By 2025, half of cloud data centres will deploy advanced robots with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities, resulting in 30% higher operating efficiency, according to Gartner.
“The gap between growing server and storage volumes at data centres, and the number of capable works to manage them all is expanding,” said Sid Nag, research vice president at Gartner. “The risk of doing nothing to address these shortcomings is significant for companies.
“Data centre operations will only increase in complexity as organisations move more diverse workloads to the cloud, and as the cloud becomes the platform for a combinatorial use of additional technologies such as edge and 5G, to name a few.”
Tedious and repetitive
Most of the work that takes place in a data centre is tedious, complex and repetitive. Examples include capacity planning, rightsizing virtual machine and container environments, or guaranteeing the efficient use of resources to avoid “cloud waste” for enterprises and their buyers.
These are all areas where robots excel. “Data centres are an ideal sector to pair robots and AI to deliver a more secure, accurate and efficient environment that requires much less human intervention,” said Nag.
There are four areas in which robots will be the most impactful to automating data centres over the next five years:
- Sever upgrades and maintenance: Once servers are phased out, the task of decommissioning and destroying drives can be accomplished faster and more efficiently by industrial robots than humans. This is especially true for companies that conduct mass upgrades frequently, for example any cloud provider.
- Monitoring: Robot sensor probes provide much more granular server rack temperature data without the need to install any invasive physical hardware. Robots used for remote monitoring can also be utilised to collect other data, such as sound and images to detect any irregularities.
- Data centre security: Maintaining a digitally and physically secure data centre facility is a top priority for all data centre companies. Robots can provide a layer of physical security through a range of different capabilities including human temperature checks via heat sensors or license plate recognition for parking facilities.
- AI/ML in cloud operations: In conjunction with robots, modern AI- and ML-enabled technology enables the monitoring and management of IT processes in the data centre. Users of this technology, such as site reliability engineers, can interact and communicate with the given platform through natural language. These platforms are capable of learning from past situations to improve efficiency in future instances.
“While robots have already been leveraged across industries such as automotive and manufacturing, opportunities across data centres have been overlooked,” said Nag. “IT leaders can steer the intelligent automation of cloud data centre operations and processes to create key differentiators for their enterprises, such as increased uptime and meeting SLAs for their cloud offerings, which will become more of a reality through the use of robots.”