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AI’s Impact in the Data Center

Brandon Tikalsky, Director, Cloud & Network Architecture
May 9, 2018

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are two of the technological innovations that grab the most headlines and dominate conversation among techies, amateurs, and professionals alike. And rightfully so. The technologies represent countless exciting possibilities for both consumers and enterprises. Beyond the more known smart home and autonomous vehicle applications, perhaps the AI use case that will make the biggest impact on enterprises will take place in the data center.

With cybersecurity concerns growing and attacks proliferating, the potential impact of AI on data center security is significant. Let’s explore some of the reasons why:

AI has the potential to spot threats that might otherwise be missed. Unfortunately, today’s security landscape is littered with bad actors and new threats are appearing all the time. Systems bolstered by AI can instantly spot indicators of serious threats among mountains of data and see patterns among many factors. AI can also collect and analyze forensic data, scan code for vulnerabilities or errors, and use historical data to automatically adapt to changing environments.

Most security pros’ plates are already over-full. Along with AI’s ability to spot threats that could otherwise go undetected, AI also has the ability to augment and enhance the jobs of already-busy security pros. It’s not hard to understand how security pros’ lives have changed with the skyrocketing amount of data now being created by both physical and virtual. AI’s capacity to handle large volumes of data will be invaluable to security pros going forward.

AI can also help improve hardware performance. While security remains the most obvious and immediate area where AI can make a noticeable impact, operators also see its potential to help improve hardware performance. Whether it is measuring server heat to spot potential issues or monitoring backup generators to reduce the risk of outages, AI will help facilities operate smarter. Enterprises and data center operators alike will be able to input any number of operating sensors and data into an AI system to optimize data centers for power efficiency and performance on the fly.

The belief that AI can and will be a valuable, if not indispensable cybersecurity tool, is overwhelming. According to a recent survey, 99% of US respondents believe AI could improve their organizations’ cybersecurity. And 87% report say they are already using AI as part of their cybersecurity strategy. At the same time, 74% said they believe that within the next three years their companies will not be able to safeguard digital assets without AI.

While the use cases for AI in the data center are still emerging, it’s clear that security will ultimately be one of its most important applications. It will be fascinating to watch how this trend develops as we get further into 2018.

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