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The anticipation of 5G wireless technology has increased every year since the release of 4G. The demand for streaming services, artificial intelligence and other bandwidth-heavy applications has gone up significantly, which is driving demand for faster speeds and less latency—which all point to the data center.

5G technology could bring a possible latency, new technologies such as augmented reality, autonomous driving cars, and the explosion of IoT will benefit from the higher speeds and lower latency of 5G technology.

However, what’s the cost of this improvement in technology? From an end user’s experience, thought is rarely given to the infrastructure and the work that’s done behind the scenes, or on the back-end of their endpoint’s connection to the Internet. From a data center perspective, how will 5G affect the day in and day out operations and planning that go into managing and maintaining a data center?

While the thought of increased speeds, extremely low latency and IoT expansion is exciting, it’s important to take a holistic approach to how 5G technology will impact the data center, and those that support it.

The Data Center Must Evolve to “Many-To-One”

4G technology is geared toward a “one-to-one” methodology. When user’s endpoint device is connected to a tower, it will transition to the next nearest tower as their location changes. This provides the user with the experience they would expect from 4G connections.

5G connectivity will introduce the idea of “many-to-one” methodology as it relates to wireless connectivity. The user’s endpoint device will need to communicate with many towers or antennas at the same time in order to deliver higher speeds and lower latency. This will require more towers and antennas, which will require more data centers.

The construction of an edge data center will put the user’s data much closer and will process it locally to provide the expected 5G high speed/low latency experience. This process circumvents the need for the user’s data to traverse the cloud and back. This will help for use cases like streaming services.

The way in which we build these new data centers and retrofit the old ones will also need to adapt to meet the demands of 5G. For example, the “Three Musketeers” of the data center — power, space and cooling — will need to be revamped. 5G networks could demand up to 100x more resources than the typical 4G network.

Overall, more resources mean more equipment, power and space requirements. In order to meet the specifications of a 5G ready data center, environmental impact needs to be analyzed. The increase in resources and requirements to build and/or retrofit a data center for 5G readiness could have a negative impact on emissions and carbon footprint.

While most data centers do their due diligence in creating an environmentally friendly building, architects today will need to rely heavily on environmental efficiency when building the data center of tomorrow.

Correlata CorreAssess is leading the charge to help businesses create efficient data centers while identifying how to deploy green initiatives. 

Look for Part Two: How 5G Will Change the Data Centers on April 11, 2019

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While technologies like cloud computing, machine learning, AI, and big data appear to get all the attention these days, it’s data centers that make it all possible.

Whether you’re a consumer or a business, data centers support and enable everything that you do on a moment-to-moment basis, whether it’s talking to colleagues, streaming a video, buying gifts, or catching the train, technology has interwoven itself into every aspect of our daily lives, and none of it would be possible without the data center concept.

Even in this brave new world where almost every organization is exploring and evaluating the potential of the cloud, the data center is still essential – after all, all your application workloads, test environments and corporate files need to live somewhere; cloud computing means you don’t have to maintain your own data center, but it doesn’t negate the need for one altogether.

In fact, the advent of widespread cloud means that businesses need to be more concerned than ever about the state of the data center they’re using, whether it’s theirs or their cloud provider’s and fully assess its resources. Organizations using their own on-premise infrastructure need to ensure that their hardware is capable of keeping up with their cloud-hosted capabilities, while those in the cloud should be using the increased freedom that entails to demand the very best from their cloud partners.

As any IT veteran knows, it’s not about how many racks you have, but what’s inside them – and it comes down to more than core counts and clock speeds. Faster components and higher capacities are all well and good, but the real heart of data center transformation is ensuring that all the constituent elements of your data center are working together in harmony and only Correlata’s CorreAssess can evaluate this.

The pace of modern business is increasing by the day, and in a mobile-focused, software-driven economy, split-second advantages can mean the difference between failure and success. To keep up with this rapid pace of change, organizations are increasingly turning to the powerful combination of data analytics and machine learning; using advanced AI to rapidly sort through the vast corpuses of information they generate on a daily basis and generate actionable business insights.

This strategy can be a real advantage for business agility, but the downside is that it can put a huge strain on an under-equipped data center. 

Data-driven analytics aren’t the only way that our use of data centers are evolving, though.

One of the more interesting recent developments in enterprise IT has been the concept of ‘edge computing’ – the concept of de-centralized data centers. This involves moving computational power away from the bulk of your IT system and putting it at the edge of your network, closer to where your data is collected.

This allows organizations to reduce the amount of time and bandwidth they spend on moving data between their data center and their endpoints. It’s commonly used in remote locations like oil rigs, for example, where internet connections can be expensive and difficult to maintain.

There has also been an increased focus on customer experience with outward-facing applications, and on the direct impact of poor customer experience on corporate reputation. This outward focus is causing many organizations to rethink placement of certain applications based on network latency, customer population clusters and geopolitical limitations (for example, the EU’s GDPR or regulatory restrictions).”

So what does the future of the data center look like?

Despite the growing appeal of cloud computing, the data center itself isn’t going away any time soon. In fact, it’s evolving, becoming more powerful and versatile than ever, as organizations demand the ability to run real-time analytics workloads and advanced machine learning algorithms.

Antiquity may have shown that the cloud may be King, but the data center is most definitely the power behind the throne.

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