Grow up or grow out? Keeping cool in financial services
While regulation and capital requirements ensure risk, compliance and operational improvements remain high on their agendas, banks and other financial service providers are once again focused on revenue growth. Gartner says this is now the predominant priority for more than half of financial services CEOs, which the proportion of revenues achieved through digital channels set to at least double over the next five years.
Servicing customers online requires faster decisions. The kind of real time analysis and automated decisioning common in arbitrage and other financial environments is becoming increasingly vital throughout the industry and institutions are investing in predictive analytics, vast amounts of data and the high performance computing systems in order to achieve this.
As a result, financial institutions are placing ever greater demands on data centre capacity. Most continue to place their data and the bulk of their IT workloads on-premise or in their own purpose built data centres to ensure they can deliver the rapid insight and decisions they need with minimal latency and networking costs. Institutions close to full capacity are forced to choose between building new data centres and finding a way to squeeze more resources into existing facilities. They must also manage the increasing power densities and heat levels that come with these additional computing resources.
Traditionally, data centres have used computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units which pump out massive volumes of chilled air to cool IT equipment and push hot server exhaust air towards return air ducts. This is highly inefficient: air is not applied consistently, it collects in different layers across the data centre and hot exhaust air can be sucked back into the server, heating equipment to dangerous temperatures and leading to IT failure. By replacing large, power hungry air conditioning units with compact, resilient and safe liquid cooling technology, financial institutions can achieve the data centre flexibility and scalability they need and dramatically improve the efficiency of data centre operations.
The systems operate in virtual silence, which even makes it possible to move high performance computing outside of the data centre and place resources alongside the teams that need them, further improving the timeliness of decisions by reducing delays associated with network latency. Liquid cooling technology uses significantly less energy than air conditioning units, allowing early adopters to achieve savings of more than 80% on cooling energy consumption through immersion cooling and have ensured that more than 90% of data centre energy is used for computing itself. Further efficiencies are possible by capturing the waste heat that IT components give off and using it to heat offices or wider district schemes. By providing room for more resource and the ability to place high performance computing capability close to its users, financial institutions are able to respond faster to market demands, provide the instant insight and intelligence they need to achieve sustained revenue growth and achieve a low total cost of ownership by dramatically improving the efficiency of data centre operations.