New Digital Realty manifesto tackles data gravity head-on
The announcement of a new manifesto isn’t an uncommon occurrence in the tech industry. Usually, the latest radical disavowal of industry norms, or blue sky prediction for a better connected world passes by with little fanfare, and the startups that penned them either get on with enacting their new doctrine or quickly realise that there’s a reason why things are the way they are these days. Life, as Robert Frost put it, goes on.
However, today, Austin, Texas-based data centre operator and colocation provider Digital Realty has unveiled a new manifesto. And, for those with their collective fingers on the pulse of the data centre industry (and, by extension, the infrastructure that underpins the modern world) might want to pay attention to this one.
Simply put, data gravity is a term coined by Dave McCrory in a blog post from 2010. Back then, McCrory was the VP of engineering at GE Digital. Today, he works as the VP of growth and global head of insights and analytics at Digital Realty - thanks, largely we might imagine, to that blog post.
Data gravity supposes that data, like “a planet or other object with sufficient mass” attracts other things towards it. “As data accumulates (builds mass) there is a greater likelihood that additional services and applications will be attracted to this data. This is the same effect gravity has on objects around a planet,” wrote McCrory more than a decade ago. “As the mass or density increases, so does the strength of gravitational pull.”
The upshot is that, as datasets get exponentially bigger, they become harder and harder to move around, break apart, and generally interact with. They become more expensive to maintain and store, and the number of applications and hours of labour required to do anything with them gets bigger.
This key idea has remained at the centre of the data gravity concept since its inception.
In the opening paragraphs of Digital Realty’s new manifesto, it is noted that, “Data Gravity inhibits workflow performance, raises security concerns, and increases costs, all complicated by regulatory and legacy architecture constraints.”
The data gravity solution
“We are laying out our industry manifesto and a call to action today to remove legacy barriers in the interconnection industry to address data gravity,” said Chris Sharp, Chief Technology Officer at Digital Realty, commenting on today’s announcement.
The manifesto claims to present a “a vision, a solution approach and a call to action to remove legacy barriers across the interconnection industry, and tackle the challenges of data gravity head on.”
The initiative, which is now available to read online (see below), outlines a collaborative roadmap that will bring together and integrate the interconnection platforms of multiple Digital Realty partners in order to “build the industry’s largest open fabric of fabrics connecting centers of data.”
As a result, PlatformDIGITAL - the customer-facing front end of Digital Realty’s offering - is getting a major upgrade intended to expand coverage, capacity, connectivity and control capabilities, as part of an approach that “requires local copies of private, shared and public data sets to be integrated as part of decentralised workflows which originate and traverse across multiple internal and external platforms, with policy enforcement controls, real time analytics and interactive cross-platform orchestration.”
Schneider Electric reveals new IT Innovation report
Schneider Electric has released a new IT innovations report titled “Digital Economy and Climate Impact”, with the aim of gaining an understanding of how digitised and smart applications will be powered in the future. The company says that the report predicts that IT sector-related electricity demand is expected to increase by almost 50% by 2030.
Despite this, the report also shows that emissions would not increase by more than 26% by the same year, following the decarbonisation of the electricity system. In an attempt to reduce this rise in emissions the Schneider Electric TM Sustainability Research Institute recommends continued efforts in achieving efficiencies on the IT and energy sides at both the component and system levels.
The report highlights how the rise of edge computing technologies require a “specific focus” due to these systems being less efficient than hyperscale data centres. “When the world locked down, it also logged on and internet traffic soared,” said Pankaj Sharma, EVP, Secure Power, Schneider Electric.
“It’s misleading to assume that digital activity will inevitably result in a deeply problematic increase in CO2 emissions. The analysis from the Schneider Electric Sustainability Institute puts to rest many of the worst-case scenario claims predicting IT-related electricity use will double every five years. That said, as an industry, we must remain vigilant in finding new sources of sustainability gains while ensuring resiliency as digital keeps life moving forward”, he added.
As well as the release of the report, Schneider Electric also announced several updates to its EcoStruxure IT data center infrastructure management software, Galaxy VL 3-phase uninterruptable power supply (UPS), introducing an industry-leading single-phase UPS, the APC™ Smart-UPS™ Ultra. All introductions are designed to advance the industry forward in meeting sustainability goals while increasing the resiliency of IT and data centre infrastructure, the company said.
Managing hybrid data center and edge IT environments
Also showcased in Schneider Electric’s report are the increasing demands on digital consumption. According to the company, these create a more complex hybrid environment inclusive of enterprise, cloud, and edge data centres. Addressing the unique management challenges of a hybrid IT environment, Schneider Electric has announced updates to its EcoStruxure IT software to increase efficiency and resiliency, including:
- Increased remote management capabilities: New granular remote device configuration features enable users to change configurations on one or more devices – including the new Galaxy VL and APC Smart-UPS Ultra single-phase UPS units – from one centralised platform with EcoStruxure IT Expert. This update, combined with previously released software insights on device security health, enables the user to identify faulty devices or configurations and address them in a matter of clicks, keeping their hybrid IT environment secure.
- Improved environmental monitoring: Environmental monitoring systems ensure users have eyes and ears on data centre and IT deployments from anywhere, anytime. With this update, users can push mass configurations remotely for NetBotz cameras 750 and 755 quickly and efficiently increasing security across the critical infrastructure.
- Enhanced remote capacity modeling and planning: With EcoStruxure IT Advisor’s new capabilities, users can remotely compare an unlimited number of racks and easily identify available capacity, view what assets are deployed and their dependencies.
Sharma concluded: “Schneider Electric has been focused on sustainability for the past 15 years and was recently named the most sustainable corporation in the world. We have embraced the mindset that future innovation will deliver better efficiency across the broader connectivity landscape. By making smart intentional choices, our industry can help mitigate how much electricity and emissions result from the rising appetite for digital technologies”.