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Sanjay Kumar Sainani, SVP & CTO of Huawei’s Global Data Center Business:
Modern data centre design
Sainani explained that modern data centres are designed and built quite differently from just a few years ago.
“If you were to ask an IT manager what systems he needs in three or four years, he’ll tell you that he doesn’t know. They can’t know what new technology will be available,” he said.
The people designing data centres don’t have that luxury — they have had to find ways to try and plan for the unplannable.
“You have to plan your data centre facility to be relatively future-proof, to be flexible and scalable,” said Sainani. Another key demand is energy and water efficiency, as data centres now typically consume many megawatts of power.
To make a data centre flexible and scalable, Sainani said that Huawei offers the Fusion Module platform. This allows the data centre facility to be designed and built in a modular way.
“Systems such as power, cooling, and racking have been modular for a while,” he said. “Now we’re even making the building as modular.”
Building enclosures are prefabricated and pre-fitted, allowing up to 70% of the data centre building and fit-outs to be done at Huawei’s factories. This happens while the foundations for the data centre are being dug and other civil works are being finalised on-site.
With the fabrication of building enclosures and civil works happening in parallel, the time to construct a data centre is slashed in half, said Sainani.
To ensure they comply with all the relevant building, electrical, and safety codes, Huawei still employs local consulting firms.
“In the Middle-East region we are currently building one of these data centres for a client,” Sainani said. “It’s a 600-rack, 12 megawatt data centre and the time-to-market is 14 months.”
These turnkey data centres include all engineering, procurement, and construction. Huawei has already built 60 to 70 megawatts of such turnkey data centres for clients.
Data centre revolution
Artificial Intelligence and 5G are opening the doors for new futuristic applications, including holographic meetings, autonomous vehicles, and remote surgical facilities. All of this will demand lower latency, which Sainani said is fuelling another new trend in data centres — edge computing.
“We will see a very different model in future,” Sainani said.
Mobile network operators will roll out greater computing power to cell sites in the next few years, with their base stations doubling up as edge data centres,
With the advent of 5G, operators are also expected to double the number of sites in their network to ensure full 5G coverage of their existing client base.