Automation has become a buzzword in the data center industry, as many companies strive to automate as many processes as possible. Currently, the role of automation is seen as a solution that will drive efficiency, transforming many aspects of the modern data center and streamlining certain operations. Although there have been breakthroughs in automation solutions, but will it be on par with human-like problem solving capability.
“As data center practitioners, we are hired to solve business problems, and everything else is secondary. Automation in data centers is only meaningful when it serves the same,” said Joshua Au, a tech community builder and advocate who speaks regularly at regional data center conferences.
Breakthroughs in automated solutions in data centers can be seen through solutions created by companies like Siemens for managing data center infrastructure. These solutions reduce the likelihood of human error and prevent unexpected periods of downtime in facilities.
While advanced solutions using artificial intelligence (AI) can reduce the workload on staff, is it capable of replacing human employees. According to Gartner, by 2025, half of cloud data centers will leverage advanced robots with AI and Machine Learning capabilities, increasing data center operating efficiency by 30%.
One solution is to automate repetitive workloads using a robotic employee, which can help standardize and scale business processes, freeing up human staff to focus on more important analysis and deliberation.
“Automation is about taking away the repetitive tasks from the human staff so they can in turn focus their creative energies on more important tasks that require analysis and deliberation, for improved efficiency and productivity,” said Joshua, who is also the Vice Chairman of the Data Center Task Force in Singapore.
Joshua added that while automation processes has been continuously refined, no solution is capable of replicating human-like problem-solving skills.
“We need to understand the problems faced, and sometimes these are problems that have yet to materialize but exist as residual risks to be looked at. Until automation is able to do so, we will always need people to (a) understand the problem (which often includes a very human and social aspect), (b) communicate the problem statements and proposed action plans, and (c) solicit buy-in. I do not know of any automation that has been able to achieve any of the three,” Joshua added.
Automation has transformed the data center industry, offering solutions that drive efficiency, standardize and scale business processes, and reduce the workload on staff. While there have been significant breakthroughs in automated solutions, human expertise and communication skills remain essential.