One of the first publications on 5G reached the masses in 2013. Over the past four years, it has transformed into a trend even the most astute industry pundits could never have foreseen.
A couple of years ago, only telecom companies focused on the wonders of 5G technology. The discussion has rapidly spread to those other industries, including data center managers and engineers. Data centers around the world are now bracing for the looming 5G revolution that will change lives forever.
Here are some of the biggest changes that 5G is bringing to the data center industry.
New emphasis on localization
For years, data centers have emphasized the benefits of remote data storage. Customers could choose from any number of data centers, because data could be stored from anywhere in the world. This gave customers a lot of flexibility and buying power on the free market.
5G technology has framed the discussion in a new way. It has opened the door for new applications that were inconceivable a couple of years ago. Autonomous cars will depend on data centers. However, the network latency must be extremely fast to make such an application possible.
In order to transmit signals from the data center to the vehicle in less than a millisecond, the data center will need to be located near the user. How does this change the logistics of using data centers for managing the next generation of vehicles? Here are some applications:
- Initially, a growing number of data centers will need to be built in highly populated regions. These applications may not be available in more rural communities.
- As demand for this new generation of technology becomes more universal, additional data centers will need to be established throughout the country. Smaller data centers will be built in areas they have never been seen.
Localization may be the main driver in the data center industry in the next few years.
Urgent need to scale data center infrastructure
In the near future, 5G technology is going to create a significant strain on existing data centers. They will need to quickly scale their infrastructure to accommodate IoT Devices, which are growing exponentially every year.
Data centers must assess their bandwidth requirements and upgrade their facilities accordingly. LightReading’s Roz Rosebero gives a succinct overview of their changing needs:
'The most recent Cisco VNI forecast shows that the number of connected devices will grow from 7.9 billion in 2015 to 11.6 billion in 2020 -- and much of that increase will come from IoT. All that traffic needs to be processed somewhere, leading to increases in data center capacity. Cisco's Global Cloud Index estimates that global data center traffic was 5 zettabytes in 2016, and will grow to 10.4 zettabytes in 2019. This will force data center operators to not only dramatically scale their data center networking infrastructure, but do so quickly and cost-effectively. Automating operations is the only way this can happen.'
Many companies are developing new hardware and software, which can provide 5G broadband with speeds up to 20 Gbps. This comes with added maintenance and testing of 5G networks to ensure the added volume.
Software-defined power will be the new norm
Scaling data center infrastructure won’t be sufficient by itself. Data centers must also depend on new technology known as software-defined power (SDP). This merges the new hardware capabilities with a new generation of software, which can drastically improve network latency and minimize data center challenges.
There are countless changes on the horizon, which data centers must be prepared for. Fortunately, a number of new 5G solutions are reaching the market, which will streamline adoption of the new services.