AI takes data centre operations to new heights

In today’s data-intensive world, data centres play an integral role in ensuring mission-critical IT solutions run smoothly and efficiently. With the recent explosion in cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), it is now more critical than ever that data centre operators ensure their services are reliable and scalable to keep up with ever-increasing customer demand. The smallest of downtime can be catastrophic for modern businesses so operators must ensure that all potential issues are resolved swiftly and proactively.

Yet some data centre providers are struggling in silence when it comes to providing the required services. A large part of this is due to the fact that many data centre facilities were simply not designed to support the level of data storage and use we see today. These data centres were built for a far simpler and less data-intensive time.

For this reason, data centre operators are increasingly on the look-out for ways to simplify and enhance their operations in order to boost network efficiencies and improve the reliability of their services. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI), an approach that has proven to be widely beneficial in elevating the many processes within modern data centre facilities.

Smart technology to lead the way

Many data centres still retain dated practices that are from a bygone age. Traditionally, data centre operations teams are on perpetual high alert for faults in facility infrastructure. For example, an overheating server from a malfunctioning cooling unit can have very serious consequences for customers if the problem isn’t immediately solved. Since no-one can tell precisely when a component will fail, this requires data centre engineers on constant standby, either in the data centre itself or on-call.

Niclas Sanfridsson, CEO, Colt DCS

Compare this to far simpler machines such as automobiles or assembly lines, which often have thousands of sensors constantly monitoring every component involved in operation. To use an everyday example, sensors in your car provide real-time insight into problems or failures. When an issue is detected by a sensor, the driver is alerted by a warning light and in modern connected cars, even local dealerships may be alerted when the car senses a part is exceeding tolerances.

To ensure reliability, today’s data centres must employ the same technology to monitor their vast and complex network infrastructure. With the increased visibility afforded by sensors, AI can monitor an entire data centre, including physical and virtual infrastructure, for anomalies 24/7. If a sensor detects that an area of infrastructure may be at risk of failure, an alert will be sent to the operator. This affords valuable time for the engineers, who can then investigate the issue before any failure can occur. If there is an issue, it can therefore be solved proactively minimising the potential for disruption or downtime.

More efficient energy consumption

Data centres are invisible to the average internet user, who has no idea of the huge amount of energy that they consume. In fact, researchers estimate that data centres will account for a fifth of the world’s electricity consumption by 2025. With the current climate in mind, data centre operators have an obligation to their customers – and, of course, the planet – to manage their energy usage efficiently. Operators must implement solutions that ensure reductions in running costs whilst meeting targets for reduced carbon footprint.

When it comes to energy efficiency, artificial intelligence has a critical role to play. AI can be implemented to continuously monitor and evaluate energy usage, ensuring that energy is being distributed and recycled in the most efficient manner possible. Take heat recycling for example; temperature control is one of the most energy intensive elements of day-to-day data centre operations and even the smallest of efficiencies in cooling systems can have a considerable impact on overall energy consumption, minimising the facility’s carbon footprint.

Keeping facilities smart and secure

Data centres are some of the most secure places on the planet, but they are not invincible. In both physical and virtual spaces, AI is an invaluable weapon in protecting an organisation’s data. For example, intelligent CCTV can be implemented to track every person on the data centre premises, automatically detecting suspicious behaviour and alerting security if required. This improves physical security around the perimeter as well as within the data centre itself and can help spot anomalies that could be missed by security teams.

On the virtual side, AI and machine learning are crucial for identifying and neutralising new types of malware. The modern threat landscape is highly complex and teeming with threats that are constantly evolving to evade traditional signature recognition-based cybersecurity systems. Further, AI can not only identify suspicious data traffic, but it can also suggest solutions that prevent malicious activities from occurring in the future, allowing cybersecurity teams to anticipate threats before they can occur.

The future is AI

The potential of AI is nearly limitless, and we’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to the benefits it may bring. As AI technology continues to be developed and improved, it is important to understand that the industry has only just begun to see the benefits.

In an industry where downtime is money lost, AI and machine learning have a massive role to play in bringing down the time taken to identify and resolve infrastructure issues. It is a vital tool for identifying faults and preventing issues from compounding into service disruption.

AI also helps centres to operate as efficiently as possible. This allows operators to meet challenging service requirements and bring down associated costs. For customers, this means better value for money and more reliable services.

As automation continues to evolve and improve, we expect to see more benefits arise from AI adoption in data centre operations. The future of the industry is looking smarter and more efficient than ever.


Niclas Sanfridsson



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