The Future of AI in Data Centres
Artificial intelligence (AI) has gone from being science-fiction to science-fact and it is now being used in many industries to optimise the different aspects of the business – from medical research to supermarket logistics. AI opens doors to massive business opportunities, so it’s not hard to see why a number of businesses are getting in on the ground floor.
This being said, it isn’t simple to introduce new technologies such as AI and it’s not something the business can do overnight. A data centre is essential for storing the data necessary to power AI, so it’s only natural the development of AI has led to a need to develop data centres. This can be a problem, particularly for facilities that are already operating at a high capacity. This will force data centres to add extra hardware and servers which will become increasingly complex to manage. This is on top of the extra operational costs.
As is the case with most technology underlying a business, data centres are typically powered by inefficient legacy technology as companies prefer adding to their existing systems over optimising them. This puts additional pressure on data centres and makes these long-standing issues even worse. Data centres have to evolve to match the increase in pace, and AI might be the key needed for this.
The most pressing issue is arguably energy consumption. Modern data centres account for around six percent of total global electricity use. Not only is that a concern for business costs, but there is extra pressure on corporations to take responsibility for the environmental concerns of this energy consumption. Organisations such as Greenpeace have called on tech companies to be more energy conscious for a long time now and they have targeted the carbon footprints of data centres.
More and more data centres are adopting renewable energy, but this is something a number of data centres – especially small ones – can’t feasibly do. Moving over to renewable energy will only address a portion of the problem and every option should be explored as computing power demands increase.
AI provides the opportunity to boost efficiency while reducing energy consumption by making use of the existing data and real-time monitoring. AI distributes the workload across servers which maximises productivity and solves problems with network congestion.
With AI, a data centre environment can be controlled in real time, including reducing energy consumption using cooling systems. Google has already started using AI to monitor their data centres and they report DeepMind AI was able to reduce their cooling bill by up to 40%.
Another major issue for modern data centres is security. In a world where cyber security is essential, the stakes are high for data centres. These data centres are incredibly complex infrastructures with deep encryption. Given how the world of IT is constantly evolving, it takes constant vigilance to prevent data breaches as threats – and ways to protect against them – evolve.
The solution may – once again – be AI. Implementing an AI system provides a more sophisticated and flexible solution for data security along with the chance to reduce the need for human intervention. AI is designed and built in such a way that it is better able to adapt to threats than humans. It also reduces the amount of man-hours spent monitoring issues around the clock and reduces the risk of human error.
With everything AI can do for data centres, the idea of a data centre powered entirely by technology with no human input may be closer than we think. Certain companies – such as Litbit – have already begun trialling using AI-driven robots to help with managing their data centres and maintaining their hardware, further cementing the connection between data centres and AI. This also opens up room for humans to focus on other innovations.
Rising to the Challenge
As companies work hard to transform and become more digital, the relationship between data centres and AI has never been as complex – and important – as it is right now. It’s clear that the future of data centres and AI are interconnected. As there is more demand for AI and ML systems, there also comes more demand for the physical space to store the data needed to power these systems, which establishes a greater demand for data centres. Data is the lifeblood of an AI system and data management is sure to be the main challenge businesses deal with in the future.
Servers learn from the data that they process, establishing a cycle that endlessly improves AI and the overall data centre ecosystem. This all begins with a flexible and future-defined data centre optimised with AI. Combining the right infrastructure with an effective AI system allows modern businesses to set themselves apart from their competition.