Speed and Flexibility Will Shape the Future of Critical Infrastructure

Gary Niederpruem

Gary Niederpruem is Vice President, Global Marketing and Strategy for Vertiv.

We are fortunate to participate in an industry where there is a good blend of legacy assets operating in the same environment as new infrastructure.  Sometimes the merging of old and new creates conflicts, but most times it creates opportunities; and those companies that adapt by being focused on speed and flexibility will create the most opportunities for themselves and their customers.

Being several years into the cloud era of computing now, the pace of change is accelerating. The unrelenting growth in data driven by mobile devices, video streaming and IoT has greatly impacted the capacity needs of all data center segments. That has made speed and flexibility driving forces in infrastructure innovation.

In this post I want to dig a little deeper into two trends that have broad impact and are connected by a common strategy: using integration to achieve the speed and flexibility data center operators now require.

Today, organizations have multiple options in meeting their capacity demands. They can choose to locate resources on-premise, off-premise or access cloud services. Many are combining multiple approaches in a hybrid model, with capacity spread across on-premise, colocated, cloud and edge facilities. While availability is still the overriding consideration, speed has become almost as important. If you can’t meet the demand for capacity as it arises, you risk enabling competitors or missing opportunities for growth.

In that context, the two- to three-year development cycle for a new data center becomes difficult to justify. The traditional data center development process allows little parallel activity between discrete stages and is too dependent on time-consuming stick-build construction to erect the facility shell.

The industry has responded by re-engineering the traditional data center development process.

A more streamlined process has emerged in which entire facilities, including critical infrastructure, are designed as modules that can be prefabricated offsite and then shipped to the site for assembly and commissioning. This approach has cut development times by approximately 30 percent and resulted in tightly integrated, highly efficient data centers.

As more vendors develop the full suite of capabilities required to execute this approach — including critical infrastructure expertise, design and engineering and sophisticated project management — data center development times will shorten and the industry will become more agile in its ability to react to large shifts in demand.

A similar trend is occurring on the network edge. Distributed IT and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are pushing IT resources closer to users and industrial processes. While the data center remains core to delivering many applications and services, network closets and micro data centers are growing in number and importance.

Responding to these changes, organizations are turning to pre-configured micro data center solutions that support fast deployment, greater standardization and remote management across distributed locations. The range of pre-configured solutions now available, from fully integrated IT-ready racks and rows to containers, allows a pre-configured solution to be deployed for virtually any edge application.  Integration, standardization and modularity are becoming as important in distributed IT as they are in large data centers.

Infrastructure technologies and associated services continue to evolve to deliver the speed, flexibility and efficiency data center operators require today, whether they are developing a new hyperscale facility or moving IT resources closer to users and industrial processes. Integration, in processes and technology, is emerging as one of most significant trends shaping the infrastructure that will be deployed in 2017 and beyond.

Opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Penton.

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