Datacentres to evolve in next dacade, says research

Use of solar power, increased cloud adoption, higher utilisation rate and increased density will characterise the datacentre by the year 2025

Use of solar power, increased cloud adoption, higher utilisation rate and increased density will characterise the datacentre by the year 2025, according to the vision shared by IT professionals.

The research report Data Center 2025: Exploring the Possibilities by Emerson Network Power forecast huge changes to the datacentre ecosystem in the next decade. The research is based on the vision and ideas shared by more than 800 datacentre professionals from around the world.

Most experts believed the datacentre will undergo big changes over the next decade.

Datacentre managers said they expect increase in utilisation of the cloud, predicting that about two-thirds of datacentre computing will be done in the cloud in 2025. The increased penetration of cloud within the datacentre is in tune with Cisco’s recent Global Cloud Index, which revealed that cloud workloads represent around 46% of current total datacentre workloads, and that it will reach 63% by 2017.

Sharing their vision about the datacentre of the future, respondents also predicted the rise of largely solar-powered datacentres with power densities exceeding 50kW per rack. 

The report estimated that a mix of sources will be used to provide electrical power to datacentres with solar energy at the lead, followed by a nearly equal mix of nuclear, natural gas and wind energy. Most datacentre managers (65%) said hyperscale facilities will be mostly powered by private power generation.

IT giants such as Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are building their own wind energy farms or solar panel fields for datacentre power.

“The datacentre of 2025 certainly won’t be one datacentre. The analogy I like to use is transport,” said Andy Lawrence, vice-president of datacentre technologies and eco-efficient IT at 451 Research.

“On the road, we see sports cars and family cars; we see buses and we see trucks. They have different engines, different types of seating and different characteristics in terms of energy consumption and reliability. We are going to see something similar to that in the datacentre world. In fact that is already happening, and I expect it to continue.”

Among other dominant trends of the future datacentre, experts expected DCIM (datacentre infrastructure management) will play a prominent role. DCIM brings together what used to be stand-alone functions, such as datacentre design, asset discovery and management, capacity planning and energy management for easy management and efficiency.

About 29% of respondents anticipated comprehensive visibility across all systems and layers, while almost half (43%) predicting datacentres to be self-healing and self-optimising.

Taken together, that shows 72% believed some level of DCIM will be deployed in 2025 – significantly higher than most current estimates of DCIM adoption, according to Emerson Power Network.

The results of the study reflect a level of sophisticated understanding, visionary thinking and genuine optimism

Another characteristic of the datacentre of the future is a higher utilisation rate of IT resources. Increased visibility with DCIM tools will result in improved performance overall. 

As many as 72% of datacentre professionals said they expect IT resource utilisation rates to be at least 60% in 2025. This compares to estimated averages today as low as 6-12%, with best practices somewhere between 30-50%.

In the early 2000s, datacentre concerns chiefly revolved around processing and compute power. By 2007, it moved to datacentre virtualisation and consolidation. Today, the top priorities are meeting storage requirements and using more renewable sources of energy

In the future, more datacentre professionals will consider strategies to increase cloud use within datacentres, build software-defined services, improve utilisation rates and use green energy for datacentre power.

“We started the Data Center 2025 initiative to discover what the datacentre community believes the future holds for this industry,” said Steve Hassell, president, datacentre solutions, Emerson Network Power. “The results reflect a level of sophisticated understanding, visionary thinking and genuine optimism.”

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