The future of data centres

The data centre story goes right back to computer systems used by the military in the 1940s. Computer rooms with racks and cable trays accommodated complex machines. Fast forward to the 1990s, and the rising affordability of equipment and expansion of IT operations led to the introduction of data centres to manage business operations.

A modern data centre stores networked computers, storage systems and computing infrastructure to allow businesses to store and leverage data. In today’s online world, 24/7 reliable access is critical for everyday operations. As services continue to evolve to meet client demand, five key trends are emerging for the future of data centre operations. The world is shifting to virtual applications, data centre sustainability and security is coming to the fore and key enhancements are being made to data centre infrastructure and technology.


Going virtual

Among future data centre trends, the requirement for businesses to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic sent a wave of new workloads into the cloud. Access from any location became a necessity. Cloud approaches as a result are becoming more popular than on-premise systems, driven by an aim to reduce hardware-related costs. The public cloud service market itself is expected to reach $525.60 billion by 2023 worldwide as more businesses move to virtualisation over the coming years. More businesses will adopt a hybrid cloud approach as they look to blend the scalability of public cloud and the security of private cloud.


Data centre sustainability

The data centre industry accounts for around 4% of global electricity consumption and 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Decision makers are therefore prioritising the adoption of sustainable measures to mitigate this impact. More are turning to renewable energy sources, free cooling and immersion cooling instead of water base cooling to help reduce carbon emissions and waste. We’ll also see data centres prioritising the sustainable practices of their wider supply chain.

Telehouse has utilised EkkoSense’s and intelligent controller DCIM optimisation technology to monitor and visualise data centre performance. Expect to see more providers keeping sustainability at front-of-mind when making key decisions. Power usage effectiveness (PUE) and water usage effectiveness (WUE) metrics will take centre stage in data centre sustainability strategies.


Data security

Another data centre trend is the evolution of cyber threats. Ransomware is a key example of a growing form of attack, which utilises malware to encrypt sensitive files on a device. Perpetrators then demand a ransom from the victim for data or operations to be released back to them. Alongside these developments, data centres are implementing new security solutions to ensure compliance with GDPR. Chip-level security for example is now being integrated to safeguard hardware and software.


Growth of AI & ML in database management

As the amount of data continues to grow, data centres need to take on the responsibility for ensuring unstructured data is effectively sorted for quick exportation when it is needed. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools are able to simplify, optimise and automate data processes. This includes the monitoring of quality, analytics and governance. Automation will be integrated into data centre operations, ensuring that human errors are eradicated and organisations witness improved efficiency.


Better data centre infrastructure

Improvements are continuously being made to data centre infrastructure. More tools and systems will be created to simplify the process of working with databases. User-friendly and intuitive interfaces will attract a wider audience. This will for example include 3D heat maps to chart the internal thermal environment, enabling individuals to better plan, model and report on key performance metrics.

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