2016: The Year of The Data Center

John M. Hawkins is VP of Marketing and Communications at vXchnge.

With 2016 quickly approaching, executives are starting to hash out their plans and budgets for the coming year. While all aspects of a business are important, no other division is more critical to supporting business growth than the IT department. After all, most businesses today have data they need to keep secure and functioning in order to keep things running smoothly.

That’s why it’s so pivotal that IT executives keep their data center operations top of mind for the coming year as these choices will impact their business growth not only for the 2016, but for years to come.

Keeping this in mind, I spoke with 15 data center site managers and with the office of the CTO to determine what the top trends for data centers in 2016 will be.

Cabinets are Staying Cool

With high-density compute, storage and networking making its way into data centers, now’s the time to update your cabinets. This surge of data and applications will require increasing amounts of energy and power to keep data centers at an optimal temperature. According to IDC, from 2013 to 2020, the digital universe will grow by a factor of 10 – from 4.4 trillion gigabytes to 44 trillion. It more than doubles every two years! While data center cooling techniques are often a popular topic of conversation, one technique we’ll see becoming even more popular is cold aisle containment pod deployments, which will soon become a standard in data center design.

Keeping our Heads in the Clouds

A few years back, there was talk of the cloud having the potential to “kill” the data center. However, over time we’ve seen that cloud and data centers are not in competition, rather they complement one another and need to work together in order to properly function.

We’ll see this trend carry over into 2016. Cloud-based businesses increasingly rely on colocation providers to support their large data storage needs. Data center management teams need to focus part of their efforts on supporting increased usage from cloud-based companies and staying leading contenders in the data center space.

By 2020, IDC found that 40 percent of data in the digital universe will be “touched” by the cloud, meaning either stored, perhaps temporarily, or processed in some way. And with the digital universe experiencing unprecedented growth, we’ll see cloud capabilities being a must in data centers for most customers going forward in 2016 and beyond.

Positioning Matters

You’ve heard this before – location matters! While this is true in most industries, it is also now starting to hold true for data centers.

Many IT decision makers are relying on strategically located data centers rather than relying solely on a hub. For example, instead of storing massive amounts of data in a few select data centers, application providers are moving their applications to “the edge,” (in locations where they can serve customers locally, and reach more businesses and consumers in more markets) in order to be able to serve their consumers more closely and reduce discontinuations.

Another item to consider when thinking about location is costs associated to that particular area. Are there tax incentives for businesses in that region? What are the utility costs for that area? These are all location elements that IT executives need to consider when selecting a location.

Having a data center partner with reliable and resilient infrastructures strategically situated in multiple areas around the country will help keep data safe and functioning properly.

CTOs will Sleep Better at Night

Utilizing a data center as your own, or data centers-as-a-service, will be a new line of thinking for tech executives in 2016.

Businesses are increasingly finding value in data center environments that are supported by an accomplished 24x7x365 on-site technical team. This expedites processes, saving their customers time and money. In addition, having a data center that is local and can physically be accessed also helps ease processes.

Building and maintaining a data center can be a pricy undertaking for small to mid-sized companies. In a report, Gartner found that data center systems spending is projected to reach $143 billion in 2015, a 1.8 percent increase from 2014. So now, more than ever, is the time to utilize a data center with its main focus on helping to grow and protect your business so that you can focus on other aspects of your business.

Due to this high price tag, CTOs should consider working with a data center partner that has done the research and handles it all: power, cooling, security, etc. Data centers-as-a-service provides peace of mind that their brand and customers’ data is protected.

High Density will Dominate

More and more, we are getting requests from customers for high-density and super high-density cabinets. This desire is on par with the times, as the Internet is becoming more accessible – with smartphone, tablets, etc. – and more data is present. As a result, servers must be present to handle all these functionalities and requests, which increase the demand for power, cooling and network. High dense applications allow customers to quickly scale their business and maximize profits.

Cabinet refurbishing, the cloud, location and content provider applications pushed to “the edge” are just a few of the data center trends for 2016. Knowing the amount of data that is already out there and understanding the surge of data that it expected in the years to come, it’s key that companies start considering partnering with a secure and reliable data center if they want to survive.

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.

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