Data centre growth will be key driver for chip sector
The global data centre industry is experiencing an unprecedented spike in demand, driven by factors ranging from the global shift towards the public cloud, 5G and IoT, and the widespread move towards remote work due to the pandemic.
As a result, the world’s second-largest memory chipmaker, South Korean firm SK Hynix, sees the data centre industry as the source of a massive growth wave for the semiconductor sector.
In a keynote address given on Sunday, SK Hynix’s chief executive officer, Lee Seok-hee revealed that the company expects a huge surge in demand for chips used in data centre servers, fueled by “exponentially increased demand” due to 5G networking, artificial intelligence (AI) and self-driving cars.
"The total amount of both structured and unstructured data is expected to increase exponentially," said Lee at the press event. "If you look at the capacity requirement of Dram and Nand Flash for each data centre, the numbers are daunting."
That daunting proposition means big revenue increases for SK Hynix and other chipmakers in the industry.
At the event, Lee introduced SK Hynix’s roadmap for the coming years, developed in response to the anticipated spike in demand. According to Lee, in addition to performance, reliability will fast become the key differentiator for semiconductor products in the coming years.
"So far, high density, high speed, low power was required of memory to satisfy the need of various applications and customers," Lee said. "But now on top of those requirements, high reliability is required in growing markets for smart ICT technology such as autonomous cars and smart health care where the components are expected to run for a long period of time under extreme conditions."
The statement lines up well with the demands placed on equipment by hyperscale data centre designs. Hyperscalers increasingly prefer to run their server rooms hotter than traditional enterprise data centres, choosing to cool the servers themselves with liquid cooling technology, rather than just put them in what is essentially a large refrigerator.
Humidity is also rising in the larger, more modern facilities, all in the name of greater efficiency and sustainability, as hyperscalers like AWS and Google fight to use open source design methodologies and economies of scale to deliver services leaner and greener than ever before.
The global data centre chip market was valued at just over $7.7bn back in 2017 by Allied Market Research. By 2025, the same report predicts the industry to have grown to more than $15.6bn. Keep in mind, these estimates were made prior to the effects of COVID-19 on widespread economic digitalisation were even taken into consideration, so that growth projection is likely to end up being somewhat conservative in nature.
Group Management: Superior compliance in construction
Group Management Electrical Surveys is a long-standing and vital partner to Mercury Engineering. The company offers an innovative suite of electrical inspection, test and documentation services to ensure compliance in complex major construction projects for many of the UK and EU's leading companies. Utilising in-house cutting-edge solutions and its highly competent and experienced engineers, Group Management provides everything from electrical inspection and testing to thermal imaging surveys, QA/QC management, torque compliance, technical support, DSEAR compliance and electrical installation condition reports.
“No project can achieve handover without the correct documentation and safety critical electrical certification in place,” says Managing Director Steve Cressey. “Our services ensure that project critical documentation and certification can be correctly produced in an efficient, cost effective manner, which makes Group Management an important part of any construction project.”
Cressey joined the business in 2009, bringing strong and incisive leadership to Group Management, with decades of industry experience giving him a unique understanding of the design through to handover construction process. He has stewarded the business’ partnership with Mercury since its inception and describes it as uniquely collaborative.
“Our relationship with Mercury Engineering stretches back many years. We partnered with Mercury on our first Data Centre project together in Watford in 2007, and since then the relationship has gone from strength to strength,” says Cressey.
“The partnership is longstanding, and we’ve built an incredibly strong working relationship. Partnering with Mercury, who are an innovative, cutting-edge technology provider, means we must constantly improve our services offering. We strive to be the best in what we do, and Mercury can trust we will be efficient in delivering on time, on budget, to achieve a successful handover that meets both Mercury’s and the end clients’ future needs.”
Group Management has since successfully completed more than 30 Data Centre projects throughout the EU as Mercury’s preferred electrical compliance partner. The relationship has also seen Group Management partner with Mercury Engineering on four brand-new hospitals in the UK and Ireland, key pharmaceutical projects and a number of commercial and leisure spaces.
“To ensure the continued success and growth of Group Management we always discuss projects with key clients and their teams, take feedback on the performance of both our business and our individuals, and in turn use that to improve our services,” Cressey says.
“The professional development of our employees is essential to our success. All our employees are encouraged to continue their education, to further develop their skills through additional training, and that in turn drives better service and a superior product for our clients. We now offer four more services to Mercury than when the partnership began, which has helped spur Group Management’s growth and success within the wider market.”