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Where Will AI’s Footprint Ultimately Reside?

Oct 5, 2018
by Josh Anderson

LEESBURG, VA – Hybrid Cloud deployment has changed perceptions about what clients want. But, in some ways, it has also shined a light on those whose needs fall outside of the expected. This was the focus of a few minutes of discussion at CapRE’s recent Leesburg Data Center Summit, during a panel titled The Mindset of the Enterprise End-User: Evaluation the Options Within Hybrid IT.

data center summit“I’d like to start with Don Mitchell,” remarked Moderator Gabe Cole, Chief Technologist at the Strongbow Consulting Group. “I know that liquid cooling s something that we have talked about on and off about for many years in data centers. But in the last two years, I have seen it around high density computing-type installations, and I think I speak for all of those super computers because when I hear super computers, I think of great things from forty years ago.”

“It seems like they kind of went away for awhile but now it seems like they’re coming back. Can you talk a little bit about your experience and how they’ve grown over the last few years?” he asked Donald Mitchell, Data Center Division Manager at Victaulic. “Who’s pushing that?”

don mitchell on challenges facing data centers
Don Mitchell, Victaulic

“The environment for super-computing is definitely changing and evolving. Historically it was something that people put in their three-year budgets – something like geo research or something like that,” recalled Mitchell. “But what’s really changing, actually, was how I attended this seminar a year ago, and the CTO for digital and several other CTOs spoke. About what kept them up at night. And what kept them up at night was the emergence of AI – artificial intelligence.”

“AI is an HPC application, you need a very dense CPU structure in order for it to work. It doesn’t divide very well,” Mitchell continued. “And it’s popping up in data centers and in board rooms. In Q1 someone will say, hey we have this idea for an application, and let’s make it happen in Q2. And it used to be a three-year concept of putting in 50 KW racks. It’s now something that you need to have the agility for in your footprint.”

“But moving to today’s discussion, and dealing with Hybrid IT, it’s about where you put that footprint. Do you put that footprint on-premise?” he asked the room, consisting of a few hundred attendees from around the Northern Virginia region. “In some cases, it might be your Edge. Or it might be your micro-Edge. In other cases, you’ll see that all of the major cloud providers such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft, all in the past year have sponsored or promoted that they’re doing chip or liquid-base cooling as part of their Cloud infrastructure.”

Concluded Mitchell, “So if you take a step back and try to figure out where your Hybrid IT structure is going, part of the question needs to look at, where do you have the adaptability to put in the AI? Can you deal with the latency of the AI being in the Cloud? Or do you need to have it on-premise, or somewhere closer to the Edge?”

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