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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being introduced on business processes, data analytics and other enterprise functions, but its role in data center automation is to transform not only the data center but all of its infrastructure – physical and virtual, to the edge. And beyond.
As with everything AI touches, the data center will become thinner, less expensive to operate and achieve higher performance metrics as the transition unfolds, and much of what will be done by human operators will be automated – e.g. That’s what was happening in the East. AI era. However, experts predict that the shortage of qualified data center operators will continue and may worsen.
AI of all trades
Clearly, there are many ways AI can be used to automate data center management. Rohan Seth of Yotta, a collocation provider, highlights low hanging fruits such as load management, power and resource consumption and security. However, he says, due to a combination of mistrust, lack of skills and potential risk of disruption, some organizations are taking advantage of AI to its full potential.
This, of course, will not last forever. Citing Gartner’s research, Seth notes that by the middle of the decade, the transition from big data to small and large data will be in full swing, and this will force data centers to work more flexibly and less expensively. Instead of just crunching through extremely large data sets, AI will use a smaller volume of more specific data that will be taken from multiple sources and remain in multiple formats.
While the trend towards intelligent automation was on the rise before the epidemic, the sudden lockdown and the resulting work-from-home culture have brought the movement to a head, says tech entrepreneur Don Basil. During the period 2020/2021, 83% of organizations have increased their budgets for AI and machine learning (ML), and this has already increased processing speeds by 30% and brought data barriers to record lows. In part, this is the reason why research houses like Mordor Intelligence forecast the market for data center automation to double to about $ 20 billion by 2026.
IT job growth
Automation is a scary term for any workforce, and the addition of AI to data center management is no cause for concern in the IT department. But according to a recent report from the Uptime Institute, the data center will continue to face a constant shortage of staff even as AI becomes more prevalent in the management stack. In fact, the demand for human operators is set to increase from today’s 2 million to 2.3 million by 2025, although more than 90% of IT executives expect AI to perform many positive, repetitive tasks of data and infrastructure management.
One of the biggest challenges that IT will face: managing the growth of data loads while maintaining consistency and controlling costs, something that AI can help but cannot handle on its own.
And while AI is poised to infiltrate many aspects of the data center, the fact is that most of the physical infrastructure is still not ready for change. A recent Gartner report noted that most mechanical infrastructures still lack the sensor-based monitoring capabilities required for intelligent control. This means that most of the Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) stack will remain on manual footing for at least a few more years, although the advent of 5G and IoT-connected Edge will increase data load and resource usage.
All of this points to a very good performance for AI in both the data center and the IT workforce. The persistent job shortage will probably increase salaries, especially for those who have increased their resume with AI skills, while the demand for increasingly sophisticated intelligent platforms continues to grow steadily over the next decade or so.
At the same time, data users in the workplace and consumer markets should see a dramatic improvement in speed, accuracy and overall simplicity while AI removes most of the complexity from the user interface. And the modern data center itself will be able to do more while consuming less, which is beneficial for all.
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