What is Hyperscale and How is it Shaping the IT Industry?

24 Jul 2019 by Mike Allen

Hyperscale is the present-day answer to the ever-burgeoning demand for data storage, management, and rapid retrieval in the global Internet of things (IoT). High energy costs for traditional data center facilities are among the challenges addressed by hyperscale, but there’s more. Below is an answer to the question what is hyperscale plus specifics on how hyperscale is shaping the IT industry.

 Hyperscale Definition

Hyperscale data centers came about in answer to the demands of mega-organizations such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook. The need for a system that could support high levels of throughput, performance, spikes in demand, and redundancy while enabling fault tolerance and massive availability resulted in a switch to hyperscale from traditional data centers and earlier versions of colocation.

In a sentence, hyperscale is a fusion of hardware and facilities with the purpose of scaling a distributed computing environment to thousands of servers. Hyperscalers have “composability infrastructure,” which basically means that they make data center resources as easily accessible as cloud services. With composability, a required workload is precisely matched with the appropriate hardware, which can include components such as memory storage, network connectivity, and CPUs.

Major characteristics of hyperscale computing also include automation, standardization, and high-performance computing (HPC).

Hyperscale vs Cloud Computing

Predominant factors such as IoT and artificial intelligence (AI) brought forth the immense cloud computing industry, which still dominates technology space. The tremendous pressure businesses are under to avoid any noticeable disruptions in service while maximizing the capability of increasing data traffic was a turn in evolution which led to cloud computing. Hyperscale offers next-level performance.

Three Foundational Concepts of Hyperscale Cloud Computing

Hyperscale has much that traditional data center architecture does not, and that includes three crucial concepts hyperscale is built upon, as follows:

  1. An IT infrastructure that is cost effective and highly responsive together with distributed systems that improve business operations and reduce complexities.
  2. Security, agility, and less expensive hardware and software, which safeguards appropriate income.
  3. Scalability, making it possible to keep up with growing demands for computing tasks.

The sheer physical size of hyperscale data centers is an integral part of their operation. A perfect example is Facebook’s hyperscale facility in Fort Worth, Texas, which will be completed in 2020. It’s expected that the total collective space at Facebook’s Texas-based fifth hyperscale cloud facility will exceed 2.5 million square feet.

Additional pivotal aspects of hyperscale data centers are their efficient use of: Power, space, and cooling; and orchestration software.

Cutting Cooling Costs

All data centers consume power for two purposes: First, to power IT equipment such a servers; and, secondly, to cool the equipment, which is a significant expense. Cost and availability of energy is a top concern for data center facilities worldwide. Large-scale liquid cooling is now used in some hyperscale facilities, and Google was the first. The catalyst that produced the innovation of liquid cooling was the increased amount of heat generated by Google’s new AI hardware, Tensor Processing Units (TPUs).

Arrangement and Coordination with Orchestration Software

Orchestration increases efficiency and eliminates redundancies by automating repeatable tasks. Orchestration software includes automated coordination, arrangement, and management of computer systems and services. Incorporated into the function of hyperscale data centers, orchestration software:

  • Increases and potentially improves productivity,
  • Decreases IT costs, and
  • Automates processes across the scale so that they are more constant and dependable.

Enterprise vs Hyperscale Data Center

Another type of data center is an enterprise data center, which is usually a combination of equipment a decade old or older that co-exists with new components from the factory floor. The network topology naturally results in some segments outperforming others. This also means certain components expel hotter air than others. Under-utilized servers are affected by the local temperature spikes, and it is more difficult for them to expel heat and to process data. These are among the many problems solved by using a hyperscale data center.

Potential Market Size of Hyperscalers

The hyperscale data center market is on pace to rise from USD 20 billion to over USD 65 billion in the seven years between 2018 and 2025, according to a report from 2019 Global Market Insights, Inc. More than 45% of the hyperscale data center market is accounted for between the IT and telecom sectors. Key players in the market include Cisco Systems, Inc., Cavium, Inc., Broadcom Ltd., Dell, Inc., IBM Corporation, and Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.

List of Hyperscale Data Centers

Powerful data centers are needed at an ever-accelerating rate. In addition to IBM and HPE, the following are among largest hyperscale data centers in the world, as of 2018:

  • Google (Alphabet) has a global network of data centers, and the largest is situated in The Dalles, Oregon.
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) powers businesses by the thousands and serves 190 countries. AWS data centers are located in the U.S., Europe, Australia, Brazil, Japan, and Singapore.
  • Digital Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust (REIT), serves customers across the world in a range of industries, including manufacturing, Internet enterprises, financial services, and energy.
  • Equinix operates approximately 200 hyperscale gdata centers in regions across the globe. Its customers include Netflix, eBay, DIRECTV, plus other mega-businesses.
  • Microsoft’s cloud platform is Microsoft Azure, and its vast data center market includes some of the world’s largest companies, government agencies, small businesses, and individuals.
  • Apple has been rapidly expanding its hyperscale data center infrastructure for such services as iCloud, iTunes, iPhone, and more giants of industry.

Hyperscale Data Centers: The Future is Now

Eras are escorted out as others are ushered in, and hyperscale data facilities are the ones giving traditional data centers the heave-ho. In the large-scale same way, hyperscale data center operators are replacing on-premise office telco closets. In many industries, it’s best to skip right over cloud technology to the many benefits of advanced technology offered by hyperscale data centers. 

Author

Mike Allen

Mike Allen serves as VP of Solutions & Engineering and engages with clients directly to determine the best course of action for their IT infrastructure based on current and future requirements. Mike has an extensive technical background having worked for some of the largest carriers both domestically and Internationally. He specializes in data center, network, cloud and communications. He holds several certifications including CCNA and SSCA.
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