Down with data dinosaurs

Could you tell us about Anixter as a company?

Alan Farrimond: At Anixter, we help to build, connect, power and protect valuable assets and critical infrastructures. From enterprise networks to industrial support and supplies, to video surveillance applications, and electric power transmission and distribution, we offer full-line solutions - and intelligence - for creating reliable, resilient systems that can sustain your business and community.

Anixter's unmatched global distribution network and supply chain management expertise speeds and smooths deployment; our technical teams can assist with planning, design and product specification; and our best-in-class manufacturers enable us to tailor solutions to a customer's specific needs. All of this drives efficiency and effectiveness to benefit our client's bottom line.

What do you think are the key challenges facing financial institutions and other large corporations in the area of data-centre optimisation?

Data centres are continually evolving to keep up with the growing needs for capacity, performance and uptime. At the same time, managers of data centres are also anticipating future needs, and the impact of those needs on budgets.

Anixter has developed an 'infrastructure-as-a-platform' approach for data centres, which guides our customers in the development of agile environments that allow them to plan and build with interoperable technologies in order to fulfil current demands and scale as needed to meet future requirements.

Most banks are moving from largely in-house data centres to a hybrid computing environment. How do you see this journey progressing, and what particular challenges does co-location present?

With the trend towards co-location, it's crucial for an organisation to maintain the same infrastructure specification that they have when moving off-premise. When considering a potential facility, we advise our customers on a process to better understand their own facility requirements, the cost impact and long-term savings opportunities, how to manage human and physical resources off-premise, as well as how to effectively migrate to a co-location facility without disrupting business operations.

What are the leading causes of downtime, data loss and hardware damage, and how should financial institutions guard against them?

Financial institutions can hit downtime due to a number of reasons; for example, software issues or people hacking into the data centre. You have to pre-design the data centre in the right way, build resilience into it and then make sure you have a thorough management-to-maintenance programme.

How can cabling help reduce energy consumption in data centres, ensure future-proofing and provide the essential building block for optimisation?

As data-centre demands increase, we're seeing speeds go from 25-100GB/s today to 400GB/s in the very near future. This is based on a fibre environment; the interesting thing about fibre over copper is that the wattage for the former is actually less for each port. When you scale that across the entire data centre, that means you need less power, more managed power and less cooling, which is great from an environmental perspective.

Smart design is an approach that requires a collaborative relationship with experts who can help maximise the potential of an environment.

What do you believe will be the impact of digital technology and data on the workplace?

The goals of technological innovation are fairly consistent across various industries: increasing productivity and efficiency to meet business goals. Innovation in the workplace provides building owners and operators new tools to increase the productivity not only of employees, for example, through wireless mobility and visual engagement with digital signage, but also of the building itself, through data-sensor networks and integrated systems that leverage the potential of an internet-of-things (IoT) environment.

Smart design is an approach that requires a collaborative relationship with experts who can help maximise the potential of an environment, which is why Anixter invests so much in our technical recommendation team.