In today’s discussion, our panel of executives examines how the pandemic has impacted data center networks and interconnection. The conversation is moderated by Rich Miller, the founder and editor of Data Center Frontier.

Data Center Frontier: What do you see as the most important trends in data center connectivity and interconnection, and how have they been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Kevin Facinelli, Nortek Air Solutions: COVID-19 has brought drastic business changes almost overnight. A year ago I might have had one team meeting per week via Internet video conferencing. Now it’s several times daily. The increase in connected team meetings, workers computing remotely and other cause/effect of the pandemic across the globe has strained the network and high speed fiber optic capacities. As network data rates increase, similar to server data rates, data transmissions generate heat density in the server area that also need to be addressed now. Social media companies that were transmitting 100-gig of data are now increasing exponentially to 200, 400 and 800-gig through the same size fiber optic line. Network speed increases are generating significantly more heat densities in the network area that will dictate alternative methods of heat extraction.

Furthermore, COVID-19’s unexpected emergence is causing equipment to be driven harder, therefore sustainability and operational costs have become more important than ever. Equipment is also producing more heat than ever before. So, equally important is the trend of data center waste heat recovery and what type of equipment best reutilizes that heat with minimal thermal losses. Liquids transfer energy 10 times more efficiently than air; therefore certain types of liquid cooling equipment are prime candidates for tapping this trend.