Over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is generated worldwide every day. The data generated by connected industries, communication, and videos/films, is creating the digital ecosystem people rely on today. With more internet traffic predicted to be created in 2022 than in the previous 32 years, the pressure is on for data centers to grow alongside the demand at a record rate. With the expansion of 5G networks, Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 gathering pace, it has never been more important for data center operators to invest in technology today that supports growth for many years to come.
Growing and keeping up with market connectivity and bandwidth demands is a challenge affecting not only enterprise and colocation data centers, but also hyperscale data centers too. The rapid pace of change means even tech giants with multiple hyperscale data centers and big budgets still need to make the most of their existing data center space, while retaining the ability to scale quickly.
Common challenges that data centers face boil down to space, efficiency and profitability. Whilst cable management systems are not revenue-generating equipment, a failure to properly manage the fiber optic cabling in the background can lead to increased operating costs and expensive downtime. By using structured cabling in the right way, time, space and costs can be saved, allowing more focus and investment to be spent on equipment that drives revenue. It is important to consider what the needs are of the data center today, and what the demands of tomorrow will bring. Forward thinking, when it comes to aspects like network architecture, expansion plans, and maintenance needs, will help to structure a data center that is built for the future.
A setup for success
To make the most of the physical space available, high-quality fiber optic is needed to provide sufficient fiber capacity and bandwidth to allow the highest data throughput and lowest loss and latency. This includes structured cabling systems, all-optical switching and fiber optic bandwidth expansion. To maximise return on investment, identifying the most suitable solutions for each unique business needs, and future demands too, ensures the right cabling strategy is used. This saves time and costs later on down the line.
Every data center will have a different amount of space to work with, however, the approach is often the same. Maximize the space that you do have with smart, high-density solutions, and if you end up with room left, then utilise this with more revenue-generating equipment. Using a fiber management system that takes up as little space as possible works for both small data centers, which need to utilise space in a smart way, as well as hyperscale data centers, which strive to improve efficiencies and revenue opportunities to meet demand. An excellent, high-density solution should offer organisational support for cable systems to free up room for more cables. By having optical distribution frames (ODFs) which can hold a high number of fiber cassettes and fiber ports (eg. LC duplex), fiber density can be maximized.
Accessibility is key
Accessibility is another key consideration when it comes to fiber management. As data centers and the number of fibers they contain grow, any movement or adjustment of the cables open up the risk, and associated costs, of human error. For example, accidental removal of the wrong patch cord, or getting caught up in other cables whilst carrying out moves, adds and changes (MACs) can cause accidental breakages or result in low-quality connections. Any unorganised data center can also create an environment prone to technicians making unintentional mistakes. It could become easy to disconnect live links, which could lead to catastrophic expenses in the millions. In addition, it can be difficult for new employees to understand a network architecture that is disorganised or poorly labelled.
Therefore, if the initial installation is not organized with a proper structured cabling approach, it is likely to be problematic from the start. Quick fixes can lead to problems further down the line and should be avoided. High-quality installation is paramount to make sure cables are integrated in an accessible way, which also makes it easier to upgrade when needed. With greater ease of management, damage is less likely to occur when making MACs to reduce costly downtime.
There are varying levels of accessibility provided by cable management solutions in the market, including rear, side and front access. Depending on the chosen connectivity solution, such as splice, patch or transition, there will be certain cable management solutions which are more suitable for a particular data center than others.
As data centers ready themselves for future challenges, it is not only capacity and space that need to be maximized. The growth of machines, devices and applications making real-time requests and requiring near-instantaneous responses — think AI, self-driving cars and remote-operated factory robots — can only be delivered by low latency connections. All-optical switches help to automate operations remotely and enhance the data centers overall capabilities and possibilities to drive more revenue opportunities and further growth. Optical switches must remain a stable connection, despite temperature and external disturbances, to offer low optical loss and high performance.
Expanding bandwidth in the future is something which needs to be considered today. By considering this now and putting the groundwork in place for this to happen, data centers have the means to adapt in a cost-effective and quick way to meet future demands. A pay-as-you-grow approach to infrastructure allows a daat center to be fully flexible and only pay for what is needed in the moment. However, upgrading is simple to do if opportunities to grow knock at the door. This means that data canters can prepare for the future with a considered strategy, while only having to pay for the costs of today. This frees up capital and resources to be invested in the products and services that drive revenue.
Growth begins with a strategic foundation
Every data center requires different solutions within its structured cabling strategy to set it up for success. However, preparing for future growth can be made simple when working with a specialised expert. With their knowledge and experience, it is a straightforward process to find the right solutions that meet unique business needs. With an expert, installation can also be managed to give an operator peace of mind that downtime and any unnecessary expenses will be avoided.
With enough consideration to the foundation and fiber optic roots, data centers will benefit from an enhanced setup that can enable revenue-driving services that boost growth for many years to come.