​​ For a long time data centres flew under the radar of the public at large. Few knew, or cared, how their online activities were facilitated and as long as the internet worked that was the extent of their interest. However, the coronavirus pandemic shone a spotlight on these facilities, as their vital role as part of critical national infrastructure was acknowledged.    

While this has had a positive impact in many ways, it has also piqued the interest of those with malicious intent. We all know that the loss or compromise of a data centre can have a disastrous economic impact and cause significant reputational damage to customers affected by any operational disruption. Therefore, for those wishing to cause chaos, data centres are firmly in their sights, so this month’s Question Time asks a panel of experts to identify the key considerations for optimising physical security.    

With the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) taking place in Glasgow soon, addressing sustainability and energy efficiency will be at the forefront of discussions. The network infrastructure sector has work to do in this regard and in this issue we have two articles on the subject. First up, Mark Hickson of Molex Connected Enterprise Networks explains how to maintain a green building in an internet of things world, while Marc Garner of Schneider Electric explains why surging data centre growth demands a greater focus on sustainability.    

Also in this issue we have a special feature dedicated to the often maligned subject of data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) technology. Major players are currently in a process of redefining what it is and what it should do. Jeff Safovich of RiT Tech shares his roadmap for revolutionising infrastructure management and Ian Newall of Vertiv outlines the challenges, opportunities and essentials of data centre IT infrastructure.  

Rob Shepherd