Highways, city streets and parking lots lay bare. Rush hour and stop-and-go have come to a virtual gridlock. For tens of millions of people across the U.S., arriving to work on time is a whole lot easier and less stressful, except for those days when a detour is necessary to get around the unexpected pileup of kid’s toys blocking the exit to your home office.
Daily life has changed: how we interact with family and friends, how we learn, how we shop and how we work are different. They involve putting some space between others and us. Businesses around the world have transitioned from large, robust facilities to the friendly confines of the home office. While temporary at first, companies in sectors such as technology and e-commerce may allow working remote to become permanent.
Roadways and byways may be desolate, but the traffic is moving fast across data centers. These coliseums of information and data are being inundated with massive surges in internet usage, with increase estimates ranging between 50 and 70 percent, as everyday life transitions to home life. The geographic shift of internet demand from city centers to neighborhoods is validated by major cities across the globe, from San Francisco to Sydney, revealing the change in internet traffic between January and March 2020.
Data has never been more important than right now. It’s the lifeblood of today’s first responders and medical professionals, businesses, education, entertainment and nearly every industry on the face of this planet. Everyone, and we do mean everyone, is relying on the internet and communication networks to continue business as normal under the most unique circumstances. The COVID-19 global pandemic has highlighted the importance of data centers and the ability to take on this sudden rush of information.
So, how have data centers been able to handle such a spike in internet traffic? You have to go back nearly 60 years to find the answer. In the early 1960s at the height of the Cold War, the only network people knew about was the telephone system. It was powerful, but in the same breath, expensive, fragile and uncompromising. Researchers began working on a new network – one that would be flexible and handle different types of communication, including data, voice and video. The data center was born.
Over time, as networks grew, so too did data centers to accommodate new demands. ARPANET, office and home computers and the internet came in increments and at each digital revolution, the network became more reliable to manage the increase in data capacity. And so 2020 happened, data centers across the world weren’t shook, but prepared for this moment.
Capacity management is critical to all fundamentals of any organization. Data centers are performing efficiently and more effectively with no constraints. This level of operation comes on the heels of supply chain disruptions, reduced staffing and social distancing guidelines.
The infrastructure of data centers has played a vital role in keeping cool under intense pressure. Traditional air-based cooling systems have been replaced with innovative liquid cooling capabilities to reduce energy consumption and meet power demands. Plus, address limitations of water usage that can greatly affect the ability to utilize evaporate cooling and cooling towers in order to carry off heat generated through a facility.
Fluid connections are critical in network communications and liquid cooling systems; both go hand-in-hand and will play vital roles over the course of this pandemic. In terms of infrastructure, liquid cooling quick disconnects feature a state-of-the-art internal design and flush-face valves, which reduces pressure drop and virtually eliminates drips during connection and disconnection. This capability means investments in reliable connections pay big dividends in the short and long-term future.
The pandemic has shown us that connectivity is a must. As more aspects of our daily lives transition to home, from work and school to shopping and entertainment, data centers will continue to adjust to this increase demand for connectivity and capacity.
This article contributed by Todd Lambert, market sales manager, Parker Hannifin Corporation's Quick Coupling Division.