IT infrastructure that’s agile – ITWeb

Denver Pillay, IT Account Manager, Rittal South Africa

Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, South African businesses were gearing up for the fourth industrial revolution and the required digitalisation. Workloads were increasingly moving to the cloud, and with greater demand for processing power came greater demand for data centres to accommodate the workload. Adding to this was the need for companies to manage their data in a manner that was compliant with regulations such as the local Protection of Personal Information Act and the General Data Protection Regulation of the EU. More recently, lockdown has accelerated this journey, says Denver Pillay, IT Account Manager at Rittal South Africa.

IT trends indicate that well be facing enormous challenges in the years to come. Digital twins, autonomous things, artificial intelligence, augmented analytics and smart cities are just a few of the technologies that will rely heavily on high-performance networks and powerful data centres.

Industry 4.0, the associated demand for edge computing and the ability to process big data are creating a need for the rapid deployment of IT infrastructure. Businesses are collecting tons of data from various sources, including their customers, which needs to be processed.

Digitalisation demands the continuous, fast supply of dedicated IT processing. All of this has led to demand for IT infrastructure thats scalable within a short time frame, user-friendly, accessible for technicians and allows more compute power to fit into a smaller footprint, says Pillay.

So what should customers look for when wanting to set up a data centre infrastructure? Pillay notes three characteristics:

1. Modularity

A modular IT infrastructure enables speedy set-up, explains Pillay. Companies are looking at collecting data quickly and efficiently. The faster that they can upscale their equipment, the faster they can start processing data, which in turn helps to drive sales and marketing initiatives. If you consider that it takes on average three months to set up IT infrastructure, thats a three-month delay in the gathering and processing of that data. Businesses require solutions that can be implemented much faster so that they can scale up and down quickly. Modularity is the solution here clients are able to pay as they grow, instead of having to fit out 20 racks at the outset, which means they arent laying out big amounts of capex up front.

2. Accessibility

Technicians wanting to carry out maintenance work in the data centre will find doors that open 180 degrees much more user-friendly, also offering better escape routes should they be required. The ability to remove doors without using tools saves them valuable time to work on the rack. Also, greater accessibility through the side panels will make it easier for technicians to access cables without dismantling the rack first.

3. Smaller physical footprint

IT infrastructure racks with greater load bearing capacity mean that fewer racks will be required, optimising space usage in the data centre. Having more capacity in the same space is invaluable to accommodate future demand for more infrastructure and computing power, says Pillay.

If you consider that the average rack supports 1 000kg of equipment, which is the equivalent of five servers, implementing a rack that can hold 1 500kgs offers the ability to load significantly more servers onto that rack. From a co-location point of view, it means being able to put more racks into a data centre, which makes solid economic sense.

What the future might hold.

Pillay says there are two ways to look at the future of IT infrastructure. First and foremost you have to think about the future of cloud computing, particularly where the focus is on hosting infrastructure at a cloud facility, which will result in more cloud hosting facility requirements. However, there is also legislation that requires businesses to host certain types of data on-premises. This means that the majority of data will be kept in the cloud, but therell be demand for edge data centres in the form of smart IT racks that have all of the capabilities of a data centre but in the form of just one or two racks.

Compliance with POPIA, GDPR and data protection legislation will create opportunities for edge computing and in turn for cloud hosting facilities. Greater demand means that hosting facilities will have to expand their capacity, but if they can do this quickly, and without expanding their physical footprint, they will benefit from a time and cost perspective," says Pillay.

Enterprises wanting to establish a co-location or hosted cloud facility should look for the following when designing their infrastructure, according to Pillay:

To find out more about how you can design an optimal space-saving data centre, click here.

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IT infrastructure that's agile - ITWeb

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