How AI And Huawei Are Transforming the Data Center

Huawei's CloudEngine data center switch has been developed specifically for the Artificial Intelligence era.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to be present in all aspects of life, work, and entertainment. It is possible that AI is even going to manage almost the entire planet at a certain point in the future.

“A fully connected, intelligent world is fast approaching. Data centers become the core of the new infrastructures such as 5G and AI”- Kevin Hu, President of Huawei Network Product Line

Data centers are not immune to this reality. On the contrary. 

In the AI era, data centers need to quickly adapt to the computing power that the future is going to bring. Adding the capability of leveraging AI to reshape business models, make decisions, and improve customer experiences will become a key driving force.  

Thinking about the needs that the AI era will bring, Chinese telecommunications vendor Huawei has come a step forward with the world's first AI-powered data center switch especially built for the AI era. Presented and demonstrated at MWC Barcelona, the CloudEngine 16800 has micro-second latency, zero packet loss, and 100 percent throughput to double the AI computing power of enterprise networks. 

According to Leon Wang, General Manager of Huawei Data Center Network Domain, with the CloudEngine Series Huawei is helping the digital transformation of industry such as finance, Internet, and carrier customers.

With CloudEngine 16800 Huawei expects to "help customers accelerate intelligent transformation, achieve pervasive use of AI, and jointly build a fully connected and intelligent world," said Wang. 

Data center switches in the AI era 

With the CloudEngine 16800 Huawei defines three characteristics of data center switches in the AI era: 

  • Embedded AI chip 

  • 48-port 400GE line card per slot

  • The capability to evolve to the autonomous driving network, innovatively incorporates AI technologies into data center switches

According to Huawei, the pervasive use of AI will help customers accelerate smart transformation.

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The AI computing power is affected by the performance of data center networks. This is becoming a key bottleneck of the AI commercial process. With the industry expecting an increase of the annual volume of data worldwide from 10 zettabytes in 2018 to 180 zettabytes --that is 180 billion terabytes) in 2025 existing 100GE data center networks are not going to be able to handle the predicted data flood. 

AI computing power of data centers and the need to improve Operations and Maintenance (O&M) capability 

Currently, the AI computing power of data centers can only reach up to 50 percent on a traditional Ethernet; this is due to a packet loss rate of 1/1000. Traditional manual O&M methods are not going to meet requirements as the number of data center servers continues to increase. In addition, the computing network, storage network, and data network become converged. 

With this in mind, the need for the development of innovative technologies that can quickly be introduced and adopted is paramount in order to improve the smart O&M capability.

CloudEngine 16800: Industry's first data center switch to leverage the power of an embedded high-performance AI chip 

The CloudEngine 16800 uses the innovative iLossless algorithm. The iLossless is a unique intelligent lossless switching algorithm that perfectly solves the packet loss issue of traditional Ethernet networks.

This means it can implement auto-sensing and auto-optimization of the traffic model, which in turn lets it realize lower latency and higher throughput based on zero packet loss

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According to Huawei, the CloudEngine 16800 overcomes the computing power limitations caused by packet loss on the more traditional Ethernet. This increases the AI computing power from 50 percent to 100 percent. It also improves the data storage Input/Output Operations Per-Second (IOPS) by 30 percent. 

“A fully connected, intelligent world is fast approaching. Data centers become the core of the new infrastructures such as 5G and AI. Huawei will first introduce AI technology to data center switches, leading data center networks from the cloud era to the AI era,” Kevin Hu, President of Huawei Network Product Line said. 

In addition, Huawei says that the new product provides the industry's highest density 48-port 400GE line card per slot and its switching capacity meets the requirements for 5-fold traffic growth in the AI era, exceeding the current industry average. 

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The 21st-century data center: Pre-fabricated modular data center

The 21st-century data center is changing from being just on-premise facilities running enterprise applications or massive outsourced installations housing services in the cloud into something that is more in sync with the needs of this century.

The new AI era demands adaptations in the data center construction as well. The result is modular data centers that can be easy, inexpensive, and fast to build where and when they are needed.    

Knowing this, Huawei has also become a leader in data center construction. By using sophisticated modular designs and the company's vast experience in the Information Communications Technology (ICT) industry, Huawei has completed Phase One of the Huawei Cloud pre-fabricated modular data center in Dongguan in just nine months. The solution saves half the time and construction-related cost than traditional data center construction options.

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How AI is going to transform the data center  

The increasingly growing demand for AI, machine learning, and Neuro-linguistic Processing (NLP) applications is resulting in a tremendous amount of data being pulled into big data platforms at massive scale.

The volume of data growth is going to continue increasing, and organizations need to start re-thinking on how to store their data in the AI era. 

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According to Huawei’s Global Industry Vision (GIV) 2025, the AI adoption rate will increase from 16 percent in 2015 to 86 percent in 2025

In spite of the fear that some experience when considering the use and incorporation of Artificial Intelligence in the workspace, Artificial Intelligence is playing a paramount role in helping data center service providers capture, process, and analyze big data faster and at a more powerful rate than ever before.

The role of AI in the data center industry is just starting to show how AI is going to impact traditional data centers in the near future and how it is going to play a role improving their productivity.   

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China is one of the leading hubs in AI development. It has been ahead in using and implementing Artificial Intelligence in many industries. With Huawei getting a head start with its industry's first AI-powered data center switch, others will have to quickly respond to this innovation, or they could be left behind. 

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