Competition within the data centre sector is rife and, arguably, is what drives continual improvement. However, where this adversarial stance hasn’t proved advantageous is in dealing with the ongoing skills shortage and promoting the data centre to young people as a career option.


The good news is that things are beginning to change thanks to the University Technical College (UTC) Heathrow – a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) focused school for students aged 14-19. Here, the Digital Futures programme is training young people as engineers to build out the digital highways that enable the world to communicate securely, and at speed. In this issue CNet Training’s Andrew Stevens charts the story of UTC Heathrow and how breaking down barriers and collaboration has produced an industry game changer.


On a different note, given that the last 25 years or so have been dominated by the need for bigger and better faster copper cabling, the appetite for faster twisted pair based network infrastructures appears to be subsiding. This month’s Question Time asks a panel of industry experts whether this is indeed the case and how they see copper cabling technology developing over the next few years.


Copper’s old adversary, optical fibre, is also examined. Dan Barrera of Trend Networks explains the options for the testing and certification of fibre optic cabling systems, while our old friend Piers Benjamin of Corning Optical Communications explains the issues when it comes to connecting devices at the edge.


We also have a special feature dedicated to cooling and climate management, comprising two excellent articles. In the first, Jason Matteson of Iceotope explains why it is essential that edge data centre designers focus on the precision liquid cooling of equipment. In the second, Steve Lorimer of Keysource explains why liquid cooling is much more effective at removing heat than air cooling – but might not be for everyone.


With lots more besides, I hope you enjoy this issue of Inside_Networks and if you’d like to comment on any of these subjects, or anything else, I’d be delighted to hear from you.


Rob Shepherd