Telehouse for Technophiles: Touring the Data Center of the Future
What Will Data Centers Look Like in 2017 and Beyond?
In previous Telehouse for Technophiles blogs, we’ve looked at present-day, advanced technologies affecting the data center, such as adiabatic cooling, the increased usage of Deep Machine Learning and the proliferation of Big Data analytics. But what changes can we anticipate in 2017 and beyond?
Let’s explore various predictions concerning design, operational and technological advances in the data center, as well as some of the market drivers that we can expect will influence the industry in the coming year and into the future.
Introducing the Skyscraper Data Center
Eschewing current designs in which data centers are low and sprawling, two European architects, Marco Merletti and Valeria Mercuri, have proposed a data center rising 65-stories tall. While only in the blueprint phase, the futuristic, tower-like structure would feature sustainable technology to cool hundreds of thousands of servers and be powered by geothermal energy and hydropower. The data center’s cylindrical design would create a chimney effect whereby the hot air inside the tower goes up and sucks the cold air from the outside, and the outside cold air would reenter through servers arranged in pod units that would cool naturally.
Minding the Store
We can expect storage to continue to evolve at a brisk pace to meet future data center demands. Over the course of the next two to three years, all-SSD storage products will replace bulk hard drive secondary tier boxes, while either some form of local PCIe drives or vSAN will host primary storage. Backup and archival storage will migrate to public clouds, and it’s likely that a portion of secondary storage will too, as vendors solve lingering latency issues for public cloud storage.
Software-Defined Infrastructure Goes Vogue
Software-Defined Infrastructure (SDI) will become all the rage in the not too distant future, making use of the same approaches we’re already seeing for managing server orchestration. SDI offers a more flexible and responsive data center architecture that enables IT to focus on creating and managing new services and capabilities. With user control extended to the virtual infrastructure and service on demand, the administrative tasks of setup and configuration maintenance will become so yesterday.
For Those That Prefer Small
Modular data centers, which include all the necessary IT, power, cooling, fire protection and access control elements, consist of pre-fabricated building blocks that can be deployed in a fraction of the time it takes to construct a brick-and-mortar facility. Modular data centers, which can withstand virtually any weather condition, can also be easily shipped to areas where building a permanent data center is impractical, such as desert climates, jungles and even the Arctic Circle. They’re also considered to be ideal for emergency response operations. Moreover, the small size and portable nature of modular data centers make them suitable for mobile network providers, many of which are increasingly turning to distributed data centers as the platform to run Network Function Virtualization (NFV).
Some industry experts consider modular data centers as representing the natural evolution from the distributed data center model of today and the centralized data center that preceded both. While North America is likely to remain the largest modular market in size, China, India, and Brazil are expected to emerge as the highest growth markets. MarketsandMarkets estimates the global market for modular data centers will grow from approximately $10.3 billion in 2016 to $38.3 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of nearly 30 percent.
From startups to Fortune 500 companies, data management is at the core of every business model and a critical element of any organization’s success. Predicting this shift over a quarter of a century ago, Telehouse has built a global footprint of 48 data centers that support SMEs to large enterprises everywhere they do business.