By Jacques Fluet, Data Center Program Director, TIA
TIA recently released the Edge Data Center Addendum to the ANSI/TIA-942-B data center infrastructure standard. The Addendum defines requirements for newer “edge” or “micro” data centers, which often come in prefabricated enclosures that are significantly smaller than the more traditional sprawling warehouses.
The TIA-942-B-1 addendum is a significant step for the globally deployed standard because, as 5G services expand, new applications are emerging and the exponential growth of connected IoT devices are requiring more of the “intelligence” to be closer to the application end user and their devices. The more local processing of data helps applications to meet their latency and performance requirements as well as reduce the volume of raw data uploaded into the cloud.
These micro data centers, which can be as small as a wall cabinet or as big as a couple of shipping containers, have their own unique characteristics. They are typically pre-manufactured to be unstaffed and remotely monitored and controlled, with the ability to be located just about anywhere that has access to proper resources. They can host a wide variety of applications, some being mission-critical (smart factories, telehealth, traffic control, payment processing, first responder communications, etc.), and other applications that are not as critical (mobile advertising, weather monitoring, house appliance monitoring, online gaming, etc.). The TIA-942-B-1 Addendum covers requirements for both critical and non-critical applications.
Following the release of the addendum, the members of TIA’s TR-42 committee who developed the standard have opened the full TIA-942-B standard for revision. As the input and comments are collected, reviewed, debated, and voted on: the result will be the next version of the standard, TIA-942-C. As technology, business requirements, regulations, user needs all continue to evolve, the next revisions will provide critical guidance and requirements for data centers over the next 4-5 years.
Sustainability and carbon neutral targets are only going to play an increasing role in the ICT industry and the data center worlds. Data center owners are seeing firsthand impact of climate change as they have had to adapt their facilities to withstand more extreme weather conditions.
At the same time, designers are working to help this critical element of digital infrastructure to be more sustainable. Rack power density is increasing continuously which is driving improvements to cooling systems. Cleaner emergency power systems are also emerging, and enabling renewable power sources, driving more power efficiency, lowering water usage; these are all now common data center design goals.
Artificial intelligence is also playing a larger role in data center monitoring and management. As this trend continues, more data centers will have ‘lights out’ operations – being fully monitored and controlled remotely without staff on site. To be efficient and secure, the data centers are using various sensors to monitor aspects of operations and help detect anomalies and service degradation before a failure occurs. Some network software can even automatically reconfigure systems to proactively maintain performance while alerting a maintenance crew.
As more of our lives depend on the digital world that connects us, reliability of online services is becoming essential to modern society, and therefore, our data centers need to be as future-ready as possible. We are entering an exciting new era of connectivity and now is the time to get involved to help shape the evolution of data centers and all the possibilities they will enable in the future.
If you are interested to join the industry group working on the next generation of data center standards, please contract firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy International Data Center Day!