NTT Data launches data center inspection robots • The Register

NTT Data’s Japanese offices will deploy data center surveillance robots in 15 of their own facilities and then offer them as a service to customers.

The firm tested the bots in a single data center from August to November 2022. They appear to have passed muster as the machines will be introduced – literally and metaphorically – to other bit barns in April 2023.

Like Fujitsu’s data center inspectors, which we reported on in November, NTT’s use a 4K camera that can focus on the kit in the racks and report problems over the air.

Much like Fujitsu’s bots, NTT Data’s droids can’t do much that the ubiquitous Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) can’t in terms of detecting internal problems.

However, NTT’s bots surpass Fujitsu’s in their ability to spot anomalies in appearance and sniff the air for smells that might indicate something is wrong.

While the bots have arms that appear to have grippers, it’s unclear if they can compete with Alibaba’s data center robots, which replace hard drives in a storage array or server.

NTT Data claims that the machines shave an hour or two off the daily work of human data center staff and have the potential to reduce inspection work by 80 percent once AI can be applied to focus the bots on the things that matter most are.

The video of NTT Data’s machine in action can be found online:

YouTube video

The company eventually plans to offer the bots as a service, in addition to deploying them in its own data centers in Japan. There’s no word on whether the company will deploy the bots in the data centers it operates in more than 20 locations around the world.

Wherever it tries to sell the bots, the field will be that they provide an easier and cheaper way to automate data center inspection. And they are needed, NTT Data believes, because shortages of skilled workers around the world could threaten the profitability of data center operations. ® NTT Data launches data center inspection robots • The Register

Rick Schindler

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