Thought Leadership and Insight from Eaton

Dennis O’Sullivan

For this edition, Datacloud spoke to Dennis O’Sullivan Data Center Segment Lead – Eaton Electrical - Europe, Middle East and Africa Region

Datacloud: What do you see for the future of the industry?
With the advent of the IoT age, we can see a substantial increase in the sheer volume of data being created. Not only must we increase data management capabilities in order to utilize the data created, we must also adapt the overall data center management method. Focusing purely on how to best utilize the rivers of data as a result of IoT would be short-sighted. There is a definite need to change the overall management of the data center so that the storage and processing of this data can be efficiently managed. In its true form, the basic principles around the structure of the data center will not change. The goal of supporting the data applications through environmentally controlled and redundant powered systems, using redundant network paths will remain the same. However these supporting systems will be highly automated responding to the demand placed on the data center. We’ve all seen the results Google achieved by pointing their Deep Mind AI machine learning at their data center infrastructure. This shift in the management and control in the data center, moving from human managed and controlled environments to complex computing machine learning environments, results in a greater deal of accuracy and intricate control in the management of data center infrastructure in balance to the application layer. This is all fine if you have the funding to pay for these capabilities, and expertise to manage the security layers required to protect this kind of installation. There is a clear need for an alternative, what is required is for standalone systems to be able to respond autonomously without any command and control software, condition-based self-sensing so to speak, responding near instantly to the fluctuating demands placed on each system in the data center.

Datacloud: What is the biggest opportunity in the industry today?
The biggest opportunity in the industry today is the digitisation of business and services with more and more businesses choosing to make the move into cloud services. It’s an area where we are already seeing the growth in cloud service provider footprint. This can only increase the requirement for data centers to properly support this shift. However, if we now take into consideration that any business storing personal data will be subject to necessary demands for GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Meaning data sovereignty in a particular country, or just purely for the treatment and storage of personal data in a wider geographical region, general data protection regulation will have a definite bearing on where and how data can be stored, and the location of where these data centers will have to be established. The requirement to match the demands placed on data storage and treatment, will have a definite knock-on effect on the number of localised data centers required in country or region.

Datacloud: What's one of your goals for the next year and how do you expect to achieve it?
To position Eaton as trusted partner that can provide the engineering skill, products and service expertise with a focus on lowering costs, reducing risk and safeguarding equipment and personnel. Regardless of the customer’s business, or the data center size – we make what matters work. To deliver the message, we will focus on telling our data center story.

Datacloud: What do you think matters most in the development of the industry and its effect on business and society?
The massive jump in social digital habits, coupled with a definite shift towards digitisation of business, are factors in driving the growth in reliance on the data center. With this growing demand in new data centres across the globe, there is an opportunity for businesses to invest in smart, intelligent and energy-efficient infrastructure that is less impactful on the environment. With the growth predicted in this area there is a need for the data center to become more socially and environmentally beneficial. Examples such as, reuse of waste heat energy to support local environment be that through district heating, in greenhouses for food growth, or even using the waste heat to help reduce the amount of energy required in the desalination process for seawater usage on the land in irrigation. Other uses for the data center could be using the stored energy within the redundant power systems for the purpose of relieving strain on the local grid through rebalancing.

The data center industry, in comparison to other power reliant industries, is relatively young, however through the natural innovative DNA that exists in this industry we have an opportunity to grow up and mature in how we responsibly use that energy in a far more environmentally conscious and economically focused manner. Given the inexorable requirement for data centers in our day-to-day lives, and how more dependant we will become on the services stemming from them, there is need to find more meaningful ways of incorporating the data center into our immediate environment.

Eaton will be at the Datacloud Europe 2017 congress in Monaco June 6-8th. Meet them there