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Modernizing Canada’s Data Infrastructure for the AI Age

Last updated on April 30th, 2024 at 02:48 pm

By Jim Kalogiros, Vice President, Secure Power at Schneider Electric Canada

The blending of artificial intelligence (AI) with data centreinfrastructure is changing the world of technology. As AI applications spread across industries—from healthcare to finance, and beyond—demanding significantly more resources than traditional computing, the imperative for enhanced processing power has skyrocketed. This evolution is not just about technology’s ability to keep pace with AI’s demands but also about how businesses can drive innovation, efficiency, and competitive advantage in a rapidly changing economy.

Canada, like many other countries, faces a critical moment in data centre management. As the demand for data services continues to surge globally, data centres face the challenge of accommodating power-intensive AI applications. McKinsey predicts the global energy demand of data centres is expected to double by 2030.

Canada’s data centres were designed at a time of different technological paradigms, putting pressure on their ability to meet the demands of today’s fast-paced digital economy. Challenges such as outdated infrastructure, inefficient energy consumption, grid capacity and rising costs are looming, threatening the scalability and resilience of Canada’s data infrastructure. 

Take cooling systems, for example—they are essential for optimal data centre performance. Outdated systems often lead to performance bottlenecks and potential hardware failures. Data centre leaders are putting a greater focus on enabling high-power distribution, efficient liquid-cooling systems, and controls that ensure simple commissioning and reliable operations for data centres. This not only improves performance but also reduces energy consumption.

In today’s landscape and with the appropriate infrastructure, data centres can leverage AI-driven automation, data analysis, and machine learning to enhance efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. This approach is boosted by a blend of physical infrastructure and software solutions, including DCIM, EPMS, BMS, and digital twin technologies, aimed at streamlining data centres design and management. These integrated tools not only mitigate risks associated with complex electrical systems but also generate a digital blueprint of the data centre to understand where there may be limitations in terms of power and cooling capacity, which is crucial to managing the data centre efficiently.

In fact, Schneider Electric has forged a strategic partnership with NVIDIA to revolutionize data centreinfrastructure and set new standards for AI deployment and operation within data centre ecosystems. This collaboration is aimed at paving the way for a more efficient and sustainable future, empowering companies to foster innovation through the introduction of data centre reference designs.

This cutting-edge model, replicable by partners, engineers, and data center leaders for current data center setups, enhances efficiency by streamlining planning processesand leveraging industry expertise to reduce risks, ultimately saving time and effort and leading to cost savings. Additionally, these designs facilitate the seamless integration of new technologies and support scalable growth without the need for starting from scratch or major redesigns.

Addressing the evolving demands of AI workloads, the reference designs will offer a robust framework for implementing NVIDIA’s accelerated computing platform, while optimizing performance, enhancing deployment efficiency, scalability, and overall sustainability. 

The integration of AI into data centre operations presents a transformative opportunity for Canadian industries to enhance their competitiveness, agility, and sustainability in an increasingly data-driven world. By embracing AI-driven innovations and leveraging strategic partnerships, enterprises can not only prepare their data infrastructure for the future but also unlock new possibilities for growth and innovation.

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