Optimising data centers in the digital age with OCP

Optimised data centers with open infrastructures are becoming ever more crucial to meet increasing demands of cloud service providers, telcos and enterprises in the digital age.

As data volumes rise, older data centers are not always equipped to implement newer styles of hardware or designed to efficiently handle fully loaded and fully equipped racks.

On W.Media’s third Tech Talk, Steve Helvie, the VP of Channel at the Open Compute Project Foundation, revealed they are seeing an increase in density per rack across various markets. This shows the increasing demand on data centers and the types of workloads people are starting to run.

“Even public sectors are starting to ask more about the types of GPUs they may be able to run,” said Mr. Helvie.

This increase in density creates issues around the types of facilities where these racks can be deployed. And these new types of hardware also brings concerns for power efficiency to the rack.

OCP addressed these issues by recently developing the OCP Ready™ Facility Recognition Program. This includes a set of guidelines and a site assessment test to identify optimised data centers capable of handling, understanding and supporting OCP racks and infrastructure.

“End customers are looking for those facilities that understand OCP and can rely on local support at that facility and know that they can grow in that facility,” said Mr. Helvie.

OCP is now in their third version of their Open Compute Rack, which will be the most comprehensive and converged rack architecture, as a lot of OCP members, including Facebook, Google and Microsoft have come together on this version. The newest version of the rack covers density issues as well as the new wave of architecture.

“The main goal of the OCP Community is reducing investment operation cost, reducing energy consumption, and most importantly, sharing ideas and know-how,” said Resul Altinkilic, Project Manager of Global Key Accounts for IT at Rittal, a Platinum OCP member.

But why should you choose open hardware? This was an important question Rittal asked to their customers and partners. The top three answers given were cost reduction, power efficiency and standardisation.

“When you use one specification and you have the flexibility to buy the same rack or hardware under the same specifications, it is standardisation. With power efficiency, you don’t have to transition from AC to DC,” said Mr. Altinkilic.

Singapore-based data center provider, SpaceDC, became the first data center in Asia to achieve the OCP Ready™ certification by demonstrating its ability to create highly efficient, optimised data centers and meet OCP guidelines.

SpaceDC proved to OCP that their JAK2 facility in Indonesia was capable of accommodating racks weighing 500kg and allowing end-users to smoothly deploy fully populated OCP Racks without delay.

Busbars and fan walls are used throughout their data centers to enable configuration of racks to high densities and remove the need for maintenance staff to enter the data center for electrical or mechanical services, said Darren Hawkins, the Founder and CEO of SpaceDC.

These moves by tech giants, hardware solution developers and data center providers to join OCP’s Community has started to show us why the OCP hardware market is forecasted as a US$10 billion industry.

> Watch ‘A Look Inside an OCP Optimised Data Center in Asia Pacific’ on demand

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NTUC survey reveals digital upskilling a top priority for employers in Singapore amid pandemic, with digital marketing ranking highest

An NTUC LearningHub survey has revealed digital upskilling as a top priority for employers in Singapore, with digital marketing being a top skill, as digital transformation becomes imperative amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many businesses in Singapore have seen their businesses fall by over 50% during the coronavirus outbreak. To remain viable and resilient, organisations have been forced to accelerate or adopt digital transformation plans. 

“Many employers are readier than before to embrace digital solutions that previously seemed daunting, and I foresee digitalisation becoming a core strategy for businesses,” said Mr. Kwek Kok Kwong, NTUC LearningHub’s CEO.

NTUC LearningHub’s Employer Skills Survey found that 58% of Singapore employers are upskilling their workforce in technology-related skills, with digital marketing rated the top skill by 44% of employers across all industries, and 59% in the Trade and Connectivity industry.

Why is digital marketing so important?

There is no question, the world is rapidly going digital. The risk of being left behind and unheard is increasing if you fail to digitally transform.

Physical stores are putting up their shutters and entering the virtual space, consumers are turning to online shopping and a business’ ability to stand out amongst the increasingly saturated digital landscape will be its greatest competitive advantage

“To mitigate the loss of face-to-face selling, digital marketing becomes an imperative to reach out to a huge marketplace of prospects who are now online,” said Anthony Chew, the Director of ICT Product Division at NTUC LearningHub.

Having a website that provides customers with information is no longer sufficient. Businesses today are launching new websites, creating social media campaigns and improving their search engine optimisation (SEO) to be the first to appear on customers’ screens.

The power of digital marketing gives you the ability to understand your audience and see measurable results on a micro level.

“From whether an individual opened an email and read it, or responded to a call to action, digital marketing allows businesses to hyper-personalise campaigns on an individual level,” added Mr. Chew.

Digital marketing is expected to become a long-term marketing contingency plan to tide over the pandemic by reaching customers and generating revenue.

Mr. Chew said: “Digital marketing is not as simple as it seems. Many businesses are taking their operations online for the first time, but the majority are inexperienced with the complexities of virtual promotion and selling.”

Digital marketing encompasses a myriad of services ranging from SEO, pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, social media marketing, and more. These strategies have existed long before COVID-19, but it was a competency that many businesses deemed as optional rather than essential.

“Many businesses had a misconception that digital marketing campaigns are only adopted by big corporations with extensive marketing budget to spare,” added Mr. Chew.

Now, in the COVID-19 era, businesses have been exposed to the long-standing issues that existed, with customers being far more digitally connected and increasingly making most of their purchasing decisions online before ever speaking to a salesperson.

“This forced businesses, even small-medium enterprises, who abide by traditional marketing to rethink their strategy,” said Mr. Chew.

What about other top skills?

Complementary skills of digital marketing were also rated highly by Singapore employers, including data analysis (40%), cybersecurity (25%), data protection (22%) and artificial intelligence (20%) as top skills for their workforce.

NTUC Survey Statistics

These skills were considered essential to create a long-term holistic business model built for scalability and sustainability.

“The ability to use data analysis for decision-making and the customisation clients’ needs will be a game-changer,” said Mr Kwong.

In Singapore, the Covid-19 downtime was an optimal period for employees to upskill, supported by numerous funding schemes. 

Many businesses in Singapore were encouraged to enrol their employees into e-commerce and digital marketing courses offered by Continuing Education and Training Centres.

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The digital opportunities presented by the Covid-19 situation are endless. Employers are advised to advocate and support employees’ upskilling efforts to ride on the waves of digital transformation and emerge stronger in a post-pandemic world.

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