Could An Increasing Need For Bandwidth Precipitate A Move Away From The Cloud?


Rob McKernan, senior vice president at Schneider Electric, thinks that increasing bandwidth needs means the industry will have to move away from the cloud as a centralised platform and into a hybrid infrastructure.

In his keynote speech at Data Centre World, held at the ExCeL in London, Mr McKernan said that for some years the industry has been certain that all computing would eventually be part of the cloud.

However, if one thing about the commercial IT industry is for certain, it’s supremely able to adapt and move with the times: “The cloud was created for the needs of the day but those needs have changed,” McKernan said. “The pendulum is shifting back to decentralisation.”

Rob McKernan, senior vice president at Schneider Electric
Rob McKernan, senior vice president at Schneider Electric

He explained that IT systems need to evolve to cope with demand from increasingly bandwidth-hungry applications and the increasingly pervasive Internet of Things, whereby more and more devices are becoming connected to networks and adding to overall bandwidth usage.

He continued that in North America, the cloud infrastructure was well resolved, with Europe also building out effectively and Asia not too far behind with their cloud capability.

According to McKernan, the surge in data usage created by these developments, along with increasingly pervasive IoT devices, are the driving force behind the need for industry innovation. “This is putting pressure on bandwidth and the demand on data is growing tremendously,” he said.

Statistics show that by 2020, there will be over nine zettabytes of IP traffic alone, produced by four billion connected people with 30 billion connected devices. To cope with all this data, a cloud solution would need an astonishing 45.6 million square metres of data centre space to cope, which in turn would use 57.9GW of power just to keep it ticking over.

This is where hybrid ecosystems would come into play. According to McKernan, a hybrid system comprising three different types of data centre would be needed to resolve these and other potential problems associated with this massive increase in data usage. He went on to explain that, as well as a centralised data centre, there would also be a need for regional data centres to make up the shortfall.

This system would also need to be augmented by even more localised ‘micro data centres.’ According to McKernan, these micro data centres would be particularly important. He used financial institutions as a prime example, saying they in particular who would need these localised data centres to overcome any lag or latency problems when transactions are being made.

Regional data centres would also be important from a regulatory point of view as some data is required to stay within a certain jurisdiction. These, “edge solutions”, McKernan surmised, would “address these issues by putting applications and services closer to users…” He surmised that this strategy would be needed to “ensure companies meet their goals.”

Rob McKernan was delivering a keynote speech at the 2017 Data Centre World exhibition where Network Communications News was also an exhibitor. If you missed this year’s show then be sure to catch us at our stand next year.


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