“What they are looking for is a system architecture - increasingly a non-standard architecture - that is tailored to their requirements for flexibility, availability and efficiency. They value expertise and experience more than technology.”
Data centres find a common language
The Internet of Things (IoT) will not only impact future data centre architectures by increasing the volume of data that must be processed, it will also change data centre management - and the latter sooner than the former.
“Today’s data centres include thousands of devices that speak a host of languages, including IPMI, SNMP, and Mod Bus,” Sanghi adds.
“This creates gaps between systems that limit efforts to manage holistically.
“That limit will cease to exist as Redfish, an open systems specification for data centre and systems management developed by Emerson Network Power, Intel, Dell and HP, gains traction.
“Redfish will create interconnectivity across data centre systems, enabling new levels of visibility, control and automation - its adoption will also help establish best practices for effective use of IoT in other applications.”
Social responsibility makes its presence felt
The industry has been dealing with efficiency since at least 2007, but the focus has largely been financial.
Now, with organisations like the National Resources Defense Council raising awareness of data centre energy use, some businesses are shifting their focus from efficiency to sustainability and viewing their data centres through a social responsibility lens.
“Data centre operations - including carbon footprint, alternative energy use and equipment disposal - are now being included in corporate responsibility statements, creating greater pressure to make advances in these areas,” Sanghi adds.
“The impact of this trend will not be limited to on-premise technology decisions. To be meaningful, reporting must include the full data centre ecosystem, including colocation and cloud providers.
“As this practice grows, sustainability will rise to the level of availability and security as must-have attributes of a high performing data centre.”
The neighbourhood data centre moves in
Sanghi believes the growth in digital content consumption and data collection is challenging the centralised data centre model.
“While large data centres will continue to provide the majority of computing, they will increasingly be supported by edge facilities, or neighbourhood data centres, that provide low-latency content and applications to users or data processing and logic for IoT networks,” he adds.
As these micro data centres - operating as satellites to a central facility - proliferate on corporate campuses and in high-density residential areas, Sanghi believes their success will depend on the use of standardised, intelligent systems that can be remotely managed.
“At the heart of all these new trends is the growing need among businesses for speed, flexibility, efficiency and sustainability in the data centre to cope with disruptive technologies, while remaining competitive,” Sanghi adds.
“It is all the more critical for businesses to have agile IT infrastructures to address these developments.”