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Data Center News Highlights: Chip Innovations, Watson AI, EU Investigation, DCW 2023, and ENERGY STAR Guidance

Staying updated with the rapidly evolving data center industry can be overwhelming. To help data center professionals navigate through the noise and identify the most significant developments, Data Center Knowledge presents a roundup of the top five news stories from the past week. This edition covers exciting chip advancements by Ampere Computing and Meta, IBM’s latest AI offering with watsonx, the EU’s antitrust investigation into Microsoft Azure, key takeaways from Data Center World 2023, and the EPA’s new ENERGY STAR guidance for colocation facilities.

1. New Chips From Meta and Ampere

On Thursday, chipmaker Ampere Computing announced its AmpereOne chip for cloud providers and enterprises constructing their own private clouds. According to the company, the chip, featuring 192 cores and a custom ARM-compatible design, is built to balance high-performance with energy efficiency.

Not to be outdone, Meta, too, announced plans for its own custom accelerator chip, MTIA, alongside a new “AI-optimized data center design” and a “16,000 GPU supercomputer” dedicated to AI research. MTIA, says Meta, will be used to support the workloads of internal AI models.

2. Watson AI Is Back, Baby

Amid the great AI race, IBM announced a new AI-driven data platform for enterprises: watsonx. While not the first Watson we’ve seen from IBM, the company hopes that this tool’s focus on scale, affordability, and data ownership will distinguish it from its past iterations as well as current competitors in the artificial intelligence space. But is watsonx doomed to repeat Watson’s story of overpromising and underdelivering?

3. EU Antitrust Arm Investigates Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is under the microscope of the EU’s antitrust enforcement arm for allegedly leveraging its market position and misusing confidential information to squeeze its cloud-service competitors out of business. Regulators have launched an informal probe to investigate Azure’s business practices. Depending on their findings, this could lead to a formal investigation and potential fines.

4. Wrapping Up DCW 2023

Data Center World 2023 took place in Austin, Texas last week, and it proved a critical platform for data center specialists and tech experts to address the industry’s most pressing issues. In this article, Steve Hill, who was on the ground in Austin, reflects on three major industry challenges — and the potential solutions — highlighted during the event: (1) increasing power and heat density, (2) making site selection and construction more efficient, and (3) minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and improving water as part of sustainability efforts.

5. ENERGY STAR Guidance for Colos

Under its well-known ENERGY STAR label, the EPA has released a new set of best practices to help colo customers minimize their energy consumption and reduce their carbon footprint. Developed with input (and bias) from major data center players, Equinix and Iron Mountain, the guide offers strategies for tackling setup and infrastructure issues, including airflow management, operating temperature, proper cabling, and server efficiency. Whether or not this guidance is as green as it could be, it comes at a pivotal time, as the pace of digitalization accelerates and businesses turn to colocation data centers as an alternative to operating their own.

The data center industry is experiencing impressive advancements and important developments. New chips like AmpereOne and MTIA are being introduced, which are highly efficient and powerful. Also, IBM’s watsonx AI platform is designed to be scalable and affordable, setting a new standard in the competitive field of AI. The Data Center World 2023 event hosted two weeks ago in Texas provided valuable insights into addressing challenges like power usage, construction efficiency, and sustainability. In addition, the EPA’s ENERGY STAR guidance for colocation facilities highlights the growing emphasis on reducing energy consumption and carbon footprint. By keeping up with these news stories, data center professionals can adapt to the changing industry and make well-informed decisions for their organizations in the future.

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