What will the future of data centres look like? In this interview, we talk to Michel Arres, Vice President Secure Power DACH, from Schneider Electric about market developments and the sustainability potential of data centres. As a “Digital Pioneer”, he will be appearing at the Data Center Expert Summit 2021. Operators, planners and customers of data centres and server rooms will meet at the expert congress to exchange information about current developments and new strategies for data centres.
Mr Arres, in your view, what has strongly shaped the development of the data centre industry, and what factors have influenced market development in the past?
Arres: From my point of view, two factors have been highly formative: The speed and the availability of computer processing. A few years ago, it took about two years to build a data centre from design to commissioning. Today we can do it in six months, that’s an incredible leap! Availability also plays an important role. The introduction of client computers gave us the opportunity to work decentrally. As a result, servers were placed everywhere – until there were so many that their management became increasingly complex and servers eventually had to be consolidated in special technical rooms. This is how today’s data centre came into being. This development was then accelerated even further by the many cloud services.
What does this mean for the future and what can we learn from the past for the further development of the data centre industry?
Arres: In the future, much more data will be created, both by people and by machines. At the same time, this data will not only be generated in data centres. The new environment will be hybrid: There will be cloud data centres, regional data centres, but also edge data centres. In addition, two factors have been added, namely efficiency and sustainability. Combining these four factors is of course not easy. We need to become more digital in the management of these infrastructures in the future, for example through the digitalisation of the complete life cycle of data centres. Artificial intelligence can be a groundbreaking technology that supports us in this. It also helps to optimise energy efficiency.
What role does the sustainability factor play and what future developments should we keep an eye on, so that we don’t lag behind?
Arres: Sustainability and energy efficiency are strongly dependent on the location, because renewable energies such as hydropower and wind power improve the climate balance enormously. But machine learning and big data analysis will also offer us great sustainability potential in the future. Smart cooling, for example, could support us by calculating and suggesting the optimal temperature for better energy efficiency. To this end, it is important to link cooling technology and server technologies even more effectively.
Michel Arres from Schneider Electric will be in discussion with the architects of the Internet industry at the Data Center Expert Summit 2021 on Wednesday 9 June at 13:00 in the Digital Pioneer panel of the Data Center Expert Summit 2021.