Vertiv Not Raging Against The Machine
How Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is revolutionizing data centers
Last week, Vertiv, a leading provider of power and cooling equipment and infrastructure management technologies to data centers worldwide, introduced a new intelligent cloud-based infrastructure management platform. Vertiv Intelligence (vIntelligence) leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities to provide data center managers with advanced visibility, analytics and control into their increasingly complex data center and IT infrastructure through an easy-to-use mobile app and online portal.
“As networks become larger, more complicated and more distributed, the ability to see across systems and locations and convert oceans of raw data to real, actionable knowledge is the single biggest advantage any organization can possess,” said Patrick Quirk, vice president and general manager for Global Management Systems at Vertiv. 
With this new product launch, Vertiv joins an impressive list of blue-chip IT players with an intelligent data infrastructure management platform in the market. This list includes Dell EMC, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft . Traditionally a provider of power and cooling hardware to traditional enterprise data center customers, Vertiv’s current focus on software symbolizes a shift in business strategy and model to address the opportunities and threats that arise from the burgeoning trend of artificial intelligence and machine learning sweeping the industry.
Firstly, AI and ML applications are requiring an increasingly greater amount of computing power that is driving the proliferation of data centers worldwide. This growth is particularly in the Tier 4  data centers that cater to the more stringent computing needs of AI and machine learning (specifically deep learning). These Tier 4 data centers guarantee the highest level of redundancy to ensure that even the most serious technical incidents would not impact server availability but are also the costliest to operate and maintain due to their higher energy consumption rates.
Secondly, AI and ML applications are being developed to help improve the efficiency of data centers themselves, from both an energy consumption and server optimization  perspective. Given the proliferation of data centers, reducing energy usage, the largest driver of cost, has been a key focus for all data center providers and owners. Ways to do so include increasing power efficiency through optimizing IT workload distribution across servers, minimizing server downtime, and employing more efficient cooling systems that in turn work to maintain the data center’s critical IT infrastructure and power equipment at an optimum temperature so that they can perform most efficiently.
According to Gartner, ‘Thirty percent of data centres that fail to implement Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) by 2020, will ‘cease to be operationally and economically viable.’ 
This dynamic presents Vertiv with a unique opportunity to design a superior intelligent infrastructure management platform to cater to the growing demand for intelligent solutions to service highly complex Tier 4 data centers environments, as well as one that helps improve overall data center efficiency to deliver significant cost savings for broader customers and capture market share from competitors. vIntelligence is the very product to address this opportunity.
vIntelligence connects all Vertiv and third-party equipment and uses cloud-based technologies to collect, analyze and act on data generated by critical infrastructure systems across the network. By applying machine learning, vIntelligence distills the data and applies insights gleaned from relevant IT deployments worldwide to provide timely recommendations to users through its mobile app and online portal. The platform’s interface provides a centralized and continuous dashboard view of data and alerts generated across the critical infrastructure, as well as recommendations received based on best practices and accumulated insights. With that information, users can activate responses remotely or set up automated responses to certain alerts, tailoring the response to meet the individual needs of the organization.
“Vertiv Intelligence leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to enable data center managers to be highly proactive in how they operate their critical resources,” said Jennifer Cooke, research director, data center trends and strategies, IDC. 
That said, Vertiv still has a battle ahead to prove the efficacy of vIntelligence and the clock is ticking. Customers are quickly becoming competitors as they work to build these competencies in-house given the critical nature of data centers. This is especially true of their hyperscale cloud-based technology customers. Google, for instance, partnered with DeepMind in 2016 to apply machine learning to their data centers and were able to reduce the amount of energy used for cooling by 40% . This was a significant breakthrough as cooling accounts for roughly 40% of total energy consumed in a data center. If Vertiv is to succeed, it would need to invest heavily on research and development (R&D) to innovate at a faster pace than its peers and even customers. Alternatively, Vertiv could partner or acquire an AI company such as DeepMind to turbocharge its R&D efforts – given the rapid growth of AI and potential return on investment, this is perhaps the best path forward.
 McMorrow, V. (2018) Vertiv Introduces Intelligence Platform for Advanced, Cloud-Based Monitoring and Control of Critical Infrastructure Systems. [online] Available at: https://www.vertivco.com/en-us/about/news-and-insights/corporate-news/vertiv-introduces-intelligence-platform-monitoring/
 Preimesberger, C. (2018) Vertiv Launches New-Gen Intelligent Platform for Data Centers. eWEEK [online] Available at: http://www.eweek.com/it-management/vertiv-launches-new-gen-intelligent-platform-for-data-centers
 OVH Innovation For Freedom. “Tier 3/Tier 4: Datacentre Classification – OVH Canada”. Ovh.Com. [online] https://www.ovh.com/ca/en/dedicated-servers/understanding-t3-t4.xml.
 Telehouse. (2018) “6 Things To Know About Data Centers And Artificial Intelligence”. [online] Available at: https://www.telehouse.com/2018/01/data-centers-and-artificial-intelligence/
 Patrizio, A. (2017) Gartner analyst predicts doom for on-premises data centers. [online] Available at: https://www.networkworld.com/article/3240992/data-center/gartner-analyst-predicts-doom-for-on-premises-data-centers.html
 Richard, E. Gao, J. (2016) DeepMind AI Reduces Google Data Centre Cooling Bill by 40%. [online] Available at: https://deepmind.com/blog/deepmind-ai-reduces-google-data-centre-cooling-bill-40/
Student comments on Vertiv Not Raging Against The Machine
Very interesting article. The application of ML and AI in data centers to reduce energy consumption seems effective as Google proved it. How would you advise Vertiv to differentiate and protect itself from competitors? As you said yourself, Google already implemented this technology successfully and it seems that nothing prevents the company from selling the “technology/knowledge” to key customers.