The face of a data center is always changing. Whether a shift comes as a result of new technology implementation or the utilization of a new strategy leveraging existing hardware, today’s facility operators must keep up with the times. To help in these efforts, those within the industry should remain aware of the latest trends, as well as predictions for the future and how to stay ahead of the curve.
Emerging Data Center Trends
Currently, the data center sector is taking advantage of a number of trends, many of which revolve around data center sustainability, noted Network Computing. There has been a massive shift recently toward reducing the carbon footprint of data centers, and there are several techniques that can be used to attain this goal.
For instance, a large number of operators have implemented new, more sustainable practices including improvements to the facility’s cooling and power systems to lower the structure’s electricity consumption. Industry leaders like Microsoft and Facebook have been taking considerable steps toward creating more sustainable data centers, leading the way for others to follow suit. According to an IDC study, lowering energy consumption is now the number one priority for facility operators, illustrating the increased focus on data center sustainability.
Organizations have also been demanding faster service delivery, most often in response to their own customers’ needs, and this has greatly impacted data centers today. A number of operators have implemented software-defined networking or virtualization strategies to ensure that they are getting the most out of their computing equipment, and that clients receive high-quality services as quickly as possible. This will become increasingly important as more users leverage mobile hardware for a range of purposes, including for on-the-go business practices through a BYOD program.
Tomorrow’s Data Center Trends
While keeping up with emerging trends is key to maintaining a favorable position in the market, it is also critical to investigate the projections for tomorrow’s trends. A new study, “Data Center 2025: Exploring the Possibilities,” made a few predictions on trends that will shape data centers in 2025. One such practice that the industry will likely see in the future is a boosted focus on scalability, as operators work to ensure that equipment is fully utilized and no space or capacity is wasted. According to the study, which surveyed over 800 data center professionals, 58 percent of respondents think tomorrow’s facilities will be “right-sized,” causing them to be one half of their current size, at most.
The study also showed the continuation of the data center sustainability trend, with 84 percent of participants stating that future data center infrastructure equipment will be increasingly energy efficient. Additionally, 67 percent predicted that IT components will be more efficient.
Furthermore, as the focus on data center sustainability continues in the future, data centers will increasingly leverage solar power to reduce energy usage. In fact, respondents predicted that solar power will make up 21 percent of the energy utilized in the typical facility by 2025, a considerable increase from 2012’s 1 percent.
Tips for Staying Ahead of the Trends
With new innovations emerging in the data center market nearly every day, as well as exciting advancements predicted for the future, many operators may struggle to stay ahead of the trends. However, CIO.com pointed out that there are a few strategies those in the industry can leverage to remain in step, if not ahead.
As the data center continues to progress toward a virtual environment, operators should seek to invest in skilled staff members that understand how to manage these systems. Making the time for training sessions to grow the workforce’s skills will help ensure that the facility is innovating alongside the times.
“Deploying qualified resources, investing in continuous education and aligning service lifecycle controls for internal and external providers should become the norm, not the exception,” said IT expert Craig Wright.
Experts also recommend adding support for emerging technologies and high-density platforms. However, operators should still include legacy applications in their considerations. Although many clients will opt for the latest and greatest systems, some may decide to remain with their long-held technology for a bit longer. For this reason, data centers must be able to balance these services.
“Utilize hybrid solutions that play to your organizational strengths,” Wright recommends. “Mixing a small on premise footprint or a colocation facility with cloud services often provides the best of old and new worlds.”