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How AI Is Driving the Next Generation of Colocation Centers

By: Kayla Matthews on July 1, 2019

Artificial intelligence (AI) is fascinating people with what it can do while simultaneously providing companies with numerous creative ways to apply AI to their operations, offerings to customers and more.

It's not surprising that AI is upending the past ways of doing things in colocation centers, the facilities that allow clients to rent data center space and avail of things like excellent uptime guarantees and 24/7 tech support. Here are some examples:

Colocation Centers Are Ideal for AI Startups

AI has caused a substantial increase in the number of startups that specialize in the technology. More specifically, the 2018 AI Index Report showed that the number of active AI startups increased by 113% from January 2015 to January 2018. Then, in contrast, the number of active startups from all industries grew by 28%. That comparison highlights the incredible and fast growth of AI startups.

Colocation centers offer several advantages over traditional on-premise facilities concerning the needs of a typical startup. For example, the resources that colocation centers provide make it easier for startups to scale as their businesses gain momentum. Plus, many colocation providers have various pricing plans that allow startups to use the respective facilities in ways that fit their budgets.

Additionally, it's not feasible for most AI startups to even consider building on-premise facilities until it becomes evident that the company will succeed, and it's clear how the data center fits into the company's long-term plans.

Colocation centers are especially convenient for startups focusing on certain types of AI, too. For example, a representative from Intel noted that fully autonomous cars would produce 4,000 gigabytes of data for every hour of driving.

AI technology sends and receives data as it works, and problems like excessive latency cause outcomes that range from annoying to dangerous. AI startups can put themselves in prime positions for prosperity by working with capable colocation centers.

Colocation Centers Can Use AI Preparedness as a Marketing Tool

Colocation center providers that recognize the growing uses for AI in today's world can wisely use their readiness to serve AI clients as a way to promote their capabilities and stand out from competitors that are not as well-equipped to handle the demands of AI. For example, NVIDIA launched a program that gives people looking for data centers customers to colocation providers that partnered with NVIDIA and got recognized as data-center ready.

There were nine North American data center partners taking part as of January 2019, and NVIDIA plans to expand the program globally later this year. This is one example of how colocation providers could set themselves apart and prove that they're ready to serve clients that base their business models on AI technology.

It's safe to say, then, that whether colocation data centers get involved in the NVIDIA program or show they've prepared for AI in other ways, doing so could help them lead the way as the data center industry as a whole evolves. After all, even if a client is not sure they'll depend on AI or only does so now in a limited capacity, it makes sense for them at least choose to do business with a colocation facility that can handle AI needs if required.

AI Helps Colocation Centers Conserve Resources

It's also useful for people to realize that even if colocation providers don't put themselves forward with data center readiness for clients yet, those entities may still use AI in the background to optimize their operations. Carbon Relay is a company that helps data centers capitalize on AI for energy management.

The company depends on energy usage data collected from centers in the data center, then lets advanced AI technology get to work in figuring out how to reduce the energy expenditure at a data center.

Users of this technology also automatically receive grades for potential actions based on the likelihood that they'll produce positive results. Moreover, there's a double-verification feature that ensures the technology never overrides the operational parameters that data center employees set in the system.

Technology such as what Carbon Relay offers seems set to transform the data center industry in numerous ways. It could help colocation providers target clients that prioritize eco-friendliness and conservation, plus give them more financial resources to use for growth because they don't spend as much on utility expenses.

Plus, deploying AI to help with data center operations could give peace of mind by preventing catastrophes. Google uses in-house AI in its data centers that directly control those facilities under the supervision of humans. That system has eight mechanisms that ensure the technology works as intended. If colocation providers use similar technology, they could potentially reduce human resources too by keeping data centers running with fewer on-site staff members.

AI and Colocation Benefit Each Other

The matters discussed here show that as AI has changed the colocation sector, and the technology has helped data centers besides just depending on it. For example, a colocation data center that's prepared to support client's AI needs could be instrumental in supporting the growth of the technology and its customer's business model.

Plus, data center providers that opt to use AI in their data centers could slash operating or hiring costs depending on how they apply the technology within the facilities. As both the colocation sector and AI grow, more examples of mutual benefits should become evident.



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