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What will the data centre of the future look like?

03 Dec 2015

Cyber security, sustainability, and cloud and fog computing are key trends that will shape the way the data centre of the future will look and operate, according to Emerson Network Power.

The company says traditionally the data centre has evolved in response to technology innovation - mostly server-based - and the pace and direction has been somewhat predictable.

However, disruptive trends such as cloud computing, sustainability, cybersecurity and the Internet of Things (IoT) are driving significant IT changes across all industries and creating opportunities and challenges in the process.

As a result, new archetypes are emerging that will change the data centre landscape and improve productivity, drive down costs and increase agility, says Emerson.

According to Emerson, four emerging archetypes of tomorrow’s data centres are as follows.

The data fortress

Cyber attacks have disrupted some of the world’s leading companies as our increasingly connected world creates more and more openings for hackers, Emerson says.

As a result, organisations are beginning to take a security-first approach to data centre design, deploying out-of-network data pods for highly sensitive information - in some cases with separate, dedicated power and thermal management equipment.

The cloud of many drops

Despite virtualisation-driven improvements, too many servers remain underutilised - some studies indicate servers use just 5-15% of their computing capacity and that 30% of all servers are ‘comatose’.

Emerson says it sees a future where organisations explore shared service models, selling some of that excess capacity and in effect becoming part of the cloud.

Fog computing

Distributed architectures are becoming commonplace as computing at the edge of the network becomes more critical.

Introduced by Cisco, fog computing connects multiple small networks into a single large network, with application services distributed across smart devices and edge computing systems to improve efficiency and concentrate data processing closer to devices and networks.

It’s a logical response to the massive amount of data being generated by the IoT, says Emerson. 

The corporate social responsibility compliant data centre

Energy efficiency continues to be important for an industry with seemingly limitless consumption needs, but other drivers - most notably an increased focus on reducing carbon footprint among some organisations - are pushing the focus toward sustainability and corporate responsibility, according to Emerson.

The industry is responding with increased use of alternative energy in an effort to move toward carbon neutrality, the company says.

“We are in the midst of a profound digital transformation that is reshaping how businesses and consumers behave, connect and transact,” says Anand Sanghi, Emerson Network Power Asia president.

“Consequently, data centres are also evolving in response to this transformation. With this, we remain committed to ensuring that our consumers are well-equipped to embrace emerging technologies, giving them the agility and capability to grow their business in a safe, secure, scalable and sustainable way," he says.

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