2014 Data Centers: “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”

This article originally appeared on Datacenter Journal

Summer has ended, and 2013 is almost over. This is a great time to look ahead to the coming year, especially in the data center where predicting future requirements can sometimes seem more like an art than a science. Fortunately, industry trend data can help answer some important questions. What insights can we extract from the numbers? What data center trends loom large? And what will be the biggest IT disruptors?

Combined with what we’ve heard directly from data center managers, the industry trend data is pointing to at least four major trends that will impact data centers in 2014. To bring these trends into focus, first consider what we learned about server deployments from 2013 industry data. The enterprise platform team at International Data Corporation (IDC) reported that year-over-year server unit shipments decreased in the second quarter of 2013. This was, in fact, the third consecutive quarter with declining server shipments. The decline can be attributed to the successful focus on consolidation, virtualization, and other cost-cutting initiatives adopted by enterprises around the world. Data center efficiency has gone up; infrastructure costs have come down.

These 2013 successes are definitely driving some of the 2014 data center trends, which include:

  • Interactivity. While server shipments were down slightly in 2013, server workloads will continue to explode in 2014, especially in the area of smart phones and other devices that require highly interactive functionality to meet user service-level expectations.
  • The cloud. More services and infrastructure are migrating to private and public clouds as the comfort level rises for this form of data center resource augmentation.
  • High-performance computing (HPC). The compute resources that remain in the data center are evolving to address more customized workloads and to boost service levels and processing throughput.
  • Security. All of the above trends as well as the increasing incidence and severity of cyber-attacks are straining traditional data center defenses.

Let’s look at each trend in more detail, and then review best practices and solutions that can minimize the potential negative impacts.

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