7 Technology Trends Shaping the Next Generation DC

Article by Nitin Mishra



The datacenter industry has been witness to a steady growth rate evident from the investments being made for facilities as well as IT infrastructure. Globally, the industry is growing at a rate of 10-12 % and is further expected to grow at an annual compound rate of about 17% over the next few years, according to recent analyst reports. Good news indeed for the industry.

Talking about the APAC market, the datacenter spend in the region is considerably higher than the global average. While China takes the overall lead in the growth within the region, both China and India will see large investments in building new colocation facilities. At the same time, mature markets such as Australia and New Zealand will see a decreasing trend in building new facilities. The focus in these markets will be on datacenter consolidation.

Changes are predicted for the Indian datacenter market too. India has the world’s third largest internet user base after US and China, which is estimated to grow by over 15% in the coming years with respect to both white space and power. It is predicted that by 2050, India will become the 5th largest datacenter market in the world.

In 2015 there will be an increased focus on and importance of BYOD, big data, Internet of Things and cloud services. Consequently, we will see more companies, both small and big, opting for managed datacenters rather than captive datacenters. There will be high demand for datacenter colocation services over the next two years.

Trends Affecting the Datacenter

IDC, in its recent report, stated that the number of datacenters being built around the world will continue growing until it peaks at 8.6 million in 2017, and estimates that the amount of datacenter space worldwide will grow from about 1.58 billion square feet total in 2013 to 1.94 billion square feet in 2018.

Datacenter has since long become the backbone of businesses. Having said that, in the coming years the sheer growth in data, and digital intelligent devices of all kinds will drive profound global growth in datacenters. Here are some trends that will be seen in 2015:

Increased Focus on Disaster Avoidance

Strategies related to disaster avoidance and business continuity will gain prominence in the coming years. We are seeing a heightened awareness of possible failures among business enterprises in the context of both man-made and natural disasters. In 2015, planning for all the possible disasters will continue to grow as a top priority for organizations prompting enterprises to lay special emphasis while choosing the locations, building designs and standards. Datacenter trends will change due to this newfound focus on disaster avoidance.

Emergence of Software-Defined World

Over the past few years, we have been seeing the emergence of software-defined servers (virtualization), software-defined networking and software-defined storage with respect to datacenters.

In a software defined world, the whole idea of defining a physical infrastructure with software abstraction is to decouple the control of computing with the actual infrastructure, so that computing can be assembled on-demand from available components. This makes provisioning, scaling, management, deconstructing out-of-use computing, all very easy.

In 2015 and beyond, datacenters will need to gear up to support this software-defined world. Despite standards and guidelines for effective use, best practices are still evolving and will take another 2-3 years to mature.

The Move from ‘Captive Datacenter’ to ‘Internet Datacenter’

Increasing complexity in IT infrastructures poses a challenge in managing the power and cooling requirements if the captive datacenter operates on old DC equipment. Technology refresh times and the cost of technology upgrade are also some concerns relating to captive datacenters. Internet datacenters on the other hand are equipped with the most recent technology upgrades and are managed by experienced personnel.

In 2015, we will see many organizations move from a captive datacenter model to Internet datacenter (outsourcing model of Datacenter) model because of Zero capital investment, high operational efficiency and scalable infrastructure that an Internet datacenter provides.

Web-Scale IT will Change IT Landscape

Lets look at ‘What is Web-scale IT’ first. To define it in simple words, it's all of the things happening at large cloud services firms - such as Google, Amazon and Facebook - that enables them to achieve extreme levels of compute and storage delivery.

Till now business enterprises have been grappling with budget constraints, a need to minimize inefficiencies and the increasing demand for business agility to make their infrastructures more efficient and responsive to market changes.

In 2015, due to web-scale IT, organizations will move to the next level of infrastructure automation, the level that understands the requirements of applications and responds to those requirements in real time – a software defined environment. With web-scale IT, datacenters will have to scale performance proportionally with the addition of resources, adapt to the needed degree of business change, remain resilient in the face of infrastructure fragility and be operationally efficient as the size of the system grows.

Datacenter Density is Heating Up

The last 10 years or so have been all about increasing datacenter density i.e., speed and computing power in a datacenter. Computing has changed with processors containing more cores, memory capacity has become bigger and faster, proliferation of Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports has changed networking environment, and higher capacity solid state drives (SSDs) have become ubiquitous. The result is that the datacenter has become smaller in size and performance has increased.

Big Data, Big Changes and Datacenters

Big data has been spoken about in datacenter circles as a game changer - business decisions depend on accurate and timely data so datacenters in coming years must rise to that challenge. In 2015, big data, with all its computing and storage needs, will be driving the development of storage hardware, network infrastructure and new ways of handling ever increasing computing needs.

Internet of Things is Disrupting the DC

One of the biggest disruptions that is about to happen is the Internet of Things (IoT). Proliferation of sensor devices sending data by the second to a cloud backend and being analyzed on real-time via big data analytics is definitely changing the way datacenters are being perceived – a disruptive change in the DC.

Reports from various analyst firms are touting from 18 to 50 billion devices connected by 2020 – all sending back data every second or so. The DC is going through burgeoning changes in the way it looks, functions, performs and perceived!

In Conclusion

Emerging technologies and disruptive business strategies are reshaping the very fabric of the datacenter. However, the importance and spends on the DC continues to increase and will reach a point when most datacenters will either be managed by expert datacenter providers or will be completely outsourced to managed datacenter players.