For this edition of the Clouds Ahead interview series, Datacloud Global spoke to Dean Boyle, CEO at EkkoSense, the leading M&E Capacity Planning, Monitoring and Simulation specialist for critical live environments.
Datacloud: What are some of the key trends and challenges in the current global market?
Today’s data centre infrastructures have never been under greater pressure. Whether it’s preparing for the anticipated data demands of 5G, processing the increased throughput from IoT-enabled networks, or simply ensuring 24x7 support for pervasive cloud applications, the demand for compute-intensive capabilities is accelerating. This kind of additional load demand increases pressure on data centre teams to run their sites more efficiently. At the same time, they’re also being asked to support continued corporate demands for energy-efficiency. These conflicting targets are inevitably challenging for operations teams, particularly as projected growth in IT services will place a continued focus on data centre energy consumption.
Datacloud: How do you think the future landscape of the cloud, edge and 5G technologies will look like?
At EkkoSense we believe there are multiple innovations that can generate real advantages for data centre operators in the near future – particularly given the fact that even the best run data centres still have considerable cooling and thermal issues. And with cooling representing around 30% of a data centre’s operating costs, it’s more important than ever for IT teams to focus on addressing these issues as quickly as possible.
Integrating Edge operations will also be a key requirement. You can’t seriously claim to be maximising your data centre performance until you’ve successfully integrated all your activities, and that includes all your different ‘edge’ micro and modular data centre operations. All too often advanced M&E capacity planning and simulation capabilities have remained the preserve of the largest data centre halls and facilities. There’s no longer any excuse for this to remain the case, particularly as the latest SaaS, IOT and connectivity technologies mean you can apply the same best practice optimisation standards across all your DC operations.
Datacloud: What regions do you see as primed for IT infrastructure asset expansion?
Whether it’s Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific or the Americas, we’re seeing pressure on data centre teams to run sites more efficiently, particularly to address growing corporate, political and social demands to operate more energy-saving environments. So, it makes sense for organisations to get much more serious about optimising data centre performance.
This requires a shift away from the traditional approach of over-cooling data centres in order to reduce the risk of potential failure due to thermal issues. At EkkoSense, we see this as an expensive and wasteful approach and that, instead of simply adding more costly infrastructure and consuming more power, data centres should actually focus on identifying and eliminating underlying thermal, power and capacity issues. The good news is that this kind of initiative needn’t break the bank – indeed effective thermal optimisation means you can save around 25% of your data centre cooling costs.
To achieve this, you do need to stop thinking that achieving efficient data centre operation is a black art. You really don’t need over-complex DCIM suites or expensive and often imprecise CFD consultancy to tell you what’s going on in your own data centre. Come and talk to us on stand 30 during the event and we’ll show you how!
Datacloud: What is one of your goals for the next year and how do you expect to achieve it?
We’re keen to correct the general misunderstanding that thermal optimisation is a discipline you only need to apply once. The reality of course is that your critical facilities keep on evolving - through daily operational activity, moves, adds and changes and other business drivers that can quickly work to unravel a previous optimisation within the data centre. This makes for a strong argument for applying thermal optimisation as an ongoing managed activity - to ensure that your critical facilities continue performing to their true potential.
That’s why we’re focused on taking software-led thermal optimisation to the next level with the introduction of an innovative Cooling Advisor capability that’s built right into the core of our software. In doing this we’re giving data centre teams clear recommendations on how they can maximise their own data centre’s operational performance, with specific advice such as identifying data centre floor tiles or grilles that need changing, giving guidance on immediate adjustments to cooling set points, and also advising on those CRAHs (Computer Room Air Handlers) that aren’t actively cooling, or which are fighting against each other and are therefore candidates to put in standby or switch off.
It’s this kind of accessible, practical intelligent software insight that can make a real difference to data centre operations. It not only provides much greater control over their critical facilities and significantly reduces risk of thermal failure, but also gives the control needed to secure ongoing cooling energy savings. This saving is all without the requirement for further specialist data centre thermal optimisation services!
Dean Boyle will be at Datacloud Global Congress in Monaco from 4 to 6 June 2019. Meet him and the rest of the EkkoSense team on Stand 30 or at the awards dinner where he will present the ‘Excellence in Data Centre Americas Award’.