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From Texas to Tokyo, it's all about the data.

Today I am presenting at CAPRE’S Texas Data Center Summit in Austin. I’ll be talking about the tsunami of data that we can expect to collect, store and secure. What is the value of understanding the source of data in an increasingly globalised world? How should the data centre industry approach data storage and management? What is the difference between data security and data privacy? Does data play a role in driving data centres towards renewable energy? I’m really looking forward to the discussion as I think it will provide an opportunity to discuss some of the significant challenges we face moving forward as an industry.

Reservoirs of information are being generated daily through the capture, distribution, storage, and analysis of data. Nearly every aspect of our lives is connected to some device transmitting data back to a data centre. IDC calls this the “global datasphere” and it is rapidly growing to a tune of 175 Zettabytes (ZB) by 2025 up from 33 ZB today. Add to that there is a massive multiplier effect also taking place. Data creates data unto itself and can start to become far removed from the person impacted by it or making decisions with it.

Making good business decisions with data starts with the integrity of the data. It is essential to have faith in the systems - collection, storage, distribution - that touch the data every step of the way. Given the high-profile, bad faith actions of a few corporations, consumer trust in how their data is handled has been compromised, so organisations need to demonstrate they understand the seriousness of the responsibility that has been given to them. Respect for policy and respect for privacy will be a big part of the decisions on where to place data moving forward.

Security by design and privacy by design will become the fundamental pillars to build upon when it comes to protecting data. Security by design comprises of the policies and procedures data centre operators put in place to ensure the campus is safe from external threats and attacks. Privacy by design, on the other hand, needs to secure the data you can’t physically see. It’s about both protecting against bad actors and taking into account human error. You can’t prevent those mistakes, but being aware of them can help you mitigate their impact on society.

With the volume of data surging globally, the need to host will continue to increase, as will renewable energy needs. Ireland, in particular, has seen numerous examples this year of the large hyperscale data centre providers taking the lead on decarbonising electricity consumption. Google announced two large wind farm projects in Ireland that are part of a $2bn global renewable energy investment. And according to global energy consultant group, Wood MacKenzie, Facebook, Google and Amazon are the top three purchasers of renewables in the country.

If you are attending the CAPRE event today, look for my keynote at 9:00am where I’ll be discussing this and more. Feel free to come say hello afterwards. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how we address this critical issue for the industry.

Garry Connolly - Founder & President Host In Ireland



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