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Key trends & challenges in the global IT market

11 October 2019

The growth of artificial intelligence and analytics, digital twin, block-chain and edge are just a few trends that characterise the rapid developments within the IT technology. All of them will have a major impact on the network and the data centre market, reports Clive Partridge

Alongside comprehensive digitization, these technologies are now transforming every industry sector as well as our homes, so actually they criss-cross our whole society. As a result, they are driving the development of the next generation of data centre technology. Large data centres will continue to be dominant, but we expecting edge data centres to grow in number to deal with the flood of data created by these technologies.  

The future of cloud, edge & 5G technologies

The IoT and IIoT are going to change the IT landscape dramatically. By 2020, it’s expected that up to 43 billion devices will be connected to the IoT (Statista).

That amount of data cannot be handled by hyperscale/cloud data centres, which is why we’re expecting a significant growth in the number of edge data centres to cope with the volume of data, and to respond and react with very short latency.  

5G will be the second major game changer. The GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, has forecasted that there will be 1.2 billion 5G connections by 2025.    

It will have a major impact on private and industrial applications. 5G will be the core technology for autonomous driving cars, VR controlled robots and machines, as well as many other new emerging technologies. It’s this combination of extra bandwidth and performance (5G), plus the growth of edge data centres, which will be the foundation of digitization and new services.  

It is important to note, by the way, that edge data centres are always associated with a corresponding cloud; edge and cloud are interrelated technologies.  

Regional IT infrastructure assets

The greatest potential for the growth of IT infrastructure assets is likely to be in the North American, European and Asian region – in particular in China. In addition to the traditional hyperscale data centres, OCP technology will continue to grow in importance. In Europe, with the advancement of IIoT technology as part of Industry 4.0, the edge data centre segment should see above-average growth.

Rittal has already established itself in the hyperscale/colocation market, and has many well-known IT companies within its customer base. The Lefdal Mine Datacentre has shown how we can apply our experience to large-scale data centres.   Going forward, the focus will increasingly be on edge data centres in order to position Rittal as a driving force within this segment and it is one where we will continue to contribute our know-how and expertise in order to provide cross-industry solutions.

Clive Partridge, is Product Manager IT Infrastructure at Rittal.

Intelligent industrialisation of datacentres

Opened in May 2017 with the ambition to be the most cost-effective, secure, flexible, and green datacentre in Europe, the Lefdal Mine Datacentre (LMD) in Norway is powered exclusively by low-cost renewable energy. Rittal is a strategic and technology partner, and has provided the datacentre with its top-of-the-range, preconfigured, modular and scalable infrastructure.

Located on the west coast of Norway, the giant 120,000m2 datacentre operates exclusively on renewable energy and is cooled by water from the nearby fjord. The energy costs are correspondingly low, and the system achieves a PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) below 1.15.

The LMD is remarkably flexible in terms of available space and different technical solutions. The mountain halls have 16 metre-high ceilings and there is 120,000m2 of net whitespace plus 200+ MW IT capacity, delivered in container solutions or in traditional white space. The datacentre can therefore offer customers a “pay as you grow” model, and removes any risk of paying for unnecessary capacity.

Jørn Skaane, CEO at Lefdal Mine Datacentre, says: "We can accommodate any current white space requirement. Plus, our facility structure includes containers of different shapes and sizes along with customised power density, temperature and humidity control, and operational equipment.

"Our thanks must go to our technology partners Rittal and IBM for their contribution during the building of the datacentre, and for providing their global-leading solutions and services to our ecosystem."

In what has been dubbed “the fourth industrial revolution”, companies increasingly need access to flexible IT resources. To this end, Rittal’s standardised datacentre designs and containers enable the implementation of flexible, scalable IT infrastructures within just six weeks.