IoT is a word more commonly associated with consumer devices — tablets, smartphones, watches, etc. — but how does IoT impact the data center? 

As evidenced by consumer’s use of IoT devices like smartphones and tablets, there is widespread adoption of IoT for various use cases that have proven to improve efficiency, so why wouldn’t enterprises leverage similar technology within their own network infrastructure? In fact, most IT execs would gladly make the argument that the data center hosts and maintains more IoT data than smartphones or watches, making the data center an IoT hub. And this is only going to increase as our lives, both professionally and personally, continue to become more connected. Today, the majority (65%) of enterprises are leveraging IoT within their organization to help optimize operational efficiency and mitigate risk. IoT-based technologies, like thermal monitoring and cooling devices, can be used in the data center to improve efficiency and power management.

Are IoT devices increasing within the data center just as they are outside of the data center?

Absolutely. As our world becomes more connected, a natural progression is to see connected “things” also increase within the data center. Why? With data center’s using and managing roughly 10% of the world’s energy, paired with the fact that corporations are becoming more cognizant and conscious of their own footprint, data center operators are tasked with ensuring that their data center is running as efficient as possible. With technology emerging nearly daily to help facilitate this monitoring and managing in real-time, data centers are increasingly leveraging connected devices, or IoT technology, to help them do so.

How are enterprises leveraging remote capabilities and the IoT network, to rapidly increase operational efficiencies to improve infrastructure management within their own data centers?

As each data center operator looks to be more efficient and exact with power monitoring and forecasting, leveraging IoT technologies within the data center provides operators with the proper capabilities to optimize operational efficiencies in real-time. This flexibility that IoT technology affords is especially important when IT and data center operators are managing multiple data centers remotely. The key here is leveraging DCIM solutions married with IoT technologies to get a more holistic and granular view of the data center with access to insight at the individual server level.

What is the most exciting part about IoT within the data center?

As demonstrated by hundreds if not thousands of technology headlines, IoT certainly gets a lot of attention on the consumer front, and for good reason. We’re seeing connected lifestyles changing and becoming more efficient because of this technology. What’s largely overlooked however is that the true “cost” or impact of our connected lifestyle directly impacts the data center. All of our cloud-based apps “live” not in the clouds, but within a data center somewhere around the world. This shift is significantly impacting the job of today’s data center operators and facility managers.

However, if it wasn’t for new technology, including IoT devices, within the data center, this job would be nearly impossible. Why? When unexpected peaks in usage happen because of a new game is launched like Pokemon Go or a new show on Netflix becomes a quick hit, data center operators need the ability to monitor everything happening within their environment in real-time, including thermal and cooling monitoring. Take for example the Delta outage which was sparked by a fire. One could easily make the connection that equipment may have been running too hot or overheating and had they been leveraging technology that would monitor such change in real-time, perhaps the massive debacle costing millions in downtime could have been mitigated.

What this all comes down to is that we’ve reached an inflection point within the data center, which beckons new technology for business continuity. It’s an exciting time where technology advancements within the data center must keep pace of what’s happening (yet directly impacting) outside of the data center.