Data Centre World & Cloud Expo Europe in London is one of the best supported industry events in Europe covering many domains from Data Centres to IoT, cyber security and everything in between. Hydro66 were there and here are two of the trends we observed, relative to our role in the IT ecosystem.

5G Connectivity and Data Centre Location

Next-generation mobile wireless connectivity commonly known as 5G (5th Generation) will inevitably drive data centre capacity demand as file sizes, data types and applications all expand exponentially. It will also change the way data centres are arranged and operated and the composition of the equipment within them. This is a counterintuitive result of 5G’s promise of massive increases in bandwidth – the concurrent volume of data possible to send – and corresponding reductions in latency – the delay in time between data being sent and received.

Cloud applications made possible by the speed, low latency and connection density of 5G networks will need to be located close to consumers. This is also the premise of another industry trend – edge computing – a subject for another blog!

5G reduces the latency between the device and the cell tower. If an application works acceptably over today’s 4G network, with its mast to handset latency of 50-60 milliseconds, this gives the system architect new flexibility in where to physically host the underlying server infrastructure. For example if the application is placed on a 5G network with a latency of 1-2ms the servers operating that application can be moved 30-40ms further away from the mast and still achieve the same level of perceived performance.

The cloud software supporting driverless cars, haptic feedback experiences, cloud-gaming or real time augmented reality rendering while you walk down the street will require enormous amounts of compute power within the immediate local area of the user. Watching a pre-recorded video, accessing a photo library, running the accounting software for a business or synchronising a blockchain will not.

Given the lack of available space and low levels of power availability in metropolitan areas in Europe this suggests that existing data centre applications that can operate with current levels of latency will be moved to regional data centres. Existing data centres close to the consumer will be refitted to better serve the coming generation of extreme-low latency applications.

Large sections of the existing cloud that serve mobile devices will be able to be relocated to areas such as northern Sweden to take advantage of low power costs, green power and the cool climate without loss of performance.

EU Horizon 2020 Boden Type Data Centre Project

Scientific Leader in Data Centres at RISE SICS North in Sweden and Adjunct Professor in Fluid Mechanics at Lulea University of Technology, Jon Summers, gave an insightful presentation on the ‘Boden Type’ Data Centre project in Sweden. It is being used as a demonstration site to show the benefits of efficient technologies such as direct free air cooling and intelligent building management.

The use of open source tools to monitor every aspect of the data centre operation, together with hardware enhancements to servers to directly control server fans in harmony with the building cooling infrastructure shows great promise and optimal strategies are being investigated using this data and data from the RISE SICS North server wind tunnel in Luleå.

Needless to say, we are very proud of the role we have played in data centre innovation in the region for over three years now. Hydro66 are delighted to be immediate neighbours to the Boden Type Data Centre project and we support their project to accurately quantify the inherent benefits of Northern Sweden as a natural choice for Nordic data centre site selection.

Looking forward to Data Centre World & Cloud Expo Europe 2020

2019 promises to be a super-exciting year for the wider tech community. Innovations on the infrastructure level, with 5G and edge computing just two examples, combined with data centre innovation such as those being showcased by the Boden Type Data Centre Project make us extremely optimistic for the future. IT holds tremendous promise for changing and improving society – roll on 2020 and beyond.

Alex Johnstone

About Alex Johnstone

Alex Johnstone CFA is the CIO of Hydro66 and joined us from a career in Banking and Investment Management. He has worked in many aspects of International Capital Markets for institutions in the UK, Spain and Austria and has six years experience in cryptocurrency investments.