| | DECEMBER 201919times, superior user experiences, and cost-effective infrastructure. Figure 1: Evolving DC, cloud and edge computing synergies provides a broad overview of up-coming infrastructure models. As is clear from Figure-1, enterprise connected, cloud connected and cloud architected edge comput-ing models will be of primary importance to most enterprises. Data harvested from edge devices such as sensors is processed at the edge server or edge cloud layers.Innovative rollouts are underway in verticals such as retail, telecom and finance. For example, digital trial rooms use virtual reality and image recogni-tion to allow customer fit outs for clothing prior to online purchases. Modular data centres can cache such compute-intensive tasks for seamless and im-mersive customer experiences. In case of Telecom, service providers deploy modular data centres to tackle network service optimisation and regulatory compliance requirements. Emergence of Modular ComputeModular data centres in-tegrate compute, storage, power, cooling, fire de-tection, and security into prefabricated form factors. Commissioning phase is minimal (in the order of weeks) for these compute blocks. This makes it ideal for rapid or makeshift de-ployment scenarios such as those in telecom, power or financial sectors. IDC predictions indicate that at least 40 percent of IoT data will be managed at the network edge itself in 2019. In this context, on-site compute capabilities offered by modular data centres ensure exponential-ly high latency gains. For example, implementers of modular data centres at the edge level often witness latency reduction from hundreds of milliseconds to less than 10 milliseconds. The accompanying bandwidth savings ensure quick ROI for associated line items. In this context, a new high-performance com-puting (HPC) implementation currently underway at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is an interesting case study. CERN's Large Hadron Collider `beauty' project (LHCb) will be backed by a prefabricated 3MW HPC data centre fa-cility spread over 32,500 square feet. Since modular data centres utilise integrated hardware, it eliminates the need for specialised sup-port skillsets. Comprehensive management software allows remote management and administration. These setups also feature integration with popu-lar data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) suites. This ensures manpower and administration savings. Rise in adoption will goad leading vendors to offer management services. Real estate savings due to smaller footprints is an-other tangible benefit. The compact modular nature also translates to cost-effective expansion. Lower power utilisation efficiency (PUE) factors are inher-ent to modular data centres. Easier and cost-effective data centre certification is yet another advantage. Right Fits for India Inc.Forerunners of modular data centre adoption in In-dia include IoT, telecom, colocation, financial, con-tent delivery, and data-intensive energy vertical re-quirements. Computing requirements at inaccessible remote locations are also ideal candidates for modu-lar data centres.Modular data centres at cellular towers are among the commonly cited edge computing installations. Powered by grid power (on cellular towers colocated with power grid transmis-sion lines) or gensets, these prefabricated modular units find use in smart cities, healthcare, retail, ed-ucation, autonomous vehicles, and IoT applications. Branch (or remote) offices and SMBs are also increas-ingly opting for these on-demand compute blocks.Edge computing calls for data hubs at multiple levels (local, urban and regional) to provide com-munication, compute and storage to the data source. Modular data centres are increasingly popular as lo-cal hubs. The distributed nature of such enterprise workloads will result in innovations--especially in India's upcoming Smart Cities. Mega technology trends characterised by expo-nential data traffic growth are set to rewrite existing enterprise computing game plans. Next generation business models call for rapid infrastructure and application scale out requirements even as it seam-lessly integrates existing infrastructure. On-demand compute blocks such as modular data centres are all set to rapidly empower such visions.
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