For this edition of the Clouds Ahead interview series, Datacloud Global spoke to Giordano Albertazzi, President of Vertiv in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Datacloud: What are some of the key trends and challenges in the current global market?
The network edge is central to any discussion around data centre trends. Cisco Visual Networking Index estimated global IP traffic to increase threefold by 2022, with the number of connected devices eventually almost tripling the global population. That’s an additional 23 billion connected devices and this model cannot be supported by centralised IT facilities alone. The increased use of mobile data along with the rise of IoT and AI are behind the push to locate storage and compute closer to the users and devices. Edge computing deployments are becoming mission critical facilities, with the same sort of IT infrastructure and support requirements as a traditional data centre. The difference, of course, is that they’re much smaller and scattered at the periphery of the network, typically lacking any sort of on-site IT personnel. Security as well as remote management become essential factors to guarantee the continuity and reduced latency needed by many advanced applications. At the same time, rapid deployment and consistent, standardized design allow to meet growing needs while reducing complexity.
To support this trend, Vertiv has recently extended its modular and prefab offerings, providing a “plug & play” approach that cuts the time of startup and commissioning to just a few days instead of weeks or months, while also minimising the risk for quality issues as components are pre-integrated and pre-tested off-site.
However, one challenge to consider is the workforce and skillset required to support this increasing demand for an agile data centre. The IT sector has an ageing personnel and training programmes have traditionally lagged behind, and many organisations are realising this now. To help meet this gap, Vertiv offers online, self-paced trainings and is continuously developing software solutions to simplify infrastructure management.
Datacloud: How do you think the future landscape of the cloud, edge and 5G technologies will look like?
Vertiv recently teamed up with 451 Research to investigate on 5G preparedness and technical enablers through an in-depth survey of more than 100 global telecom decision makers. The report, “Telco Industry Hopes and Fears: From Energy Costs to Edge Computing Transformation”, reveals that many telecom operators believe the 5G era will start in earnest in 2021 in all geographies, with 88 percent of respondents planning to deploy 5G in 2021-2022. However, more than 90 percent of respondents believe 5G will result in higher energy costs and are interested in technologies and services that improve efficiency.
This is consistent with internal analysis by Vertiv, which finds the move to 5G is likely to increase total network energy consumption by 150-170 percent by 2026, with the largest increases in macro, node and network data centre areas. The business case to invest in 5G networks will be centred around energy cost management – we will see more technologies and services that help maintain profitability by more efficiently managing distributed networks and mitigating the impact of energy costs. We expect edge computing to stay at the epicentre of data centre innovation, becoming the vital bridge between 5G and cloud networks.
Datacloud: What regions do you see as primed for IT infrastructure asset expansion?
Northern regions represent a highly attractive location for data centre investment thanks to the cool climate which allows more freecooling, lower taxes, easier access to renewable energy sources and a skilled workforce. Nevertheless, there are many other areas in the world were 5G investments are already leading to new infrastructure deployments, such as in the Middle East.
Datacloud: What is one of your goals for the next year and how do you expect to achieve it?
More than ever, our primary goal is to address our customers’ growing needs, helping them to quickly deploy innovative infrastructure from the edge to the core, simplify operations and enable remote management.
A key part of this goal is to reinforce our commitment to channel partners so that they are set up for success as edge computing continues to disrupt the data centre and IT network. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, we have recently launched our new Vertiv Partner Programme (VPP) that includes incentives, training as well as an enhanced portfolio and we will continue to focus on the channel market over the course of 2019.
Vertiv will be at Datacloud Global Congress in Monaco from 4 to 6 June 2019. Don’t miss the keynote on June 5 at 11.20 - 11:40 am in the central theatre and meet Giordano and the Vertiv team on stand 48.