Emerson Network Power, a business of Emerson (NYSE: EMR) and the world’s leading provider of critical infrastructure for information and communications technology systems, today released five data center trends to watch for in 2016.
“The industry continues to advance at an unprecedented pace,” said Steve Hassell, president of data center solutions for Emerson Network Power. “While many businesses remain cautious about making significant changes to their IT infrastructure due to economic uncertainty and the desire to extend the life of existing facilities, we are seeing innovation on many fronts and the potential for major transformation in the industry has never been more real.”
Below are five trends shaping the data center landscape in 2016 and beyond:
1.Cloud Gets Complicated
Most organizations are now using cloud computing to some degree. The evolution from SaaS to true hybrid environments, in which cloud services are used to bring greater agility to legacy facilities, continues to advance as more organizations move to a bimodal architecture. Rather than stabilizing, however, cloud could get more complex. The latest server utilization research, conducted by Stanford’s Jonathan Koomey and Anthesis Group’s Jon Taylor, found that enterprise data center servers still only deliver, on average, between five and 15 percent of their maximum computing output over the course of a year. In addition, 30 percent of physical servers are “comatose,” meaning they have not delivered computing services in six months or more. The push to identify and remove comatose servers will continue to build momentum and is an essential step in managing energy consumption; however, the potential for unused data center capacity to become part of a shared-service, distributed cloud computing model will also be explored, enabling enterprise data centers to sell their excess capacity on the open market.
2.Architecture Trumps Technology
While data center technology plays an important role in ensuring efficiency and availability, data center operators are focusing less on technology and more on the architectures in which those technologies are deployed. “We are seeing more customers who in the past would have defaulted to a traditional Tier 3 or Tier 4 power architecture coming to us and asking for help in defining the right architecture for their environment,” said Peter Panfil, vice president of global power for Emerson Network Power. “They have confidence in the technology—that’s become a given. What they are looking for is a system architecture—increasingly a non-standard architecture—that is tailored to their requirements for flexibility, availability and efficiency. They value expertise and experience more than technology.”
3. Data Centers Find a Common Language
The Internet of Things (IoT) will not only impact future data center architectures by increasing the volume of data that must be processed, it will also change data center management—and the latter sooner than the former. Today’s data centers include thousands of devices that speak a host of languages, including IPMI, SNMP, and Mod Bus. This creates gaps between systems that limit efforts to manage holistically. That limit will cease to exist as Redfish, an open systems specification for data center and systems management developed by Emerson Network Power, Intel, Dell and HP, gains traction. Redfish will create interconnectivity across data center systems, enabling new levels of visibility, control and automation. Its adoption will also help establish best practices for effective use of IoT in other applications.
4. Social Responsibility Makes its Presence Felt
The industry has been dealing with efficiency since at least 2007, but the focus has largely been financial. Now, with organizations like the National Resources Defense Council raising awareness of data center energy use, some businesses are shifting their focus from efficiency to sustainability and viewing their data centers through a social responsibility lens. Data center operations—including carbon footprint, alternative energy use and equipment disposal—are now being included in corporate responsibility statements, creating greater pressure to make advances in these areas. The impact of this trend will not be limited to on-premise technology decisions. To be meaningful, reporting must include the full data center ecosystem, including colocation and cloud providers. As this practice grows, sustainability will rise to the level of availability and security as must-have attributes of a high performing data center.
5. The Neighborhood Data Center Moves In
The growth in digital content consumption and data collection is challenging the centralized data center model. While large data centers will continue to provide the majority of computing, they will increasingly be supported by edge facilities, or neighborhood data centers, that provide low-latency content and applications to users or data processing and logic for IoT networks. As these micro data centers, operating as satellites to a central facility, proliferate on corporate campuses and in high-density residential areas, their success will depend on the use of standardized, intelligent systems that can be remotely managed.
“As with every industry, disruptive forces—security, sustainability, speed and costs—are driving change in the way data centers are architected, constructed and operated. This should continue throughout 2016 as the ability to deliver applications and content to users while collecting and analyzing data becomes more critical to business success,” said Hassell.
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