How The Internet of Things Is Revolutionizing The Data Center

May 17, 2016 at 5:16 pm  •  Posted in Data Communications  •  0 Comments

“If policy makers and businesses get it right, linking the physical and digital worlds could generate up to $11.1 trillion a year in economic value by 2025.”

McKinsey & Company: Unlocking the potential of the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT)

We’re not living out a scene of The Jetsons just yet, but we’re getting pretty close. In the not-too-distant future, your fridge will take care of the grocery list, your car will drive itself, and you’ll be able to monitor your pet’s vitals from your smartphone. The future is smart—scary smart.

All of these conveniences will soon be made possible by the “Internet of Things” (IoT), an advancement of the internet that allows everyday objects to send and receive data. In a nutshell, IoT consists of a sensor or device on a network, a place to store and compute data, and some form of connectivity—wired or wireless.

The “Internet of Things” may seem like just another catchy buzz phrase that’s creating a stir at the office watercooler. But this shift is fundamentally changing how we live our lives and do business. Most importantly, IoT has the potential to completely disrupt how data centers  are set up and run.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at how the Internet of Things drives the need for total uptime, smart storage, and efficient cooling in the data center.

How IoT Impacts Data Centers

Total Uptime

According to an article by DatacenterDynamics  (based on a study by Ponemon Institute), just one minute of downtime costs the average data center $7,900 USD.

Clearly, downtime is a huge concern for data centers. As IoT proliferates further, downtime becomes an even pricier prospect. To reduce or eliminate downtime, forward-thinking data centers rely on smart sensors that measure everything from temperature to access controls and equipment.

By using timely metrics collected inside the data center, we can work towards higher efficiency and minimal downtime. To achieve these goals, Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) technology continues to advance, providing precise metrics around:

  • Temperature in the data center
  • Air pressure underneath the floor
  • Quality of electricity inside the data center
  • Electrical current of rack PDUs or devices
  • Intelligent monitoring of aggregate PDU power
  • Occupancy
  • Location of servers and storage
  • Whether a cabinet door is open or closed

DCIM is important for monitoring what’s happening inside the data center, but it’s not fully implemented yet. Some data centers still track analytics in spreadsheets. But with DCIM, data centers get the metrics they need to be more efficient, make better decisions, and minimize downtime.

Consolidating multiple devices and device data through a central gateway means a reduction in costly network switch ports or IP addresses, faster polling of data, simplified upgrades, and easy troubleshooting of devices. 

Panduit’s SmartZone™ Rack Energy Kits meet the needs of small data centers with a robust and cost-effective Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solution. 


Smart Storage

With the rise of IOT, data collection is becoming extremely advanced; this drives the need for additional storage capacity in the data center.

According to ENERGY STAR (Better Management of Data Storage), data storage is a rapidly growing sector, with storage growth estimated around 10 to 24 percent annually in 2012 alone (based on an Information Week survey).

According to an article by Gartner, as we collect more and more data, the demand for additional storage capacity will continue to grow. The article also suggests that data centers are looking for better methods of harvesting data in a cost-effective manner. Information Week Network Computing echoes these concerns, adding that “The Internet of Things presents a new set of data storage and protection challenges.”

The need for greater storage capacity will grow along with IoT. Whether data is being collected on retail buying habits or a jet engine’s performance, that data must be stored and harvested in a way that benefits businesses and individuals—without overloading the data center.

Efficient Cooling

As more demands are placed on data centers, owners and operators must contend with unprecedented cooling challenges and rising energy costs.

As data centers scale in size, complexity, and density, advanced cooling is needed to protect servers and equipment from crashing or overheating. But a rising energy bill makes it difficult for efficiency-conscious data centers to run a tight ship. All of these factors drive the need for efficient, cost-effective cooling methods.

In the data center, reducing a costly air-conditioning bill isn’t as easy as opening a window or running an extra fan or two. To address complex cooling concerns and eliminate a soaring AC bill, Microsoft moved a self-contained data center below the surface of the ocean. But the average data center doesn’t need to go to such extreme measures to achieve efficient cooling

How can Graybar help?

Graybar provides the power, distribution systems, cooling, and connectivity that today’s data centers need to run efficiently. Our team works hard on behalf of electrical and cabling contractors to help you get the job done on time and on budget.

Graybar can also provide the technical resources you need along the way. As an additional value-add, our team can assist you in all the important conversations with data center owners and operators. If you need help with your data center project, drop us a line.


Over To You

Join the conversation by leaving a comment below, or connecting with us on Twitter @GraybarESP or on Facebook.  You can also sign up for our IOT Newsletter. 


Todd Reed, National Market ManagerAbout The Author
Todd Reed, National Market Manager

As National Market Manager at Graybar, Todd’s goal is to find the best products and solutions to help contractors work more efficiently, stay safe on the job, and win more productive and profitable business.




Sources & Credits

The Globe & Mail Report on Business: 8 ways the Internet of things will change the way we live and work
McKinsey & Company: Unlocking the potential of the Internet of Things
EcoBreeze Free Cooling: Schneider-Electric (YouTube)
The New York Times: Microsoft Plumbs Ocean’s Depths to Test Underwater Data Center
Gartner: Gartner Says the Internet of Things Will Transform the Data Center
DatacenterDynamics: One minute of data center downtime costs US$7,900 on average
Energy Star: Better Management of Data Storage
Information Week Network Computing: Internet Of Things: What About Data Storage?


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