Introduction: Infrastructure Under Pressure
Modern lifestyles and work patterns are increasingly dependent on storing, accessing, processing and sharing data. With our smart digital devices, we can create content at will, and publish instantaneously via the Internet. Modern businesses, of course, are huge users of online data, as are government agencies responsible for maintaining security and improving delivery of public services.
Data center traffic is set to exceed 8.6 Zettabytes by 2018 According to figures from Cisco, and mobile data traffic is growing even faster than fixed IP traffic. The move to 5G will accelerate this trend.
Our dependence on data is set to increase further, as the Internet of Things becomes the Internet of Everything, and further aspects of life – including our mobility – become increasingly electronically managed. Autonomous cars will bring unprecedented demand for collecting, analyzing, sharing and storing data, especially as numerous vehicles and highway sensors will monitor the same events from different perspectives. We can contemplate a future containing trillions of sensors, collecting and passing data continuously. Moreover, impatient consumers and real-time services such as smart driving will demand immediate responses, ratcheting up the pressure on the infrastructure even further.
Figure 1: The Internet of Everything is permeating nearly every type of application, leading to a future with trillions of sensors, all collecting, sharing and analyzing data.
Many companies are striving to keep up with relentlessly growing demand for data handling, processing and storage, while at the same time acting to control operating costs. To make matters worse, our growing reliance on data services in all aspects of life means the consequences of any outages are increasingly serious. The networks and data centers underpinning modern life all around the world absolutely must maintain the utmost reliability and ensure maximum uptime.
It is also worth mentioning that not all of the vast numbers of sensors anticipated by forecasters will be used to enhance already comfortable lifestyles: