The concept of what a data center is and where it should be located has evolved a lot in recent years due to the digital transformation. The Internet of Things (IoT) has boosted the number of data generated daily and this growth has created the need for data processing close to the devices. It is thanks to this scenario that the demand for micro data centers has grown exponentially in recent times.
What is a micro data center?
A micro data center can offer everything that a traditional data center offers, in a compact unit. It can be a physically configured unit that guarantees high levels of security and robustness, with IP65, IK10 and WK4 certifications, which give it a structure as if it were a safe. Equipped with air conditioning systems, assisted energy, fire detection and extinction systems, access control systems, video surveillance and a management and monitoring platform, providing all the necessary features for a platform to support IT systems.
These solutions have the great advantage of having a lower price, and a much shorter design and implementation time, than the construction of traditional data centers, and of being a complete solution just like the latter.
What factors drive the adoption of micro data centers?
Edge computing is the main factor behind the growth of micro data centers. The volume of data generated is expected to increase to 175 trillion GB by 2025, which corresponds to 35000 times the estimated amount of data generated throughout history by 2003. The large amount of data generated makes centralization increasingly inefficient of processing.
Network latency can cause poor performance for applications that are interactive or require a fast response time, such as autonomous vehicles, medical devices, and production lines. Shorter distances and fewer “network hop” between data collection and processing minimize latency to ensure maximum performance. However, building a traditional data center on “every corner” is impractical. Thus, micro data centers are the answer to the infrastructures supporting data storage and processing equipment, perfectly responding to the current market demands.
Micro data center applications
- Edge computing: is a term that means “computing on the periphery”. Edge computing is related to the Internet of Things, due to the fact that there are more and more devices connected, it is necessary to respond to the growing flow of data in a fast, effective and efficient way. Edge computing takes the data out of the Cloud and takes it to the edges of the network. It must have high performance and efficient solutions behind it.
- Disaster recovery: having a second data center ready to go into action if something happens in the main data center, and this is something that organizations should think about. Micro data centers are an excellent solution, with much lower costs than those of a traditional data center, and with capacity and modularity to guarantee the safeguarding and processing necessary for disaster recovery solutions.
- Proximity data center: its compact dimensions allow it to be housed in any space. As its structure is hermetic, it does not produce annoying sounds.
Micro data centers challenges
- Space limitations: they typically have limited space to deploy, which requires maximizing density without compromising efficiency.
- “Hostile” environments: when the micro data center is implemented in industrial or outdoor locations, it may be necessary to reinforce the climate control and other necessary resources to protect against dust, temperature fluctuations and extreme weather conditions, in these cases they recommend solutions with guaranteed tightness and robustness, certified with IP and IK standards.
- Management: As micro data centers are typically deployed far from the main data center, IT staff is unlikely to be on site at all times. Furthermore, micro data centers are often part of a larger structure, which can mean the need to manage more than one microstructure. Thus, remote management is essential to ensure efficient operation and avoid unexpected stops. The use of monitoring tools is essential so that nothing important escapes the IT manager and so that everything can be resolved in good time.
- Security: physical security is necessary to protect equipment against theft, unwanted entry and vandalism, and in these cases, solutions that guarantee the infrastructure against these potential risks should be used. Logical security is necessary to ensure that sensitive information remains private, which is ensured not only by software, but also through the implementation of access control and video surveillance solutions.
The benefits of micro data centers
- Fast implementation: short assembly deadlines ensure they can be up and running quickly. Assembling and testing the equipment before its implementation simplifies installation in any location. Extremely flexible in terms of construction and costs, micro data centers can be designed to respond to specific needs and budgets.
- Monitoring: the ability to remotely monitor environmental and safety conditions allows you to protect equipment and keep it operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Portability: Due to their small dimensions, micro data centers are ideal for deploying when space is limited. Furthermore, they are removable, which makes them extremely portable in the case of temporary installations, for example.
- Remote management: micro data centers must allow comprehensive remote management, not only of their IT equipment, but also of the entire physical infrastructure supporting them.
- Scalability: micro data centers can be adjusted to the real needs of the organization, at any time, without impacting the normal functioning of operations.
- High Availability: Micro Data Centers can be customized to provide any level of availability based on application requirements. It will be possible to implement redundant power and air conditioning solutions, which gives it high levels of availability.
- Efficient HVAC: The intelligent design of micro data centers helps improve the efficiency of the HVAC and power system, reducing energy waste and maximizing data processing.
- Reduced costs: the so-called traditional data centers require considerable space, designed for a specific purpose and, as a rule, oversized, which entails high implementation costs and deadlines. Micro data centers do not require large dedicated spaces, do not require a complex construction, and therefore offer lower deployment and operating costs, reducing total cost of ownership (TCO) compared to a traditional data center.