Big Data and the Internet of Things are two trends that are expected to increase the demand placed on data centre exponentially. They represent two different sectors of industry, with large enterprises relying on Big Data to help them with their business decisions, and consumers relying on the IoT to produce devices that help them to simplify everyday tasks. However, they have one thing common: they are both going to drive up the demand placed on data centre infrastructures and the hardware they host. Here we will take a look at the impact we can expect Big Data and the IoT to have on data centres.
More hardware will be required
Devices that can be classed as part of the IoT have a variety of purposes, but many have one thing in common – rather than processing inputs themselves or hosting data locally, they rely on the cloud for this.
The hardware contained in many youth devices is a relatively low specification and limited by today’s standards and instead the hardware that you use is simply a front end for a service that is otherwise web-based. If we take Siri on Apple’s mobile devices as an example, rather than the processing of Siri commands taking place on the device itself, your recorded commands are sent off to the cloud, which could be hosted in a data centre on the other side of the world, where they are processed and commands that iOS software can understand are sent back so that the intended action can be performed.
One device is unlikely to produce much traffic – but if you’ve got millions of devices being used all the time, then as a CIO it will be your responsibility to scale up the amount and power of the hardware to cope with demand.
Similarly, Big Data needs to be processed somehow if it is to be turned into something that can produce meaningful results. Huge amounts of computing power are usually called upon for the processing of data, and of course this computing power has to be hosted somewhere. Large farms of servers provides the power and these operate in a cluster so that Big Data can be processed efficiently. With more than a single server being required for this one purpose, this is another area that we can expect to contribute to the growth in demand for hardware.
Greater demand for utilities
More hardware inevitably means that more power will be used and with so many devices contacting the data centre at all hours, huge amounts of bandwidth are going to be necessary to make sure that all of these requests and be served.
One of the key questions that needs to be put to data centre operators today is about how they’re going to be powering their data centres in the future. Even though we just about have enough electricity to power our data centres in the present moment, the future could represent a challenge as the issues of greater demand for electricity and a lack of new power stations coming online converge. The truth is that the power grid we take for granted right now is questionable at best; even though many data centres rely on multiple power feeds, these are still susceptible to natural events and right now may not even have the capacity to cope with the demand expected in future.
A recent survey conducted by InformationWeek suggested that 68% of respondents were expecting demand from WAN (Wide Area Network) traffic to increase over the next 12 months however, only 15% of respondents have actively increased their capacity. If traffic is increasing, but many carriers are failing to increase capacity sufficiently, then there is the potential for a bandwidth deficit that could widen over the next decade.