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Sustainable strategies for harnessing AI

In today’s digital world, businesses are seeking innovative ways to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to drive operational efficiency and growth. However, integrating AI presents a unique set of challenges, particularly in the context of data center strategies. Given AI’s profound influence on data center technology, it’s essential for businesses to develop sustainable strategies that can effectively harness the power of AI.

04 / 22 / 2024
5 minute read
Sustainable strategies for harnessing AI

Our recent webinar, “Data Centers in the AI Era, Emerging Trends and Strategies,” discussed the influence of AI on data center technology and strategies. The panelists highlighted the challenges of managing hybrid IT workloads, the increasing demand for high-density use cases, and the importance of sustainable energy sources.

“In the rapidly evolving world of AI, the demand for advanced data center capabilities is escalating. The challenges of managing power, cooling, and high-density use cases are significant, but so are the opportunities for innovation and sustainability. As we navigate this landscape, the importance of a single portal, a single-pane-of-glass approach for managing IT assets, becomes clear. We must balance the efficiency of centralizing data with the resiliency of distributing it, always designing for resiliency up-front. And as we look to the future, we see the potential for flexible connectivity options and the use of AI technology for preventative security measures. It’s an exciting time to be in this industry, and we must all be good stewards of it, meeting the demands and challenges head-on.”

The AI era is rapidly influencing data center technology and strategies, with strong demand across all US markets. This includes the need for advanced capabilities, security measures, and sustainable practices. Additionally, IT leaders face challenges with hybrid IT workloads, particularly in managing power and cooling in data centers. The network plays a crucial role in enabling these workloads.

In this blog, we’ll explore some of the panel’s key insights for how businesses can streamline their operations by integrating AI with sustainable strategies.

Key trends in AI-driven business infrastructure and sustainability

High-density deployments

One of the key trends is the increasing demand for high-density deployments. AI is driving this demand, with high-density use cases becoming more common. Businesses need to be able to handle 50 kW to a rack today, and this is expected to increase to 100 kW and then 300 kW in the future. This demand for space and power is forcing businesses to broaden out to where these workloads will land. As a result, we are seeing AI deployments in non-traditional markets, driven by the need for quick deployment to meet end customer demands. Around scalability, data center providers need to handle high-density use cases and meet the increasing demand for contiguous space.

Sustainable energy and labor sources

Another significant trend is the increasing importance of sustainable energy sources and innovative labor strategies. As businesses consume more power, it is crucial for them to become more intelligent about how they consume this power. The industry is shifting from fossil fuels to renewables, and businesses are holding their providers accountable for this mix. At the same time, businesses are also focusing on improving their water use efficiency and becoming carbon neutral. Sustainability and renewable energy are key considerations, with potential for revenue generation from waste heat and a focus on improving Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE). Plus, being good stewards of the industry and meeting industry requirements are crucial.

Evolution of the cloud

The evolution of cloud infrastructure to better support these demands is another key trend. Hybrid IT is becoming the norm, with businesses wanting access to the latest technology and the ability to choose where their AI workloads will be. The connectivity, redundancy, security, and resiliency offered by hybrid IT are what IT consumers want. Flexential Fabric—a single portal, single pane of glass approach that is important for companies to manage their IT assets—is an example of this evolution, providing a conduit to different environments and enabling businesses to take competitive advantage where it makes sense for them.

“We've got approximately $1.6 billion in green bonds that require us to have a 1.4 PUE or below for our facilities as well as zero WE and water use efficiency. So, we're working really hard to be a good steward in the industry and making sure that we're able to meet those requirements that the industry is demanding.”

—Ryan Mallory, COO, Flexential

Balancing efficiency and resiliency in AI adoption

One of the key challenges businesses face in adopting AI is balancing the need for efficiency with the need for resiliency. Centralizing data can improve efficiency, but it can also create vulnerabilities. On the other hand, distributing data can enhance resiliency but may compromise efficiency. To navigate this challenge, businesses need to adopt a multi-tiered architecture that allows for both centralized and distributed data.

Another significant challenge is the threat of ransomware attacks. These attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and pose a significant threat to businesses, emphasizing the need for continuous security awareness training and the use of AI technology for preventative measures. To counter this threat, businesses need to prioritize disaster recovery and data protection in their technology budgets. This involves developing a robust disaster recovery plan, testing that plan regularly, and creating a culture of security awareness within the organization.

In summing up, the future landscape of data centers in the AI era is being sculpted by the growing demand for high-density deployments, the imperative of sustainable energy sources, and the unfolding evolution of cloud infrastructure. As we progress, businesses need to adapt to these shifts to maintain a competitive edge and satisfy customer demands. The profound influence of AI on data center technology and strategies continues to redefine the operational processes of businesses.

Moreover, the integration of AI presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. In order to successfully navigate these waters and capitalize on the opportunities, a strategic approach to AI adoption is critical for businesses. This strategic approach should focus on balancing efficiency and resilience, prioritizing disaster recovery and data protection, and utilizing AI as a catalyst for innovation and efficiency. By adopting this strategy, businesses can harness the transformative power of AI to drive their growth and success in the digital age.

Watch the full webinar, Data Centers in the AI Era, Emerging Trends and Strategies, on-demand now.


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