How AFL is set to Redefine the Next in Hyperscaler Connectivity

The construction and spending on hyperscale observed little to no effects of the pandemic as prominent providers such as Google and Microsoft kept up with their spending.

For instance, in April 2020, Facebook, Google, and Apple announced a slowing of construction of major new data centres in the US and Europe. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is creating a high demand for hyperscale data centres across the world.

As most global workforce shifts to remote working, coupled with an unseen pace of digital adoption, hyperscale facilities are assuming significance. The increasing adoption of digitalisation, rising investments from telecommunication & service providers, and government initiatives towards the digital economy are significant factors for the hyperscale data centre market growth. In terms of hyperscale construction, Apple, Facebook, Google, AWS, Microsoft, Alibaba, Baidu, OVH, and China Telecom are investing billions of dollars in the market, according to a Research and Markets report.

“Today’s global Hyperscale data center market is an extremely dynamic and ever- evolving marketplace to say the least. Hyperscale players are redefining how people interact, conduct business, consume products, and even conduct day-to-day activities through a new set of digital innovations,” said Steve Althoff, President, AFL Hyperscale. Some of the key technologies in the near future will include the Internet of things (IoT) which will expand the collection and analysis of data to increase business productivity and enhance personal living.

Add to that 5G networks which will allow data to be collected and utilised in real time; Automation & robotics will increase business personal productivity efficiencies. Streaming video applications is expected to increase personal interaction across the world. Artificial intelligence and Virtual Reality to enable a smarter planet. Machine Learning will allow for the processing of Big data and the output of key metrics to make sense (of all the Big data), stated Althoff. This new digital revolution is happening on a global basis and affecting everybody around the world.

Market requirements in the hyperscale space

With all the different applications and platforms there is an increased digital bandwidth to empower machine learning, Internet of Things, and streaming video applications. “We see many of our Hyperscale clients making a transition from 40G to 100G and now 400G fiber optic transmissions. What we are seeing in real time is customers asking to increase the bandwidth and look at how I can put it to 800G. The jump is significant. It will involve parallel optics. There is a leap towards higher speeds,” said Robert Dennelly, Director Of Solutions Engineering, AFL Hyperscale.

He further explained that these new higher data rate speeds will require the use of advanced new switches, servers, and electric storage devices as well as enhanced fiber optic infrastructure to transmit at higher speeds. With higher data rate speeds, the hyperscale players will be faced with new challenges regarding power consumption and cooling, which is much more an important concern due to current Climate Change issues. With 5G there is a market need for real time information. Latency is another important aspect. People are also moving to co-location facilities close to the client and the source of information. Reduction in digital data transmission latency is important to enable the use of real time data collection for 5G technology.

These new low latency requirements are requiring advancements in active equipment and fiber optic infrastructure. It is also required that data center halls be built locally, close to the source for which the data is being collected and used. Increase in scale of the data center footprint is important as it would increase the efficiencies and productivity. As more and more data is being collected, processed, analysed, and stored, the size of the white space inside data halls is only getting larger. Size is not the only thing that matters, hyperscale players also have to build their data centers to be agile and elastic to be able to better service their customers.

It is very important in the hyperscale market to be able to offer data management services based on their clients’ business needs, which quite often fluctuates throughout the business year. While Hyperscale players are building very large data center campuses and clusters, they are also building smaller local data centers, quite often using colocation facilities, to be close to their clients to reduce latency.

For these applications, the data centre halls are typically in a city or urban environment where the cost of commercial estate is high. For these types of applications, density and power consumption become much more important factors. In today’s market, probably the most important, is speed to market. Digital innovation is happening so fast, the hyperscale players are really challenged with keeping pace with their clients’ wants and needs. They are under constant pressure to get data halls up and running fast so that they can provide their customers with today’s necessary services,” said Dennelly.

AFL, and its parent company Fujikura, are committed to investing meaningful capital into the continuous advancements in fiber optic technology. With the ever-changing evolution of digital technology, we know that fiber optics will have to be further advanced forward to enable higher bandwidth, lower latency, and more density to service the Hyperscale market, stated Althoff. The hyperscale data centre market by investment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.02 per cent during the period 2021-2026.

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