Emerson Network Power recently released a summary report predicting four emerging archetypes will reshape the way data centers look and operate.
Traditionally, the data center has evolved in response to technology innovation—mostly server-based—and the pace and direction has been somewhat predictable. Disruptive trends such as cloud computing, sustainability, cybersecurity, and the Internet of Things are driving profound information-technology (IT) changes across all industries and creating opportunities and challenges in the process. As a result, new archetypes that will change the data-center landscape and improve productivity, drive down costs, and increase agility are emerging. The four emerging archetypes are:
- The data fortress: Organizations are beginning to take a security-first approach to data-center 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 virtualization-driven improvements, many servers remain underutilized—some studies indicate servers use just 5 to 15 percent of their computing capacity and 30 percent of all servers are “comatose.” Emerson Network Power sees a future in which organizations explore shared-service models, selling excess capacity and in effect becoming part of the cloud.
- Fog computing: Distributed architectures are becoming common, 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.
- The corporate social-responsibility-compliant data center: 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—are pushing the focus toward sustainability and corporate responsibility. The industry is responding with increased use of alternative energy in an effort to move toward carbon neutrality.