ABB’s Dave Sterlace examines the case for digitalisation by exploring how the IT sector can benefit from greater automation to enhance business efficiency and help navigate the data highway.
With over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day, across 30 billion+ connected devices, we are living in a world that is driven by data. With the global rollout of 5G, the growth of digital data is likely to be placed into overdrive with firms such as Cisco predicting that we will soon enter the “mobile zettabyte era”.
Traditional data centre environments and their operators are under constant pressure, as demand grows for greater flexibility, security and visibility with many data centres operating across several geographic borders within different time zones and territories.
As traditional analogue electrical systems come under increasing strain, together with the growth of robotics and greater integration of AI (Artificial Intelligence), complexities for IT managers and consultants become ever more intricate.
Yet, data centre operators and managers hold the key to helping their businesses and corporations become more efficient by leveraging and analysing the data they hold – processing and managing it to make better informed business decisions.
But how should businesses use their data centres to shape growth and how can data centre operators breakdown the vast amount of data and become more automated?
Data centres: The incubator of growth
Undoubtedly, we are connecting more devices than ever before at the enterprise level – and those devices are providing more data.
The data helps us identify how we can improve, while the software and digital automation tools also gives us flexibility – to control, scale, automate, model, simulate, as well as analyse disparate systems.
Data centres present an ideal incubator for IoT exploration to help enterprise systems harness and understand how hardware and operational resources are being utilised through digitalisation and automation platforms.
Within our sector there are three key trends driving demand for a data centre digital infrastructure:
- The first is fleet management and the need to managemany data centres operating across several geographic borders within different time zones and territories. As demand grows for greater flexibility, security and visibility, traditional data centre environments and operators are under constant pressure.
- The second is speed and we all know that in today’s market, time is money. So, the need to fast track more projects quickly becomes ever critical.
- And finally, the demand for greater efficiency at a financial level with less wastage, at an operational, energy and personnel level.
Ericsson, one of the world’s largest telecommunications network equipment suppliers, chose ABB to orchestrate its Global Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Centre in Rosersberg, Sweden.
Spanning 20,000 square meters, the Global ICT Centre is of critical importance to Ericsson, enabling its engineers around the world, and around the clock, to use the facility remotely to test products and services, before releasing them to clients, using digitalisation and automation tools.
ABB’s technology enabled Ericsson to automate and control operations not only across hardware and software systems, but also across power, cooling and energy management systems.
Through this digital, central nervous system of data centre automation, all three of the centres’ control systems – the Building Management System (BMS), smart Power Management System (PMS) with automated functions and Energy Management System (EMS) – are handled through a single point of control.
Thanks to ABB, the infrastructure is now integrated into one system offering increased monitoring and control of all equipment across the whole site. This has helped the Global ICT Centre achieve energy savings, while reducing operational and capital spending.
Digital communication and peer-to-peer control reduces the need for multiple, linear control layers, from circuit breakers through to the switchgear and Building Management Systems (BMS) towards the Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) modules, moving up the hierarchy.
Digitalisation eases pressure on the hierarchy. It provides north to south, east to west directional controls and communications between peer-to-peer components.
This peer-to-peer architecture of digital systems provides data centre managers and operators access to best practice benchmarking and deeper, granular visibility of cross-industry data.
With better insight into disparate systems, these scalable systems, when coupled with advanced power analytics, intelligent alarm and event handling, deliver greater operational transparency at both device and enterprise level. Potential issues are identified and resolved before they can cause significant damage or downtime.
The truth is that digitalisation will transform how we operate our digital enterprises.Through cconnectivity and integration, collaboration and control, analytics and closed loops with actions based on knowledge from collected data sources we can use, harness and automate data to build viable business cases for IoT and use the results to shape our corporations, actions and long-term vision.