still at a nascent stage and is part of the “Software-as-a-service” evolution. In the future, customers would be able to enjoy the agile and flexible cloud-based services and software that network service providers have to offer.

 

Imagine in the future, cloud-based network services that can be so easily deployed and managed through an integrated portal just like using an iPhone app. Immediate access to traffic reporting, outage information and trouble ticket resolutions are just a few clicks away, with customers instantly able to activate, configure and deactivate services to meet end users' needs wherever, whenever is needed.

 

How can businesses benefit from the above, or if they are still operation only on-premises infrastructure, how should they position themselves?

According to IDC, only 14% are “Digital Transformers” with world class products and services, and many still need to bridge the ICT infrastructure gap to ensure smooth transition. There is no question that the digital transformation will drive IT equipment technology continuously but they probably need to have a future-proof data center strategy to cope with the rampant growth of mobility, IoT, cloud and big data.

 

But bear in mind that hardware is refreshed every three to five years, which poses challenge for enterprises, big and small, on their financial and technical capabilities to keep up with the ever-changing business needs. The physical structure and supporting critical infrastructure needs to be flexible enough to remain technically viable and cost effective for 12-15 years or more.

 

Enterprise organizations can no longer afford the power density restrictions of older designs that represented the status quo of the past 10 years, much less the last 50 years.

 

Going forward they need to be able to deliver high availability and efficiency under virtually any operating conditions while lowering TCO. Ultimately, new high-density data centers must become as an extension of the evolving IT philosophy – in order to support change and not become a limiting factor of future innovation.

 

 

img_Taylor

NTT Com Asia

Taylor Man

CTO

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