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Predicting future data center market trends is never an exact science. However, as new trends emerge, one can look to the present as an indicator of things to come. Trends such as explosive growth in data, a need for increased data center resiliency and sustainability, and an ongoing shortage of skilled data center professionals present a deepening set of challenges that will grow in influence into the near future.
Trends Impacting the Data Center Market
To address these three trends, the industry will require innovative solutions. I’d like to share some of the ways both our customers and our internal experts are addressing these accelerating requirements:
Explosive growth in data
Today’s data centers are tasked with supporting the dynamic needs of individual businesses to process, transport, store and secure more and more data. According to IDC, by 2025, data centers will be handling 175 zettabytes of data (1 zettabyte is equivalent to a billion terabytes, or a trillion gigabytes). In such an environment, rapid scalability emerges as a critical success factor. Many of our customers are turning to modular/scalable power and cooling solutions that provide the physical infrastructure necessary to accommodate incremental growth in storage, networks and processing. Solutions range in size from small, wall-mounted enclosures, which are helpful in addressing the needs of edge computing environments, to large prefabricated modules the size of entire rooms. In addition, next-generation cloud-based DCIM solutions are now increasing operational data visibility so that data center and edge computing performance can be steadily enhanced.
Improved data center resiliency and sustainability
The best way to demonstrate this is to talk about our customers. One of our customers, iseek, an Australia-based cloud and service provider, decided to invest in data center infrastructure to better withstand natural hazards such as cyclones. iseek’s critical IT infrastructure needed continuous 24/7 operation, even under severe weather conditions. As a colocation facility, constant connectivity of the network and access to data was essential – any downtime would result in severe financial loss for iseek tenants. So the company settled on both a cloud-based management platform (EcoStruxure IT) and Galaxy UPS with Lithium-ion (Liion) batteries to support their uptime and efficiency needs. These solutions accommodate facility growth and storage requirements, as well as provide redundancy to ensure continuous operations under the most challenging of conditions.
Across the globe, incidences of extreme weather are on the rise. For colocation providers and data center owners, new digitized solutions can help to minimize weather-related downtime exposure.
Managing skill shortages
In a recent survey of more than 300 corporate energy and sustainability professionals, conducted by Schneider Electric and Greenbiz, 41% of respondents said they do not have the right internal expertise to act on data — a significant talent barrier in a rapidly digitizing world and digital skills market. For Schneider Electric, we address this chasm in a few ways. First, we offer on-going training to our teams to develop digital skills, as well as recruiting new talent to acquire specific subject matter expertise (such as unique applications of data analysis). We listen to our customers for insights to needs and requirements so that we can best tailor our expert solutions. Also, we don’t try to go it alone – but build the network of partners to adapt and collaborate for our innovative strategy at the edge.
New methods for acquiring and developing skills will enable data center owners and service providers to remain nimble. Vendors with data center experience like Schneider Electric also have the skills to train data center employees on how best to optimize data center physical infrastructure.
How to Address Future Data Center Growth Challenges
To ensure data centers are ready to adjust to these growing industry trends, data center professionals will need to work smarter and not harder. This means that selecting the right productivity tools will be essential to cope with the changes to come. New tools that support asset management, risk mitigation, change management and capacity planning are available today, and provide a sound roadmap for taking on future data center challenges. Learn more about data center management.