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Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) as a service – Leveraging IOT and Big Data

Johannesburg, South Africa, 27 March 2019

Data center consists of two realms. The first is the IT realm, governing the systems that address the information processing aspects, such as servers, storage arrays, and network switches. The second, is that of the physical infrastructure and controls that allow IT to perform its function, and includes all physical infrastructure that support both IT, and the data center facility itself, including power, cooling, and security systems.

And although the two realms are interconnected, the subsystems within each are procured, managed and operated by different groups of users. Typically, the facilities and engineering teams own and operate the physical infrastructure, and IT department operates the IT realm. Sometimes, the two teams share a common backbone, and as the datacenter evolves, they become increasingly intertwined as do the management systems that support them.

Schneider Electric is the world’s number one provider of physical data center infrastructures, from the biggest Internet giants such as Alibaba, Amazon, Google to the smallest micro datacenters in multi-site chains. Today, we boast an install base of more than 14 million connectable devices and 283 million data points retrieved each day. Moreover, our EcoStruxure IT platform, gives us a high level of visibility and puts us in the ideal position to provide our customers with timely information on real and future predictive analytics, to anticipate the risks of failure, and better secure critical applications.

Data centers are at the heart of the digital world that controls our business and personal lives. Our society is growing increasingly dependent the Internet, and without a data center, video streaming, remote control of energy consumption, transformation and digitization across the board, would not be possible. We would be unable to be driven by an autonomous car, to take distance learning courses at university. Anyone who has tried to separate a teenager from his phone, will understand the generational change, not only in wanting to be connected but needing to be. The digital economy and new uses of augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence are generating a wealth of data that is stored, processed and secured 24/7 in datacenters.

By 2020, analysts predict there will be 50 billion connected objects, and 4 billion people connected to the Internet. Over the next five years, 20 times more equipment than people will be connected to the Internet, representing 10 zettabytes of annual IP traffic.

Ten years ago, analysts thought that all Internet uses would go through the cloud and predicted the "death" of on-premise data centres. Today, we are witnessing a step back. The IoT will soon produce more data than can be transported to large, centralised data centers. 100% cloud architecture is not enough. Data flow requirements, burgeoning amounts of data, and the need for security, have given rise to the hybrid data center ecosystem that is made up of huge, centralized cloud data centers, and their smaller, enterprise-class counterparts. In addition, we have co-location data centers (regional edge) and micro-data centers (local edge), which prevent networks from being inundated, by processing the data as close as possible to where it is produced.

The cloud centralised network architecture was not designed to optimise latency. Firstly, because users require quick access to data and applications, and cloud networks are too far away, and require too many steps to reach the user. Secondly, due to bandwidth limitations, and thirdly, due to the regulatory environment.

To aggregate and process these large amounts of data, there is a need to deploy localised data center solutions closer to users, data, and objects, to avoid latency issues and effectively manage the real-time capabilities required by IoT. This is called edge computing, which sees the type of applications and trades determine where the compute resources will be physically located.

These trends are also leading us to a hybrid and complex datacenter ecosystem where cloud-centric data centers coexist with regional data centers, and local micro data centers are found on the edge. At Schneider Electric, we solve these challenges head on through energy infrastructure solutions tailored to each type of data center, from the largest to the smallest.

In this complex environment with more datacenters, interconnected with a larger number of sites, and an exploding volume of data, the management and maintenance of this ecosystem become the next challenge. EcoStruxure is our answer. It is a platform of technologies composed of three levels: the connected products - which collect data and send them to an edge, control software which ensures the monitoring, alarms, and if applicable, the control of equipment. In addition to this, there are cloud hosted applications / data analytics and digital services that will bring visibility, simplification, automation, predictive analytics for a faster / more proactive response

Schneider Electric’s portfolio integrates the management of the three main architecture blocks - the clean room, the cooling of the building and, of course, power. But to meet the challenges facing our industry, including complexity, dependence and the energy paradox, we believe that a management system hosted in the cloud will be the only way to solve these challenges.

Today, the datacenter or IT manager doesn’t only have to deal with the centralized datacenter, but also with myriad complexities in a distributed, and hybrid IT environment. “On-prem” datacenter infrastructure management (DCIM) alone does not cut it anymore, and that’s where DCIM as a service (EcoStruxure) steps in. This gives businesses the ideal way to leverage the potential IoT and big data with the addition of over the top services such as those that handle massive data crunching and carry out analytics to provide insights to the end user.

About Schneider Electric
Schneider Electric is leading the digital transformation of energy management and automation in homes, buildings, data centres, infrastructure and industries. With global presence in over 100 countries, Schneider is the undisputable leader in power man-agement – medium voltage, low voltage and secure power, and in automation systems. We provide integrated efficiency solu-tions, combining energy, automation and software. In our global ecosystem, we collaborate with the largest partner, integrator and developer community on our open platform to deliver real-time control and operational efficiency. We believe that great peo-ple and partners make Schneider a great company and that our commitment to innovation, diversity and sustainability ensures that Life Is On everywhere, for everyone and at every moment.

For more information, go here.

Access to Energy
At Schneider Electric, we believe that access to energy is a basic human right. We want everyone on our planet to have access to safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable energy.
We have set up an ambitious program called Access to Energy, that combines investment in entrepreneurship, technological solu-tions and training:
- Offers & business models for the design & deployment of adequate electrical distribution offers,
- Training & Entrepreneurship: to support local skills development for disadvantaged people as well as entrepreneurship.
- Investment funds for innovative energy entrepreneurship locally.

Key figures – January 2019
  • 4,6+ million households have access to reliable, clean and affordable energy (equivalent to 23 million people) Schneider Electric installed 350+ picogrids (<4kWp) and 600+ microgrids in off-grid areas worldwide, equivalent to 23,5+ MWp over the past 4 years.
  • 14 investments in start-ups
  • 190 000+ people trained in energy related trades, across 150+ projects in 40+ countries with 250+ partners

See all Schneider Electric news

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