The proliferation of data center sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT) are now emerging as mainstream data center trends. However, both of these trends took a long time to evolve. For many years, the cost of sensors, how to store the data, how to view the data, and how to determine who had access to the data were all barriers to acceptance.
Now that breakthroughs in connectivity, sensor technology and analytics have emerged, IoT and the related influx of “big data” has arrived. Annual global data center IP traffic will reach 15.3 zettabytes or 1.3 zettabytes per month by the end of 2020 (1 zettabyte = one sextillion or 1021 bytes). Global data center IP traffic will grow by a factor of 3x over the next 5 years, a 27% annual growth rate. IoT is also expanding at a volume of 8 million new “things” being connected to the internet each day.
These changes have forced many data center operators to rethink the way they manage across all layers of the IT stack. Why? Because the somewhat recent trend of centralizing applications to reduce costs is incompatible with IoT. Since so much of this new data is being generated out on “the edge,” organizations are being forced to aggregate data in multiple distributed micro data centers where initial processing can occur. Relevant data then needs to be forwarded to a central site for additional processing. Thus, data center operators, have to learn to manage more complex multi-site infrastructures as a homogeneous environment but still be able to monitor and control individual locations.
The challenges in this new, more complex ecosystem include the following:
- Gathering data from potentially thousands of different sites
- Monitoring across the three domains of power, IT and building (involving different protocols like TCP/IP, Modbus, and BACnet)
- Converting gathered data into meaningful insight
- Servicing end users by identifying a problem before resources get dispatched
All this extra work may seem overwhelming to most understaffed data center operations departments. Fortunately, new architectures have been designed and built in order to address this new IoT-influenced world of data center management complexity. One current example is Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxureTM IT, a platform that combines connected products, edge control and applications/analytics and services. Many years in the making, the EcoStruxure IT architecture allows data center operations staff to leverage this new advanced level of IoT-driven connectivity and to create business value from it. All that needs to be done, since the architecture is open and interoperable, is for data center staff to match the architecture to their business requirements.
EcoStruxure IT benefits explained
EcoStruxure IT can be delivered to end users through reference designs, pre-configured solutions, and prefabricated solutions. It can be configured as an entire data center or it can start out as an infrastructure product, like an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) that is managed through the cloud. It can be deployed all at once or it can be built in stages or pieces. EcoStruxure IT consists of three layers ̶ connected products, edge control, and analytics ̶ that are integrated to facilitate IoT connectivity and mobility, cloud analytics, and cybersecurity.
The scope of EcoStruxure IT extends beyond the traditional data center white space. Building elements (heating and cooling) and power elements (large power equipment in the electrical room) are also factored in.
Designing within the architecture is made simple through pre-configured validated reference designs. A library of pre-built EcoStruxure IT data center designs that feature different sizes, voltages, densities, and redundancy combinations are available to help customers jumpstart their data center modernization efforts.
The EcoStruxure IT architecture helps customers unlock the potential of sensors and data points within the IT environment to vastly improve management practices. By linking to more than 500 customers, over 1,000 data centers, 60,000 devices and more than 2 million sensors, EcoStruxure IT-generated operational data leverages global benchmarks and predictive insights to reduce downtime and increase performance. To learn more about the agility and efficiency benefits of EcoStruxure IT, access our latest educational video.