Digitalisation refers to the use of data to operate, maintain and optimise equipment and processes. It delivers efficiency out of the box, plus a future-proof platform for growth. It is widely acknowledged that data centres play a crucial role in the process of digitalisation as they are responsible for processing, storing, and transmitting vast amounts of data. However, when it comes to their own operations, it is questionable whether data centres are as adept at embracing digital thinking
Anisur Rahman, who has extensive experience in providing digital solutions to data centres and collaborating with their clients and consultants from the earliest development stages, believes that the industry lags a bit behind in terms of digital thinking. He attributes this mainly to the numerous requirements that data centres must fulfil, such as capacity management, availability assurance, power efficiency, sustainability, reliability, and security, among others. The challenge of meeting all these requirements may result in data centres focusing on immediate operational concerns rather than long-term strategies. Rahman suggests that many data centres in Australia have yet to fully realise the advantages of digitalisation, which delays their adoption of the latest technologies.
According to Rahman, one of the most critical benefits of digitalisation is its ability to provide flexibility and scalability. The equipment can be easily adjusted to changes in power system design, even after installation, any future changes can be implemented through software updates rather than requiring physical hardware alterations or replacements. This enhances the overall adaptability of the equipment and minimises the need for costly and time-consuming physical modifications.
The keynote presentation that Rahman is intending to deliver on May 4th will make the digitalisation process more accessible by looking at it as a four levels which he defines as follows:
- The first level is the supervisory level involving monitoring systems such as EMS for managing non-clinical data,
- The second level deploys remote monitoring and control systems that deal with critical data and provide the ability to manage multiple facilities from a single control centre, for example, will put a premium on presenting relevant data to operators and on configuring or changing a local network remotely that increase operational safety and availability.
- At the base level digitalisation, the principle of IEC61850 device-to-device communication is implemented to establish various schemes like self-healing, interlocks, inter-trip, and CB fail, which ultimately enhances reliability, availability and reduces latency & cost. This level is the third one.
- The fourth level involves the process level digitalisation by implementing IEC61850-9-2 SV communication to bring analog data over Ethernet and using sensors instead of conventional devices to ensure greater safety and accuracy.
Many data centres, Rahman observes, have not moved beyond level 1, mainly because they are not aware of the benefit levels of increased integration and due to aversion to risk: “They want somebody else to first go through all the four levels, see the benefits and then they will use that but nobody wants to be the first one”.
Rahman’s keynote will also look at the current and future role of artificial intelligence in data centre operations.
He sees the goal of the keynote as conveying the benefits of digitalisation and how it has achieved or not achieved in addressing key operational concerns and challenges across the management lifecycle. Rahman stresses that while the presentation will be based on tech innovation it will be accessible to a wide data centre and IT audience. The four levels will be illustrated, explained and explored as will the evolution of digitalisation.
Anisur Rahman will be speaking at W.Media’s CDC Melbourne on Thursday May 4th at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre,