The future of the data centre: Sustainability, the IoT, and downsizing
The push is on to better streamline unused data centre capacity – and according to a missive from network provider Emerson Network Power, 2016 will see a greater emphasis on shared service distributed cloud computing models.
According to the company’s five trends shaping the data centre landscape for 2016, enterprises which have data centres either as ‘comatose’ – buildings which have not delivered computing services for at least six months – or data centres with free room will be able to sell excess capacity on the open market as the evolution from basic software as a service to more hybrid environments intensifies. Recent Stanford research found 30% of physical servers were comatose.
This greater use of resources is seen elsewhere in Emerson Network Power’s predictions. No longer are companies focused on efficiency, but a greater emphasis on sustainability and social responsibility is key – and the company argues this trend will not just be limited to on-premise technology decisions.
A related survey, opining on the data centre of 2025, argues that data centres will in general be smaller than they are now; more than half (58%) of respondents expect data centres to be half the size of current facilities, while one in 10 argues the enterprise data centre of 2025 will be one tenth the size.
With regard to data centre cooling, the move towards sustainability was again noted. Chris Molloy, a distinguished engineer at IBM, argued data centre equipment will not need as much heat removal as it will either generate less heat, or tolerate much higher temperatures, or both. “As IT equipment becomes more resilient, we will see ASHRAE A3/A4-based data centres operating with temperatures in the cold aisle rising to above 100°F, reducing the need for cooling,” he said. More natural cooling methods, such as provided by the Node Pole facility in Sweden, are a major USP for those providers.
The Internet of Things (IoT) will also play a part in 2016 data centre trends, Emerson Network Power argues. Some of these predictions are self-fulfilling. The IoT will force data centre providers to use a common language, as currently thousands of devices speak a host of languages including IPMI, SNMP, and Mod Bus. The alternative the network provider proposes, Redfish, is one of their projects alongside Intel, Dell, and HP. Similarly, another prediction focuses on the ‘neighbourhood data centre’; large data centres which are supported by edge facilities for low latency content for IoT networks.
What do you make of these ideas for the future of the data centre?
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