AI: The New Frontier for Data Centre Optimisation

June 6 2023, by David Hirst | Category: Data Centres
AI: The New Frontier for Data Centre Optimisation | Macquarie Data Centres

Data centres are growing in both size and complexity, with more data being generated and stored than ever before.

To support this booming demand and run more efficiently, modern data centres are moving away from old school mechanical operations to become increasingly more application driven.

And now Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here to turbo-charge this optimisation.

By analysing vast amounts of data, AI and machine learning (ML) systems can help businesses, like data centres, optimise their operations in ways that were previously impossible.

The data centre industry is still very much in the discovery phase of exploring how AI can be applied to data centre operations. So, while it’s exciting to think about the possibilities, it’s also important to approach with caution and be hyper-aware of the risks.

Opportunities for Optimisation.

How can AI be implemented to improve data centre efficiency? Here are my predictions for the main areas where AI will change how we operate our data centres

  1. Predictive Maintenance: A big benefit of AI is the ability to predict equipment failures before they happen. By monitoring data from sensors and other sources, AI systems can identify patterns that may indicate a potential failure and alert data centre operators to take action before the equipment goes offline. This can help data centres avoid costly downtime and maintain the highest levels of uptime.
  2. Energy Efficiency: Another area where AI could make a big impact is in optimising energy usage. Due to the growing amount of global data being consumed, data centre energy consumption is naturally increasing, so finding ways to reduce power utilisation efficiency (PUE) is critical for both cost savings and environmental sustainability. By analysing data on energy usage and adjusting cooling and other settings accordingly, AI and ML systems could help data centres achieve significant energy savings.
  3. Design and construction: AI could assist in the design and construction of data centres by simulating different scenarios and optimising factors such as layout, cooling infrastructure, airflow management, and equipment placement. It could also recommend design changes that improve energy efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance overall performance.
  4. Capacity Planning: AI could also be used to improve capacity planning, by analysing trends on usage patterns and demand to make accurate predictions about future capacity needs. This would help data centres ensure that they have sufficient resources to meet customer needs, without over-investing in capacity that may go unused.
  5. Security: AI could be used to enhance data centre security by detecting and preventing potential threats. By analysing data from multiple sources, including security cameras, access logs, and network traffic, AI systems can identify anomalies that may indicate a security breach and alert IT teams to act.
  6. Autonomous Operations: AI could enable autonomous data center operations by automating routine tasks, such as system monitoring, equipment provisioning, and troubleshooting. AI-driven systems can detect and respond to issues immediately which will improve operational efficiency, reduce human errors, and team members to focus on more strategic tasks.

Getting real about the risks.

While the potential benefits of AI in data centre operations are significant, it’s also important to approach these technologies with caution.

Data centres must invest in the necessary infrastructure and skills to support AI systems. Importantly, they must prioritise risk and security to ensure that these powerful tools are used responsibly and don’t compromise the data centres operations.

The Future is AI.

We’re still many years away from understanding the full potential of AI in automation and optimisation of data centre operations. But one thing I know for sure is it’s going to have a big impact on the data centre industry and the digital economy.

At Macquarie Data Centres, we are committed to exploring the potential of AI to improve our operations and better serve our customers. By embracing these technologies and understanding the opportunities (and the risks), we believe we can continue to stay ahead of the curve in the rapidly-evolving data centre industry.

About the author.

David Hirst is a true tech enthusiast with an inherent talent for staying ahead of the curve in the fast-moving technology industry. As the Group Executive for Macquarie Data Centers, he has been successfully leading the team for over 14 years, where - through a combination of innovation, resilience and captaincy - he has grown the company to be one of Australia's leading data centre providers. Always eager to explore the potential of emerging technologies, such as AI, he is a true industry trendsetter.

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