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Touching on the Practical Side of AI in the Data Center

ai data center
06.13.19
Dwayne Charrington

Humankind is an intelligent species. There appears to be no limit to our capabilities. Our ability to imagine also knows no bounds. For example, aliens may or may not exist, but it is astounding to see the kind of exciting stories we continuously create on celestial bodies!

We are creative beings who can make and modify things for our purpose to a level unmatched by any other living creature. We can study and analyze situations to a whole new level, as well as evolve and adapt to changing times. We are continuously working to make things better. Well, that is the intent at least!

Also, so, we have given birth to ‘Artificial Intelligence’ – a software program with a brain of its own. We are trying to give machines the ability to think! Why? Because we want machines to assist us in ways that are uncharacteristic of them. Because a machine that can analyze data and situations, adapt, and even improve its functions with time, can even outperform humans in certain areas. The concept isn’t new; it was originated by the American scientist, John McCarthy, in 1956.

Today, we have dedicated AI applications for various new domains as we continue to understand its potential. In business sectors, especially the ones generating vast amounts of data, there’s a growing realization on the benefits of using AI for data management. More prominent the company, more data it produces. This creates a requirement for data centers that provide the appropriate environment for running and maintaining company servers.

Data Center and Its Utility

data center ai market

A data center is a facility designed specifically to house servers that hold all kinds of data and information about a business. If you’ve seen the server room in your company, a data center is similar, but much more extensive and will probably be set up in a separate building. The architecture is designed mainly to fulfill the requirements of a data center – dedicated cooling system, electricals, wires, and even the doors and passages are designed for easy movement of equipment.

Large corporations like Google and Microsoft, for instance, have their data centers established in a dedicated building as they have enormous amounts of data to handle. Their data centers are some of the biggest in the world.

It is crucial that efforts are there to keep data centers running faultlessly. After all, machines and electrical circuits can malfunction, an engineer may overlook a minor glitch, the cooling system may not function at its optimum all the time, etc. So regular maintenance and supervision are essential, especially for a place as vital as a data center. Also, while humans are always there, work practices require advancement with time to improve data center efficiency.

Also, this is where Artificial Intelligence comes in with the target of achieving higher functional efficiency of data centers while saving on operating costs.

Teaming up with Artificial Intelligence

Using AI in data center operations doesn’t mean that human effort needs to be eliminated. We haven’t become obsolete yet! AI hasn’t arrived at a stage where we can ultimately resort to sit and enjoy! However, it is paving the way for data center innovations.

Depending on the level of AI involved, human assistance can vary. The primary purpose of AI is to help us become more efficient in our work, to allow us to manage, or even prevent, risks. It has been forecasted that many Data Centers will become uncompetitive if they fail to incorporate AI.

How AI Is Helping in Data Centers

A prominent function of AI in data centers is to manage cooling systems. Data centers generate much heat due to the servers and other machinery. Unquestionably, the dedicated cooling systems perform consistently as per the requirements.

However, while the temperatures inside the facility can be taken care of, the same can’t be done with the real weather outside. How a cooling system performs depends a lot on the actual atmospheric temperature. Take the example of any modern home air conditioner. It doesn’t have to work too hard to cool the room if the overall weather is not warm enough. Its compressor will work less, and it won’t utilize much electricity in the process. It’s the same concept at data centers as well.

data center ai

Using AI in data centers enables real-time management of the cooling systems depending on how much load they are required to carry at a particular point of time, based on various parameters like temperature and humidity. Of course, engineers are there to handle these tasks, but some situations that require minor adjustments are often neglected by humans, especially if the resulting cost benefits are negligible.

AI, on the other hand, will make even the minutest of changes if it detects the need, which does make a difference to the overall cost savings. Google’s DeepMind AI has reduced the company’s data center cooling bill by up to 40%.

There Are Similar Benefits with Overall Power Management

At a larger scale, many technologies are used in combination to gain desired advantages. AI can use the various Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to manage power requirements more efficiently to learn even the tiniest cost benefits. Sensors that can monitor power usage at different locations in a data center can communicate with the AI software with their readings.

For example, a US-based AI company called Carbon Relay has two AI software for data centers, ‘Optimize’ and ‘Predict.’ Optimize works with IoT-enabled sensors as well as the other dedicated machine software tools to analyze and accordingly adjust the parameters of heating, ventilation & air conditioning (HVAC) for appropriate performance.

How AI Benefits in Data Center Planning, Infrastructure & Security

Setting up a data center can be a highly complicated task for any business. You cannot have less or more than the required number of servers. It has to be precisely what is needed. Further changes in a data center in terms of increasing its capacity require thorough planning and risk analysis. There are specific AI tools, like IBM Watson, that are helpful in these situations.

Security is paramount for data centers, both physical and cyber. While certain physical security aspects can be taken care of by employing guards, security fences, locks, etc., cyber-security requires more sophisticated arrangements against advanced online threats. With cloud-enabled services, along with AI, security parameters can be made to adapt to changing requirements for enhanced data protection.

How AI Is Making Customer Service Better

The chatbot is another form of artificial intelligence that is rapidly gaining popularity in customer service! In essence, automatizing live chat with customers not only keeps your agents from being overloaded with chat windows, but it also ensures that new chat requests do not go ignored while your agents are already conversing with other customers.

A chatbot is programmed to analyze customer responses creating insightful information for agents as well as business owners regarding customer behavior, experience, and expectations. Using inbuilt parameters, a chatbot can make certain analysis that might be difficult or missed out by human operators. A chatbot can accordingly adapt its communication for a certain customer based on its findings. Of course, this can be done by humans as well, but AI software can provide some unique and specific data regarding customer experience that can be enlightening for agents and business owners.

The benefits of using chatbots are also extended to customer service software like a Help Desk software. It is a ticket management system designed to handle customer queries and help deliver timely responses. Since live chat is primarily meant to provide prompt assistance to customers, integrating it with a help desk software helps keep the number of tickets to a minimum. Another benefit is, when a customer query is raised offline, it is automatically converted into a ticket and delivered to a single, collaborative inbox.

It Is All There in Data Centers, Everything Is Interlinked

Data centers are the storage houses of all your business data, especially if yours is a big company. A server failure could bring all functions of your business to a pause, including customer support. With so much data being generated and put on the internet every day, especially due to cloud services, it is imperative that your data centers always remain in proper function. Artificial Intelligence is making that a less challenging task to pull off, and thanks to its adaptive nature, it is the future of data centers.

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