THE BIG DATA REVOLUTION: THE (FUNDAMENTAL) ROLE OF DATA CENTERS

THE BIG DATA REVOLUTION: THE (FUNDAMENTAL) ROLE OF DATA CENTERS

Digital revolution is in progress: Cloud, Big Data, Internet of Things, are anymore words on everyone’s lips, but concepts which are modifying people’s, consumers’ and company’s habits.

Today we have 3 billion devices connected to the network (such as the world’s population in 1960!), which generate a quantity of data in exponential rise. Every minute we send 204,000 e-mail, 277,000 tweet, we upload 72 hours of video on Youtube. Only on Facebook, we upload photos and contents for more than 105 terabytes per 30 minutes. Our phone apps trace, save and analyse all our daily activities.

It’s no longer just about PCs and smartphones: there are shoes that measure our athletic performances, refrigerators that warn us about products expiring. This is the Internet of Things where every object is connected, smart and generates information useful for everyday life.

All these generated data, even virtual, occupy a physical space. During one day, our “digital production” can be compared to the total capacity of 10 million Blu-Ray (which placed one above the other are as high as 4 Eiffel Towers!)

It is estimated that we have generated more than 2.7 zettabytes of data thus far: 90% of them have been created in the last two years. Forecasts of IDC Digital Universe estimate that by 2020 we will reach 40 zettabytes of data generated.

Numbers that make heads spin and raise an obvious question: where will we store all this data? Will we be able to manage them? How can we ensure that data could always be instantly available to anyone, anywhere in the world?

Survival and usefulness for people and companies of this huge digital and virtual “cloud” lie in the efficiency of solid physical structures: Data Centers.

Today, as never before, Data Centers play a key role in this new digitized society. The Big Data revolution passes through their capacity to ensure the necessary technology evolution so that the world will not be crushed by this amount of data, but rather benefit at all levels.

The most important and obvious challenge concerns capacity in terms of storage. The Big Data need space, but also the ability to increase this space immediately, in order to follow this continuous and unstoppable proliferation. The keyword is therefore scalability, the capacity to always have the necessary resources to ensure that the system does not block or collapses under its own weight.

A second aspect concerns the safety and business continuity. Clearly, a society that founds every communication, analysis, personal and collective memory, on something immaterial, cannot allow that it could not be accessible for a limited period or worse, get permanently lost. Data Centers are facilities designed for that purpose today, but the challenge is to raise the physical and technological security threshold around digital data, whose social and economic value will increase in an amount equal to their quantitative increasing.

Last but not least, we have to consider costs and consumption. Data Centers are today among the facilities that need a huge energy count, for the machinery power supply and the cooling of the structures. Green IT philosophy has promoted the adoption of more efficient systems and renewable energy sources, and huge steps have been made in recent years towards an increasing energy savings. However, the changes arising from the phenomenon of Big Data in coming years will have a big impact: more data, in fact, mean more servers to be powered, more rooms to be cooled, new data centers to be built.

Only major improvements will allow to manage this wave of information and to ensure that the digital revolution would be sustainable, not only from the economic point of view, but also from the environment one.

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