by Dave Litman
Worldwide data generation continues to run rampant, high-performance computing ramps up the heat, and energy efficiency continues to evolve. These are just a few of the challenges influencing the evolution of the modern data center in 2020.
As we churn ahead into a new decade, it’s time to look forward, from smart cities to intelligent investors — Here are the top 10 data center trends for this year.
1. Rack Density Rising
It’s taken a while, but rack density is finally on the rise. The average, until recently, had been in the 5 kW per rack range. Now, a new survey has found that almost half of enterprise users said they expect an average density of at least 11 kW per rack in 2020. The compute power needed for the immense workloads created by Artificial Intelligence is credited with pushing us into the high-density range (more on AI shortly).
2. Energy Efficiency in the Spotlight
All of that hyper-density means increased power usage. Depending on the source, you might have heard it said that data centers globally use anywhere from 1% to 5% of the world’s electricity. PUE (Power Usage Efficiency) scores are getting better, but let’s face it — data centers will continue to use a lot of power, putting pressure on energy infrastructure. Data center operators will need to find new & inventive ways of becoming energy efficient.
3. Artificial Intelligence/Automation
One of the many ways AI can serve the data center is to help with the aforementioned energy efficiency, and other critical operations. Google’s data centers, for instance, use a machine learning system called DeepMind, which works intelligently to reduce their cooling bill by 40%!
4. New Cooling Solutions
More efficient cooling is a hot topic among data center operators. Galaxy FH1 will be using the cool new immersion cooling solution provided by Engineered Fluids. It’s expected to dramatically reduce power costs by eliminating fans, A/C, and other active cooling systems.
5G wireless will bring with it speeds ten times faster than 4G, along with greater streams of data than ever before. This means that data centers will need to accommodate the veritable data onslaught, which will bring hyperscale facilities to the fore. The ultra-low latency network will also be critical for processing on “the edge”…which brings us to Number Six on our list.
6. The Edge and IoT
In case you haven’t noticed, the internet is no longer limited to your desktop computer. Or even your smartphone or tablet. In 2020, the Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to connect 21 billion devices! Everything from smart speakers to smart cities. Rather than having to send all that information back to the centralized cloud for computation, it’s far more efficient to bring that processing closer to its users… at the network’s “edge”. Data centers will need to embrace edge computing to a greater extent this year.
Container technology continues to evolve. And with it, so does Kubernetes. A couple of new tools will make the open-source automating Kubernetes much simpler to deploy, in turn meaning that deploying, scaling and managing containers becomes that much easier. Which brings us to…
8. Open Source Dependency
Kubernetes is a prime example, but there are so many avenues in which open source technologies continue to change the way data centers are designed and operated. From containers to cloud, and from automation to edge, data centers will be relying on open source tech more than ever before.
Climate change concerns continue to heat up, and pressure is building on data center operators by legislators, lobbyists, and the public to become more sustainable, and reduce carbon emissions. Energy efficiency, renewable energy, and waste reduction are key targets of increased regulations.
10. Increased Investor Interest
Data centers are moving into the mainstream. Traditional real estate investment groups haven’t always been invested in this space, but that is changing, as many companies have generated great success in the space in recent years. Yields and returns are traditionally higher than other real estate investments, and more and more institutional investors (and individual groups alike) are experiencing “FOMO”: Fear of Missing Out, on this booming market.
The Data Center market is expected to see a large capital inflow in 2020.
Galaxy Capital Partners is on the leading edge of this massive market growth, as a real estate development company specializing in developing the next-generation of data center infrastructure. Learn more here, and contact us at [email protected].