One thing is for certain – No data center is going to be the same after 5G, which is going to give clear insights on the future design of a data center. Also, 5G is going to decide the exact role a data center is going to play in larger networks that are set to be in place in the near future. In the next 4 to 5 years data centers will be compelled to assign half their budgets solely for the support of 5G. How is this budget allocation going to be and where will so much money go? Let’s take a look at the probable answers:
What’s in Store
5G is going to certainly herald certain new aspects, for instance the deployment of the 5G new radio (NR) which is an air interface that is going to take advantage of the new spectrum and thus reduce the reaction time in the millisecond realm. This will enable the deployment of a large number of connected devices and throw up the need for more user-centric networks with greater flexibility.
5G promises some amazing applications like the already-touted self-driving cars, higher levels of automation in industry, easier facial recognition techniques, and communication amongst machines without any human intervention as well as a mind-boggling array of smart city apps. Unless the resulting data-traffic requirements of all these are predicted with some degree of accuracy data centers will never be ready to cater to them.
Accessibility of compute and storage resources
One cannot rule out the mushrooming of pod-type data centers or micro data centers as more users and connected devices start looking for readily available compute and storage resources. Will movement of storage resources to edge not have an effect on core data centers? The answer is yes, but how exactly it is going to affect the existing data centers is quite hard to guess.
One consoling fact (if it may be termed so) is that the advent of 5G may not affect cloud-scale data centers and large enterprise facilities. By virtue of their scale these data centers are designed to manage any increase in data flow. It’s only the multi-tenant data centers that need to look out as they are likely to encounter some disruption. Multi-tenant data centers need to realize that the need of the hour will be moving closer to edge so that they can cater to cloud-scale centers from various regional points of presence.
AI, machine learning and virtualization to take their toll
With virtualization predicted to be present ubiquitously and AI and machine learning not far behind, there’s more disruption in store for data centers. Such advanced technologies will demand greater server speeds and a much larger network capacity as they need to match huge volumes of edge services. Data centers will be faced with the new challenges posed by the need to process mammoth data pools.
Most of the data used to drive future AI models will certainly be edge-based. This portends a radical change in the way large-scale data centers support such large networks. As far as service provider networks are concerned core data centers will encounter the challenges thrown up by the rapidly increasing virtualization. With wireless and wireline networks set to become virtualized, there will be a stronger need for single physical layer infrastructure.
To sum it up, there are still many unanswered questions even as 5G network services are set to begin operations. Data center managers and CIOs need to gear up in order to garner benefits from 5G. The cascading new data from edge calls for enhancing compute and storage horsepower.
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