BMW’s Connected Cars Force New Data Center

Data from BMW’s Connected Drive technology will top a terabyte per day by 2018.

BMW said this week that it is buying space at a data center in Iceland, in response to the torrent of data the company expects from its connected cars.

BMW will lease space at the Verne Global facility, but the company is also constructing its own data center near Reykjavik, said Mario Müller, vice president of IT infrastructure for BMW and chairman of the Open Data Center Alliance. Müller presented the carmaker’s data plans at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco this week.

For BMW, the data problem is its Connected Drive technology, which uses real-time traffic data, cloud-based voice control and other features connected by an LTE data connection. Today, just 1 million cars are connected, Müller said, with data requirements in the hundreds of megabytes.  By 2018, some 10 million  BMWs will be connected, asking for and receiving more than 1 terabyte of data every day. However, the data center that BMW is building will also be responsible for simulating crash tests, aerodynamic calculations, and CAD work.

BMW also set out to shave 35 million euros from its annual operations costs, cutting the number of data centers operated by the company down from 25 to 9. BMW even got rid of the company’s PBXes – the company is all run via mobile phone.

In addition to improving the efficiency of the company’s servers, Müller also was asked to improve the data availability from its current point of 99.9 percent uptime to something higher – “99.9 percent availability, that’s good – but my colleagues think that’s bad,” he said.

The new BMW data center will use 100 percent renewable energy, a combination of hydroelectric and geothermal. The target data-center PUE is 1.2, Müller said. Müller didn’t name a server partner, but since he appeared at the Intel Developer Forum (and since Intel is the “technical advisor” to the ODCA) it can be safely be assumed that he’ll be using Xeon-based servers.

Müller also released numbers from the second ODCA member survey, which reported that members are scaling cloud adoption 15% faster than previously forecast, with over half of responding members running more than 40% of their IT operations in the private cloud by 2015 and a quarter of members running more than 40% of their operations in the public cloud. Three-quarters of members are planning hybrid application deployments across public and private cloud environments, they said.

“BMW is 100 percent committed to the goals of the Open Data Center Alliance,” Müller said.

The Open Data Center Alliance was formed in 2010 as a consortium of global IT organizations., including a steering committee of senior IT executives from BMW, China Unicom, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, and others.

 

Image: BMW.com

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