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The snowballing significance of data centres in industry and everyday life

They say money makes the world go round, but what about data centres? Rittal takes a look at why, these days, data centres really are a backbone to life as we know it.

Whether in private life or professional life, there are scarcely any activities or services that don’t depend on a data centre somewhere down the line.

Any malfunction in a data centre can of course have major repercussions and the seriousness of this risk has led to the development of a highly specialised industry concerned with their planning, implementation, smooth operation and service.

The future outlook for data centres continues to be one of growth. Analysts at 451 Research expect worldwide growth, in terms of space, of 2.8 percent per annum, until 2020.  

As a result, providers of colocation centres are experiencing annual growth of just under 10% in area over the same period, while hyperscale cloud data centres are expected to grow 20.3% per year.

Data is now common currency

The Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 and Big Data have also gained greater traction as data increasingly becomes the focus of value chains, as well as a requirement by many company departments for daily operations.

Employees are routinely using data analysis, for example, to optimise processes or as an important tool in new product development or for increasing customer satisfaction.

Indeed, assessing and understanding customers’ individual needs and preferences are the key to delivering the brand experience through highly personalised after-sales service and support.

Companies need up-to-date information in order to deliver customer engagement strategies that achieve competitive differentiation.

Data can help create a brand-specific identity even in markets where there are comparable products and services.

Energy consumption

By 2020, worldwide data centre electricity demand is expected to reach approximately 375 billion kWh per year.

Companies can start testing the energy efficiency of their data centres right now and it’s clear that using modern cooling systems can permanently reduce energy costs, thereby improving efficiency.

For example, it might make sense for operators to switch from a room cooling system to a direct expansion (DX)-based rack cooling system within small IT environments. Split climate control units with a coolant are mounted directly on, in or beside the rack.  

Manufacturers such as Rittal supply cooling units with inverter-controlled compressors that respond quickly and directly to load changes on the servers inside the rack.

Furthermore, data centre operators should always use fans powered by speed-controlled EC (electrically commutated) motors because they use less energy. 

Overall, energy costs can be minimised through targeted modernisation despite the expansion of a company’s IT environment, all of which will actively promote digital transformation.

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