As we come to the close of another year and get ready to embark on a new year we reflect on the things that we did right and wrong and make an effort to improve for the new year. Data centers will continue to learn from the past, attempt to stay on the cutting edge of technology, provide better service including improved uptime and energy efficiency, and keep information secure. Trends can sometimes be fast in passing, a quick blip on the radar soon to be forgotten. But, sometimes, trends are indicative of a bigger shift in the industry that all are taking notice of and making adjustments to accommodate. One trend that seems to be sticking around is a shift towards reducing smaller computer rooms or IT sites that are outdated and instead opting for data center colocation and cloud computing to meet the needs of most businesses.
Over the past few years we have seen a big shift towards businesses eliminating their small on-site IT and computer rooms in favor of data center colocation projects as well as utilizing the cloud. Data Center Knowledge elaborates on how the cloud has impacted data centers and continues to be a strong trend going into 2016, “A few years back, there was talk of the cloud having the potential to “kill” the data center. However, over time we’ve seen that cloud and data centers are not in competition, rather they complement one another and need to work together in order to properly function. We’ll see this trend carry over into 2016. Cloud-based businesses increasingly rely on colocation providers to support their large data storage needs. Data center management teams need to focus part of their efforts on supporting increased usage from cloud-based companies and staying leading contenders in the data center space. By 2020, IDC found that 40 percent of data in the digital universe will be “touched” by the cloud, meaning either stored, perhaps temporarily, or processed in some way. And with the digital universe experiencing unprecedented growth, we’ll see cloud capabilities being a must in data centers for most customers going forward in 2016 and beyond.”
In addition to colocation and cloud storage, many data centers continue to have increased density demands. As more facilities move towards high-density storage and computing the needs of the data facility, including uninterruptible power supply, UPS battery, rack storage, PDU, etc., shift as well. Forsythe elaborates on high density demands and reinforces the shift towards colocation, “By 2020, U.S. data centers will require six times the electricity of New York City. Since the average U.S. data center is approaching 20 years of age, most existing data center facilities can’t meet today’s power demands. Trying to run higher power density technologies in an aging data center usually takes significant capital investments – if it can even be accomplished. Lower-density data centers also require you to procure additional IT cabinets and their associated infrastructure (power whips, power strips, patch panels, etc.). This added cost is due to the inability of lower-density data centers to provide enough power on a per-cabinet basis to make total use of every cabinet’s vertical rack space… You have the opportunity to reduce your costs and improve your performance if you move to a facility that accommodates higher density. In a higher-density data center, you may end up requiring just half of the space that you would require at a lower-density facility. If you upgrade your technology and increase your power density, you can support the same amount of equipment with fewer cabinets. This allows you to improve your efficiencies and power usage effectiveness (PUE), significantly lowering your capital and operational costs.”