The Growing Role of Artificial Intelligence in Data Centers


According to Infosys, more than 75 percent of IT experts view artificial intelligence as a permanent strategic priority which can assist them in innovating their organization’s structure. Infosys’ survey receives credibility from the fact that the AI systems are expected to receive investments worth $57 billion by the year 2021. That being said, the implementation of AI is a complex task which requires considerable time and decision-making to go smoothly. Today, AI has initiated the transformation of all the global industries.

One of such industries is the data center industry where AI is making its mark slowly and gradually. Data centers power the operations of organizations all around the world. The data volumes are increasing daily, putting more and more strain on the hardware and software setups in the organization. Consequently, managers are forced to introduce new servers and hardware equipment so their IT infrastructure becomes powerful enough to store and process data without any issue. Currently, most of the centers are not able to maximize their output because they use legacy systems. So how is AI transforming data centers?

Energy Consumption

Energy consumption remains one of the most critical and dire issues in data centers. Bear in mind that as of now, about 6 percent of the world’s electricity is used by data centers. With the computing requirements climbing up day-by-day, it is fair to assume that the energy consumption of data centers will also increase.

On one hand, companies have to address the cost factor, and on the other hand, global warming is mounting pressure on organizations to do their part and act more ‘responsibly’ towards the environment. Particularly, the data center industry is one of those industries that are viewed negatively by the supporters of green energy.

Some data centers have attempted to address such issues by accepting renewable energy. However, there are qualms about its ineffectiveness for smaller setups. There are few companies that have resorted to AI as the answer to their common problems.

AI is being used for real-time monitoring to reduce energy consumption. Moreover, AI is used for parallel and distributed computing to achieve a greater level of productivity. Some organizations have identified and resolved networking troubleshooting via AI. Similarly, there are those who adjust their heating and cooling mechanisms via AI. Due to the widespread use of artificial intelligence, there is no need for staff members to continuously manage mundane tasks such as setting the office temperature.

Security

Security is also one of the most pressing issues for data centers. Cybercriminals have particularly set their eyes on the data centers. With the amount of sensitive data being stored in these data centers, it is not surprising that hackers try to target these centers. For instance, if a cybercriminal group succeeds in a ransomware attack on a data center then by just locking the servers, they bring the entire organization down on its knees. Dreading the losses due to downtime and reputational damage, the company has no option but to pay a ransom to save their data center from complete destruction. Unfortunately, ransom payment does not guarantee the return of data. While organizations are trying their best to infuse the most effective measures to restrict such attacks, they have found AI as an underrated ally in their proactive action against cyber attacks.

AI’s addition in the equation offers a greater level of flexibility and sophistication to protect the data and minimize the dependence of systems on manual intervention. Unlike humans, AI can be available 24/7 and may become the wall that ultimately safeguards you from a cyber attack. For instance, Darktrace—a British organization—leveraged AI to specify a normal network behavior where cyber threats are assessed and identified on the basis of a deviated activity.

Data Center Staffing

AI is also offering a chance for organizations to reduce their staff shortages so they can assign their qualified personnel to the relevant areas. It is expected that with AI in the mix, the standard tech support responsibilities in the center would be handed over to AI-based systems.  These responsibilities would include automation of routine and mundane tasks like the following:

  • Resolving any incoming issue.
  • Working on the help desk support.
  • Provision of services and resources.

Additionally, AI would provide an edge by capturing new symptoms, events, and scenarios for the generation of a functional knowledge base to aid the external and internal stakeholders to learn from the past issues and avoid repeating the same mistakes in future.

However, there will be times when human intervention would be necessary. In such cases, a connection can be established with senior staff members who can fulfill the required task through their years of experience.

Predictive Analytics

With enhanced outage monitoring, AI is providing a major advantage to data centers. AI systems are able to detect and predict any incoming data outage. They can continuously track the performance of all the servers and assess the storage operations like the utilization of disk.

All of this has been made possible through contemporary predictive analytics tools which do not only increase reliability but also are fairly easy to use. Probably the biggest advantage of predictive analytics is that it supervises the workload through optimization, lessens the burden from systems, and distributes the workload more evenly among all the hardware tools.

This modern outlook of data centers is widely different from the conventional data center practices. Traditionally, such troubleshooting was based completely on manual assistance, research, and computation—computers were merely a tool to execute and command their strategies. AI, on the other hand, positions itself as an independent player which can be seen more as a professional colleague rather than a tool.

Final Thoughts

As the management of data centers becomes tougher and more complex with the passing time, AI has been a welcome entry in the space as an IT technology. AI has improved the overall output without any notable compromise. It remains to be seen what more advancements arrive in data centers in the near future. For the time being, AI has done a marvelous job at managing data centers.

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