I’ve previously mentioned that there’s a “data explosion” taking place. That this surge is driving dramatic change in the market for data centres and the market for services that accompany the deployment of physical infrastructure. This explosion has caused and will continue to cause a chain reaction of growth in smaller data centres, those deployed at the Edge of the network.
The Cloud computing environment, in which central data centres feed a variety of access devices from laptops to tablets to handhelds and smart phones, will continue to grow, but issues of speed, traffic congestion and availability will force more organisations to establish data-centre infrastructure at the edge of their networks.
This presents enormous opportunities for Channel Partners and indeed Managed Service providers (MSPs) willing to adapt and meet the requirements of the businesses utilising said infrastructure and fortunately, APC have anticipated the change and are already delivering the solutions required to drive the market forward.
You don’t have to look too far to find examples of businesses being let down by inadequate infrastructure. The emergence of contact-less payments, whether by bank card or smart phone, is making us all increasingly like royalty: we don’t carry cash any more! So I am sure you have experienced the frustration of popping into a “convenience” store for a coffee or a sandwich only to find that it cannot process electronic payments and will only accept cold—and old—hard cash. Convenience? I think not.
This situation, and many like it, can be alleviated by the availability locally of secure, highly available data centres to process such small payments quickly and safely without adding to the congestion of data traffic converging around massive distant centralised data centres. The remedy requires in turn that these Edge data centres have the same standards of security, reliability, flexibility and fault tolerance that are expected at larger data centres.
There are three factors essential for delivering such capabilities: deployment standardisation, remote site management and physical security.
Smaller data centres typically have requirements specific to their individual case. There may be unusual space constraints, for example, or issues with mains power reliability necessitating special UPS considerations. One size will not fit all, but nevertheless service providers have to be able to remove such headaches for their customers and do so in a timely and cost-effective manner. Some customisation work, necessitating “one-time engineering” is inevitable but must be kept to a minimum, both for cost reasons and to minimise human error.
Fortunately, preconfigured, pre-tested infrastructure that integrates all of the necessary components including racks, power supplies, cooling systems and enclosures are widely available. Each of the individual solutions are verified to work together and to meet all regulatory and reliability requirements. Increasingly, features once found only in large data centres are now available in smaller prefabricated micro data centres.
These include features that facilitate remote management. Network cards built into UPS systems, combined with specialist software, can link seamlessly to systems management software including popular DCIM (Data Centre Infrastructure Management) suites. Connectivity features built into prefabricated micro data centres allow management of smaller installations from a centralised remote management and monitoring (RMM) console, so that problems can be detected and rectified quickly; leading in turn to continuous availability and consistent performance.
Edge data centres now are more sophisticated physical-security systems. Video and audio surveillance allow hazards such as fire, flooding and smoke to be monitored around the clock. Intelligent access control can even be built into Edge data centres at rack level. Operators at a remote management console, for example, can verify the credentials of a technician seeking access and unlock the rack from afar.
Greater standardisation, connectivity and system integration are bringing the features associated with the very top end of the data centre market closer to the Edge. Therefore MSP’s have the opportunity to make 24*7 data services available to more and more people and businesses, even in the most remote locations.
Please click here to find out more about APC by Schneider Electric’s MSP Partner Programme.