As the global pandemic continued in 2020-2021, the data center industry proved its resiliency. The sector as a whole thrived, with new projects and expansion even in a new country, Athens, Greece. Colocation in a data center has remained a popular choice for many small and medium-sized businesses.
Edge computing’s importance and impact on colocation data centers were recognized by the industry. As the pandemic continued, the need for remote monitoring and artificially intelligent automatic management systems became apparent, and we realized how a “lights off” data center could be crucial. As we approach the new year, we take a look at potential data center trends for 2022
From robots that will automatically retrieve cold-storage data tapes to roving security robots ensuring a safe perimeter around a facility, it’s loud and clear that automation is coming to data centers. In fact, it’s already here in many ways.
A number of remote-work inertia stirred by the COVID-19 pandemic has paved the way to introduce robotics into data centers, and a handful of companies are well prepared, equipped, and enthusiastic enough to experiment in a field other than Big Tech.
We can look at the example of IBM experimenting with Roomba vacuum cleaners, equipping the robots with sensors that can gauge data center temperatures and humidity readings.
Likewise, AOL claimed many years ago to have produced a small data center that could operate without staffing. And Google has ordered industrial robots to work to automate the destruction of decommissioned hard drives at a speed faster than humans can imagine.
As the scale of data centers amplifies, the total volume of software and hardware needs that need management will far outpace the capabilities of even the most efficient human staff.
Robotics can pick up the slack and become another indispensable tool in a human’s kit in the near future.
And in the long term, a completely automated server center can function at higher temperatures, lessening cooling and operational costs.
The decline of office-centric networks and the emergence of distributed enterprises is one of the most significant things to prepare for in 2022. Decentralization is a vital step for many firms that are still at least partially remote due to the various benefits of work from home (WFH) capabilities.
To ensure that existing installations can manage distributed services, significant reconfiguration will be required. But, if everything appears to be in order, why bother? “By 2023, 75% of firms that leverage the benefits of distributed enterprises will generate revenue growth 25% quicker than competitors,” according to Gartner.
The use of fossil fuels contributes significantly to climate change. Data centers need a lot of electricity, and the majority of it is generated from less-than-environmentally friendly sources. To combat this (and to be seen as contributing to environmental protection), an increasing number of data centers are employing greener energy sources to supplement their consumption.
Going green is more than just a buzz – it’s more than just a slogan. Microsoft has introduced an aggressive sustainability initiative with an impressive aim of becoming carbon negative by 2030. But this will demand a multi-faceted approach – observing and examining everything from water usage to energy production.
And while Microsoft is trying to adopt a 100% reliability on renewable energy, that strategy simply cannot see the light of the day without the deep wells of energy storage on-site to hedge against alterations in the solar and wind.
A handful of data centers are already applying such measures – by installing big-capacity experimental batteries from giants like Tesla. Naturally, some data center owners are more transparent and accountable about their environmental impacts than others. However, many have adopted a forward stance on collectively working towards reducing harm and ‘going green.’
Today’s data centers face a wide range of computational power requirements. Ultra-scalable technology, which allows them to scale up or down depending on the amount of processing power necessary, is the solution to this problem. These facilities, dubbed hyper-scale data centers, have the exceptional capability for handling seasonal computing needs.
Hyperscale data centers have come forward to fulfill the big data requirements of big enterprises, and cloud and hosting providers like Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and AWS.
In contrast to retail data centers, hyperscale centers usually house just one client, which would explain why Microsoft, Google, and Amazon collectively occupy over 50% of the total hyperscale market.
By emphasizing on the needs of a single client, data can be efficiently allocated across a facility in such a way that higher-demand data with more intensive CPU activities can be environmentally zoned with proper temperature controls.
And workloads can also be more equally spread out across different servers to displace heat production or more efficiently and reliably distribute energy. But don’t let the name fool you – these centers are not differentiated by size.
Instead, hyperscale data centers are defined by its customer, maximally using the facility’s resources and floor space.
For example, Amazon sent shocks when it vertically integrated all the logistical components of its supply chain, from warehousing to all the way to trucking.
And now it’s doing the same again – but this time with ones and zeros – creating its own hyperscale data centers for its line of AWS products. And it’s not alone in the race – with an estimated industry-wide growth in hyperscale construction through 2022 – especially in China.
Edge computing is being driven by factories, energy firms, electric vehicles, and consumers, among others. To serve the edge market, providers will need to grow smaller and more decentralized, as opposed to hyperscale data centers.
With the introduction of Micro-Modular Data Centers, certain firms, such as Dell, are taking this to the next level (MMDCs). These are small, self-contained data centers that are meant to service the needs of a single customer at a time. They frequently incorporate their own cooling, power, and backup hardware, making them a complete data center solution. MMDCs, like any other solution, occupy a cost-effective sweet spot for their use case, but technologies like these are bringing the edge closer.
The Growth Of Hybrids
To be clear, this isn’t a brand-new phenomenon. At this stage, hybrid data centers have been around for quite some time. But, on the other hand, the trend toward them will continue to grow. Because the integrated capabilities that hybridization offers are simply too attractive to pass up, you’ll see fewer and fewer enterprises employing completely on-premises or fully public networks.
What are those abilities? In comparison to the public cloud, security and control are at the top of the agenda. On the other hand, Cloud migration can be a considerable challenge (both for those moving from on-premises networks and those scaling from a public network). Working with a reputable third-party maintenance (TPM) supplier, such as Riverstone Technology, can alleviate some of the most typical cloud migration challenges.