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How data centres are meeting demand in the lead up to Christmas

Adam Chaumeton our consultant managing the role
Published on 25 November 2020
With most brick and mortar shops closed, internet sales as a proportion of retail sales skyrocketed to 32.8% in May 2020. This combination of a general shift towards online shopping and the closure of most retail shops in the run-up to Christmas means the pressure is on for data centres. Put simply, data centres can’t stop running. They must be prepared to support the millions of online transactions and keep website systems – such as payment platforms and inventory databases – operational. There’s no doubt that Covid-19 has permanently changed the way we work and the way we shop, so how will data centres meet the rising demand in the lead up to Christmas?

Tracking power

Amazon saw a 40% hike in their revenue due to the lockdown initiated in March, and the fast-approaching festive period will likely be an even busier period for the online retail giant and their data servers. In fact, all small and large online retailer should be preparing for a record-breaking number of website visitors, while data centre managers should have performance tests well underway. By playing out breakdown scenarios, data centre employees can develop contingency plans that will help mitigate a potential IT disaster. To test the power usage, network technicians can use a Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) system and identify ‘Zombie’ servers – those which drain power but fail to process data – and remove them from the system. This will free up more power and help with increased data demands.
Data latency
Though it only has a ten-year history, Black Friday has become one the biggest days in the year for online shopping, second only to Cyber Monday. In previous years, where high street shops have been open in the lead up to Christmas, major trading days have been concentrated to the weekend. But with most the population working from home and Christmas shopping from home, data centres are at risk of rising data latency.

Latency refers to the delay of incoming data and it’s a problem for online shoppers because it slows down transactions. However, with any problem, there is a solution and more organisations are turning to edge computing which takes major processing tasks away from IT hotspots and closer to the user. Though edge computing is harder to manage because data centre managers have less oversight, it is a viable option to help speed up the transfer of data.

Deploying new approaches

The data centre market is rapidly expanding with new sites being constructed in increasingly strange locations - just take the undersea data centres that are fuelled by offshore wind turbines. But for the centres to operate at maximum efficiency, facility and IT managers need to test new approaches. Another major trend within IT is cloud technology and the latest analysis shows that cloud adoption has reached 81%. The cloud is going to be the answer when it comes to handling the influx of online shoppers since the technology will help to ensure speed, reliability and more importantly security.

Handling encrypted data at speed

But it’s not just cloud computing that is enjoying its rise to stardom. Cybersecurity has certainly taken off and triggered a surge in demand for information security consultants and engineers. And with millions of bytes of customer data pouring in, the security of data centres is put under the spotlight. Data centre managers are utilising WAN data acceleration solutions to handle encrypted data at speed whilst ensuring the security of customer data.

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