Embracing the future: Why investing in high-performance data centres is essential for future success
The rapid adoption of automation and digitalisation by industries across the African continent, coupled with skyrocketing data consumption, is attracting significant investment in the data centre market. In fact, it’s estimated that Africa’s data centre market will receive US$5 billion in investment by 2026, while data consumption is expected to increase by 40% each year until 2025 – almost double the global average growth rate. Demand for data centres on the continent will exceed supply by 300%, and it’s projected that the Middle East and Africa IOT market will grow from US$43.99 billion this year to US$241.65 billion by 2030.
“Digitisation and automation present local industries with the opportunity to achieve unsurpassed efficiency and productivity. But they also present significant challenges for IT infrastructure,” says Amanda Venter, External IT Sales, Rittal SA.
Unpacking the challenges
Venter elaborates further on some of these challenges:
- Cooling demands: According to McKinsey, cooling accounts for 40% of a data centre’s energy consumption, with high downtime costs and delays resulting from overheating.
- High energy consumption: The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that global data centre electricity consumption in 2022 was around 1%-1.3% of global final electricity demand. To address this, in countries like Singapore and the Netherlands, governments are imposing sustainability standards on newly built data centres. “Sustainability is a key concern, not just in terms of managing rising energy costs, but also because industries are under greater pressure to meet environmental, social and governance (ESG) targets in order to attract and retain investment,” elaborates Venter.
- Flexibility and speed: With demand for co-location and edge computing growing, so too is the need for modular and flexible data centre solutions. “Customers are looking for IT rack systems and solutions with minimal construction requirements for rapid builds, and which can be scaled up or down quickly, as required,” explains Venter.
To address the challenges posed by the evolution of technology, data centres will have to evolve, becoming more like ‘living’ organisms. “This is where the integration of IOT and AI technologies comes into play, adding great value,” adds Venter, pointing out that sensors and machine learning tools enable data collection, monitoring and optimisation of everything from temperature and energy consumption to data management. “This really is about transforming the data centre into a cognitive hub that can handle more data, while also optimising the performance, efficiency and reliability of the IT infrastructure,” adds Venter.
Future-proofing with Rittal’s VX IT
To meet market demand for future-proofed solutions, Rittal has developed the VX IT network/server racks for data centres. “The VX IT – which can be custom configured or built using standard components – has proven efficient in a range of applications, from individual rack installations to edge, enterprise, colocation and even hyperscale data centres,” says Venter. “Rittal supplies all the necessary components for a complete solution, from racks to power solutions to climate control systems.”
The VX IT features an individually adaptable power supply, with digital controls, for maximum reliability and efficiency. In addition, with Rittal’s scalable climate control concepts such as the Liquid Cooling Package (LCP) and the highly efficient direct chip cooling technology, the VX IT ensures optimal cooling. “With RiMatrix NG, we are able to provide customers with an open IT system platform which guarantees uninterrupted availability, high data quality, innovative cooling management and efficient airflow management that prolongs the life of IT components, maximum energy efficiency and great security,” adds Venter.
This high-performance offering enables customers to achieve higher productivity, resource consolidation, planning reliability, cyber security and compliance. “Rittal, with its extensive range of products, is well-positioned to support the growth of Industry 4.0. The VX IT, in particular, is setting new standards in the chase for sustainable, reliable and secure IT solutions,” concludes Venter.
"Rittal – The System." Since its foundation in 1961, Rittal has continuously evolved into the world's leading systems provider for enclosures, power distribution, climate control, IT infrastructure and software & services. Rittal offers you a perfectly coordinated system platform. It unites innovative productions, pioneering engineering solutions and global service to accommodate the most diverse requirements. It caters to a whole host of industries, from machinery and plant engineering, to the automotive industry, through to information technology. All from a single source, all in top quality.