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Top Data Center Trends and Predictions to Watch for in 2017

Posted on June 27, 2017 by Rick Gonedes

As more and more devices are connected to the Internet (thanks largely due to the increased popularity of the Internet of Things), new data centers are being rapidly built to support this additional workload. At the same time, managing energy consumption efficiently is still a major challenge for data center operators, in order to maintain reliable application delivery and uptime.

Here are some of this year’s major trends in the data center industry, currently impacting owners and operators.

The Rise of the High-Density Data Center

On the subject of power, one of the most immediate trends to pay attention to is the shift towards high-density data center construction. These facilities only require about half the amount of space to support the same amount of equipment when compared to their predecessors, which are only built to handle about 4 to 5 kW of critical power per cabinet.

In an era where US data centers are expected to require six times the amount of the electricity of New York City by 2020, this is a trend worth embracing. High-density data centers not only improve operational efficiency but have also proven useful in order to reduce capital expenditures and lower operating costs across the board.

Although it's true that end users require power chains resilient and versatile enough to support the higher power within the rack, increasing power measurement at the outlet level is still an essential primary step towards a successful implementation of these ideas.

Edge Data Centers

Edge data centers are built around the idea that all data doesn't necessarily need to be processed in the same place. By processing certain data in specific locations that are closer to the end user or application, it allows for a new level of speed, efficiency and ultimate data quality at the same time. This creates a situation similar to highly distributed computing environments, where each site is largely self-sustained but still maintains some connectivity to the primary data center.

Hence, the focus isn't about selecting the best hardware - it's placing the emphasis on the best way to process information given the circumstances to create the best information at the lowest cost.

Perhaps the biggest benefit that edge data centers provide the end users is lower bandwidth costs, thanks to the shorter backbone transport. Situations like storage and backup for remote and branch offices also become easier, as there is no longer one universal set of rules, and administrators can assess the needs of individual situations and take steps from there.

Smarter Technologies and the IoT 

Finally, another one of the top data center trends to watch for in 2017 is actually one that has been growing in popularity over the last several years. As more and more data centers incorporate "smart" technologies (like those enabled by the Internet of Things) into their organizations, managers, and other business leaders will be able to keep better track of components and environmental measurements in real-time.

"Smart" environmental sensors measure properties like temperature, humidity, and electricity consumption. Network equipment monitoring will maintain a much higher level of uptime by alerting officials to small problems before they have a chance to become much bigger and more pressing later on.  All of this will be yet another contributor to reduced capital and operational expenditures.

To that end, the Internet of Things itself will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. As the IoT and similar technologies force data centers to evolve to meet demands, those same devices will allow data centers to change in a much more natural, organic and simplified direction. At that point, the Internet of Things becomes both a challenge and an opportunity at the exact same time - definitely something to keep your eye on moving forward. To learn more about Raritan and IoT, discover our Eliot program here.

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