6 data centre infrastructure trends for 2017
by Giordano Albertazzi, EMEA president, Vertiv
In 2016, global macro trends significantly impacted the industry, with new cloud innovations and social responsibility taking the spotlight.
As cloud computing has integrated even further into IT operations, the focus will move to improving underlying critical infrastructure as businesses look to manage new data volumes.
We believe that 2017 will be the year in which IT professionals will invest in future-proofing their data centre facilities to ensure that they remain nimble and flexible in the years to come.
Here are the key infrastructure trends we see shaping the data centre ecosystem in 2017:
- Infrastructure races to keep up with connectivity at the edge
While the data centre remains core to delivering applications and services, such as point of sale and inventory management, network closets and micro data centres are growing in number and importance as internet-connected sensors and devices proliferate and remote users demand faster access to information.
In response, organisations will turn to pre-configured micro data centre solutions that support fast deployment, greater standardisation and remote management across distributed IT locations.
Standardisation and modularity are becoming as important in distributed IT locations as they are in large data centres.
- Thermal management expands to sustainability
Fuelled by the desire to drive down energy costs, 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 economiser technologies and the continued evolution of intelligent thermal controls have enabled highly resilient thermal management strategies that support PUEs below 1.2.
However, while energy efficiency remains a core concern, water consumption and refrigerant use are important considerations in select geographies. Data centre operators are tailoring thermal management based on location and resource availability, and there has been a global increase in the use of evaporative and adiabatic cooling technologies which deliver highly efficient, reliable and economical thermal management.
Where water availability or costs are an issue, waterless cooling systems such as pumped-refrigerant economisers have gained traction.
- Security responsibilities extend to data centre management
While data breaches continue to garner the majority of security-related headlines, security has become a data centre availability issue as well. As more devices get connected to enable simpler management and eventual automation, threat vectors also increase.
Data centre 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.
- DCIM proves its value
DCIM is continuing to expand its relevance, both in the issues it can address and its ability to manage the increasingly complex data centre ecosystem. Forward-thinking operators are using DCIM to address data centre challenges, such as regulatory compliance, Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), and managing hybrid environments.
Finally, colocation providers are finding DCIM a valuable tool in analysing their costs by customer and in providing them with remote visibility into their assets.
- Alternatives to lead-acid batteries become viable
New solutions are emerging to the weak link in data centre power systems as operators seek to reduce the footprint, weight and total costs of traditional valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries.
The most promising of these is lithium-ion batteries. With prices decreasing, and chemistries and construction continuing to advance, lithium-ion batteries are becoming a viable option for the data centre and are being scaled to handle row- and room-level requirements.
While this battery technology has been available previously, the improving economics have spurred increased commercialisation efforts in the data centre industry.
- Data centre design and deployment become more integrated
Technology integration has been increasing in the data centre 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 centre development.
Speed-to-market is one of the key drivers of the companies developing the bulk of data centre 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 centre design and deployment that leverages integrated, modular designs, off-site construction and disciplined project management.
For businesses looking to stay competitive and seamlessly transition to new, cloud based technologies, the strength of their IT infrastructure continues to be the cornerstone of success.
With data volumes rapidly rising, IT infrastructures will continue to evolve throughout 2017 to offer faster, more secure and more efficient services needed to meet these new demands.
Investment in the right infrastructure – not just a new infrastructure – is essential. It’s therefore vital that a partner with a strong history of data centre operations is involved throughout the system upgrade – from planning and design, to project management and ongoing maintenance and optimisation.