Virtual reality could prove a handy tool in the planning and building of data centers, according to British colocation provider Aegis Data. The technology could help architects and data center operators visualize the building before it is constructed.

2016 has been seen by some as a turning point for VR, with the commercial release of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets, as well as the upcoming launch of PlayStation VR. This year’s Google I/O conference also saw the company announce its Daydream platform, a set of specifications for Android phones to make them VR-optimized and compatible with upcoming VR hardware.

Virtual opportunities

Data center VR
Sebastian Moss, Peter Gothard at HPE Discover – Jane McCallion

“When acquiring a site or planning to upgrade an existing one to meet the demands of growing technological advances such as VR and high-performance computing (HPC), it is important for data centre operators to visualise the space required,” said Greg McCulloch, CEO of Aegis Data.

He added: “While the naked eye is unable to analyse the capacity of a site, VR headsets have the ability to accurately capture the true essence of where cabinets, racks and data halls will be positioned in a data centre environment.”

Aegis also forsees VR being useful in sales pitches, as it will allow companies to show customers a site “without leaving the confines of the office, leading to huge cost savings.”

“A concern of customers tends to centre on the location and security of their data. VR technology can help quell such fears by allowing customers to see where data is stored, while additionally exploring a site’s physical security measures,” McCulloch said.

At the same time as potentially helping with the construction and sale of data centers, VR is also expected to increase the demand and use of data centers. The huge processing requirements of virtual reality could lead to more and more GPUs finding their way into data centers, according to Robert Scoble, while virtual reality has already become a dominant driver of new traffic growth in the UK.