A Look at Datacenter Infrastructure Trends for 2017

Shrirang Deshpande – Country Head -Data Center Business, Vertiv

The year 2016 saw the manifestation of a billion plus dreams for Digital India with the steps towards smart cities and a cashless society. These hot discussion topics have unarguably been propelled by a steady move further into the cloud era. This move creates challenges and opportunities for organizations using and delivering cloud and co-located data center resources.  With IoT and smart cities becoming a reality, expect an emphasis channeling the technology advances in critical infrastructure that will enable edge, enterprise, and colocation and cloud data centers to adapt to change in 2017 and beyond.

Here are a few trends expected to shape the data center ecosystem in 2017:

1. Infrastructure races to keep up with connectivity at the edge

Distributed IT and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are pushing IT resources closer to users and industrial processes. While the data center remains core to delivering applications and services, such as point of sale and inventory management, network closets and micro data centers are growing in number and importance as internet-connected sensors and devices proliferate and remote users demand faster access to information. Responding to these changes, organizations will turn to pre-configured micro data center solutions that support fast deployment, greater standardization and remote management across distributed IT locations. Standardization and modularity are becoming as important in distributed IT locations as they are in large data centers.

Existing network closets and remote IT locations will also be re-evaluated to ensure the power and cooling provisions are adequate to meet the increased criticality of these locations as they begin to provide localized collection and analysis of real-time data from connected sensors and devices. This move will become critical as IoT moves from hype to reality with enough enterprise use cases building in 2017.

2. Thermal management expands to sustainability

Data center cooling has changed more in the last five years than any other data center system. Fueled by the desire to drive down energy costs (environmental regulations will push the demand for green buildings), traditional approaches that focused on delivering “maximum cooling” have been displaced by more sophisticated approaches focused on removing heat as efficiently as possible. Increased use of advanced economizer technologies and the continued evolution of intelligent thermal controls have enabled highly resilient thermal management strategies that support PUEs below 1.2.

Now, while energy efficiency remains a core concern, water consumption and refrigerant use have emerged as important considerations in select geographies. Thanks to the expanded range of thermal management strategies available today, data center operators are tailoring thermal management based on data center location and resource availability. The need of the hour are data centers which optimise power usage, land utilisation and cooling management systems thereby offering a cost advantage.

3. Security responsibilities extend to data center management

As more devices get connected to enable simpler management and eventual automation, threat vectors also increase. Data center professionals are adding security to their growing list of priorities and beginning to seek solutions that help them identify vulnerabilities and improve response to attacks. Management gateways that consolidate data from multiple devices to support DCIM are emerging as a potential solution. With some modifications, they can identify unsecured ports across the critical infrastructure and provide early warning of denial of service attacks.

4. DCIM proves its value

DCIM is continuing to expand its value, both in the issues it can address and its ability to manage the increasingly complex data center ecosystem. Forward-thinking operators are using DCIM to address data center challenges, such as regulatory compliance, Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), and managing hybrid environments. Finally, colocation providers are finding DCIM a valuable tool in analyzing their costs by customer and in providing their customers with remote visibility into their assets.

DCIM has emerged as the precursor to Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in the data center, delivering the visibility, increased coordination across systems and support for automation that are at the core of the IIoT value proposition.

5. Data center design and deployment become more integrated

Technology integration has been increasing in the data center space for the last several years as operators seek modular, integrated solutions that can be deployed quickly, scaled easily and operated efficiently. Now, this same philosophy is being applied to data center development. Speed-to-market is one of the key drivers of the companies developing the bulk of data center capacity today, and they’ve found the traditional silos between the engineering and construction phases cumbersome and unproductive. As a result, they are embracing a turnkey approach to data center design and deployment that leverages integrated, modular designs, off-site construction and disciplined project management.