5G shakes up the data center field
Like fiber did for fixed Internet, 5G is opening the way to new uses and business opportunities by offering mobile speeds that have never been reached before. However, it is necessary to prepare the connectivity, data storage and computing architecture and adapt the data centers accordingly.
5G, the “all connected” era
Increased data throughput (just a few seconds to download 1 GB of data), reduced latency (1 ms vs. 25 to 40 ms for 4G, thanks to high-density servers for data processing and analysis), and improved user experience in mobile environments: 5G opens up new uses and business opportunities in all sectors of activity that were previously impossible from a technical standpoint. As a corollary, there has been an exponential increase in global mobile data traffic. According to a study by Cisco (Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update), this traffic is expected to be multiplied by seven and grow nearly twice as fast as fixed-IP traffic between 2017 and 2022.
This considerable increase in data volume is due to changes in use over the last few years: the growth of streaming, high-resolution videos viewing (full HD, 4K in the short term, and 8K in the future), virtual reality, real-time remote-controlled machines (industrial internet of things, MtoM), connected artificial intelligence (home automation, smart buildings, etc.). While the breakthrough of Cloud gaming, which is very demanding in terms of latency, should also see a strong acceleration. All without considering new uses, still unknown to this day…
Towards a new territorial network of data centers
This announced (r)evolution implies reviewing strategies to manage an ever-increasing volume of data. Today, central data centers support the bulk of the data generated by the mobile internet. However, with the increase in traffic, operators’ backbone networks will inevitably become saturated.
Operators can avoid network and data center saturation by quickly adopting new strategies for sizing and integrating new technologies that are suitable for these changes. This includes bringing data and antennae closer together to keep latency at a satisfactory level.
This new approach implies creating new proximity data centers in regions and to rollout technologies dedicated to Edge computing. Creating these miniature decentralized data centers (edge data centers), connected to existing infrastructure, will offer a better distribution of storage and computing facilities, in order to relieve national networks.
In addition, the creation of such a network of data centers, combined with the faster growth of the 5G and IoT industries, should contribute to the economic development of territories outside the major cities and, consequently, create jobs to meet the related operational and maintenance needs.
Edge data centers deployment strategy
However, inside these data centers, a certain continuity will be required in how they are managed: micro or “classic”, the design and architecture are still essential to optimize their energy consumption and take full advantage of their surface area to anticipate future evolutions.
In other words, the data center field is adapting to operators’ requirements and changes in accordance with manufacturers’ needs for autonomy. In this context, to fully leverage the potential of 5G, it is necessary to build a real strategy to be able to process and store more data on the periphery in a secure way while limiting energy consumption, which is essential given the digital sector’s growing impact and requires all stakeholders, operators, content providers, infrastructure constructors, device makers and consumers, to take responsibility in this area.
By Ali Alaeldine, Director of Projects, APL.
Ali Alaeldine is Director of Projects at APL, a doctor in telecommunications systems from INSA Rennes and an expert in business strategy with a degree from HEC Paris. He has 18 years of experience in directing and managing projects and teams, including eight years in a data center environment. He has participated in strategic projects at a national and international level for companies like SFR, Automic, Thales, Airbus, BNP, MBDA, and Stanley Black & Decker. Ali Alaeldine is a certified cloud computing, SAM and ITIL trainer and is a certified Lean IT, AgilePM and PRINCE2 Practitioner. He holds an engineering degree in information systems and networks and a master’s degree in instrumentation and microelectronics from the University of Metz.