With the data centre changing quicker than ever, the industry can look drastically different from one year to the next. Industry insiders tell us what we can expect to see in the future. 

Kelly Morgan, vice president, services, 451 Research

kelly-morgan-451-research

We are expecting to see continued acquisitions in the sector, since scale is so important. There are also several relatively new private equity firms investing in the sector that are looking to add to the acquisitions they made this year.

There is growing interest by cloud providers in adding data centres in countries where they do not currently have locations, partly in response to the GDPR but also due to cloud growth generally as well as data protection rules in Asian countries. We expect to see cloud providers announce deployments in various countries in Eastern Europe, in Latin America, in Asian markets such as Malaysia or Thailand.

Longer term, we expect to see growth in the demand for data centre space in secondary markets, as the Internet of Things and 5G lead to ever-increasing amounts of data needing to transit across networks and various players look to store and analyse the data closer to where it is generated. This may not be for five years but there will likely be growing demand for data centre space close to medium-to-large population centres not currently well served – places like Birmingham, Berlin and Buenos Aires.

Kim Stevenson, senior vice president and general manager, Lenovo data centre infrastructure

kim-stevenson-predictions

The pace of business will continue to accelerate, increasing pressure on IT organizations for rapid innovation and deployment.  As a result, data centres will go micro as edge computing comes to life.

SaaS will continue rapid growth in classic enterprise workloads (marketing, CRM, HRC, ERP / SCM and messaging & collaboration), creating capacity for IT organizations to invest in business applications.

Business applications will drive explosive growth as companies wrap their products and services with preventative and predictive services. Underpinning this growth will be AI embedded into business applications.

Data management and analytics will drive the growth of on-premise workloads, giving rise to the hybrid enterprise.  On-premise environments will be reimagined as derivatives of hyperscale environments. Finally, operational simplicity will rise in importance, making fully integrated appliances/solutions highly attractive.

Steven Carlini, senior director innovation, data centre IT Division, Schneider Electric

steven-carlini

It’s always interesting to reflect on the previous year’s trends and make predictions for the upcoming twelve months, especially in the data centre industry where critical infrastructure advances year on year.

Throughout 2017 we saw that edge computing continued to be a dominant force in the industry. Cisco estimates that within five years 50 billion devices or ‘things’ will be connected to the internet, and according to IDC, by the year 2020, around 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for each human being.

As more devices become equipped with IoT-ready sensors – a market that’s predicted be worth around $7.1 trillion (approx. £5.3 trillion) within the next five years – we can expect the stats around data from both industrial IoT and data centre applications to increase further. All of this digital information will still need to be managed, processed, protected and analysed locally meaning that edge computing will continue to be adopted widely.

2017 has also seen a huge shift towards off-premise IT provided by internet giants, colocation and telecoms companies. A recent report by 451 Research’s principle analyst, Penny Jones predicted that the multi-tenant-data-centre (MTDC) market would continue to grow throughout 2017, with an additional 423,000 square foot of colocation space estimated to be available by the year-end.  It would therefore not be unreasonable to predict that this market will continue to grow throughout 2018, with many new players also emerging.

2017 was also the year that Lithium-Ion chemistry became a well-established, and widely adopted battery technology for 3-phase UPS systems in hyperscale data centres. But what’s also interesting is that by the beginning of 2018 you’ll also see Li-Ion begin to emerge within single-phase, IoT-ready UPS systems.

Lastly, we believe that scalability and speed of deployment will become even more critical factors in today’s data centre environments. In a recent analytical study by Schneider Electric’s Data Center Science Center, it was estimated that IT Pod Frames could provide excellent CAPEX savings of up to 15%, whilst reducing time to deployment by a further 21%.  Therefore technologies utilising IT Pod Frames and rack-ready IT architectures may become more widely adopted within the industry throughout 2018.

Jonas Caino, sales director and country manager, Etix Everywhere

caino-predictions

We can expect to see accelerated growth of edge data centres, due to the rise of the Internet of Everything (IoE), smart buildings/offices and big data. The need to capture, process, store and access data at the edge of the internet will become acute and smaller data centres will start to spring up, particularly in regions outside of London.

There will be a push for lower latency. A drive for lower latency will be a focus for CIOs as more data coupled with the need for near real-time information. Formally the preserve of the financial services sector, more and more businesses will require high speeds and near real-time availability in 2018.