Present and future of data center technologies

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Data center technologies stand right at the center of state-of-the-art advancements that are possibilitating more efficient, secure and sustainable operations for companies. As the digital era increasingly relies on Data Center infrastructures, new solutions are constantly experimented with in the search for total optimization. 

The global data center market doesn’t cease to grow, and consultant firms such as Globe Newswire forecast an expected growth at a CAGR of  7.5% in the next decade. 

How are companies evolving to guarantee meeting market demands while developing never-seen-before efficiencies and maximizing data center capabilities? Let’s take a look at the top data center technologies shaping the future of data center infrastructure. 

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Key trends in data center technologies

1. Automation and AI

Data center technologies aspire to reach full automation and remote management as well as the application of Artificial Intelligence for better decision-making. Valid for all sorts of data center technologies, including hyperscale data centers and mass-scale operations, management tools are increasingly relying on automation and AI for a wide range of activities, including setup and configuration tasks, monitoring, reporting, maintenance and troubleshooting.

While automation takes care of redundant tasks, it allows human teams to focus on high-value activities and provides outstanding time savings. Data center technologies are also focusing on providing remote access to operations, while human-based operations are increasingly becoming obsolete. 

At the same time, hyperscale data centers are incorporating AI to provide help where human analysis of data is no longer possible. AI and Machine Learning are able to analyze and process huge amounts of data and turn them into useful information, spotting patterns and potential risks. This, in turn, generates the possibility to detect issues before they happen, making predictive maintenance a reality.

2. On-site power generation

As power generation becomes an issue for increasingly big data centers, companies are experimenting with on-site solutions for power generation. 

In the current context, where power availability is uncertain, data centers are looking for alternatives to avoid downtime and the associated costs. As such, on-site power generation can be an alternative to avoid power disruptions and rising costs.

3. On-demand data centers

Rising costs are also the reason behind this trend in data center technologies: the move towards pay-per-use business models. In an analogous manner to what cloud servers have done in recent years, data centers are also transitioning towards a consumption-based service. 

The move, already taken by some of the market leaders on a global level, must however encompass a commitment in cost transparency so that unexpected or hidden costs are not experienced by clients.

4. Green data centers

Sustainability and environmental costs have taken the world by storm and data center technologies are no exception. As such, new trends in the sector are looking for ways to adopt new, more sustainable practices that reduce these structures’ impact on the environment. 

In fact, data center efficiency stands at the center of achieving a greener business model, that is, the quest to make data centers operate using less energy resources. 

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International organizations have already worked in developing an objective standard to measure data center efficiency. PUE criteria, published in 2016 as part of ISO 30134-2:2016, measures the amount of power used by a data center as whole compared to the power delivered to all IT equipment. As such, a PUE value that equals 1 represents an ideal scenario, where all energy is sent to the IT equipment and none is wasted.

In this search for increased efficiency and, as a result, sustainability, there are many formulas that companies have been using so far, renewable energy sources being one of the key transformations. 

Some of the trends in data center technologies mentioned later (such as the choice of the right data center cooling system) in this article also play a key role in generating green data centers. However, it’s worth mentioning here the formulas to develop waste-heat recovery structures. 

While cooling in data centers typically requires a lot of energy, heat is often wasted and simply released into the air. This not only generates a noteworthy negative impact on the environment, but is also extremely inefficient. 

On the other hand, waste-heat recovery allows the reuse of this heat emitted by data centers, translating into a climate-positive energy consumption. This state-of-the-art technology works in an analogous manner to operations that turn wastewater into a reliable heat source for heat pumps, so that data centers could potentially release this extra heat into infrastructures such as factories or power stations. The result is a climate-neutral data center that is also extremely cost-efficient for operators. 

5. Edge technologies

Edge data centers are shaping up as the new data center technologies maximize efficiency and operations. These decentralized centers offer increased reliability, less latency issues and cost-efficiency, as data processing happens in the different devices rather than through a centralized network. As such, edge technology is becoming a key investment for the future of data center architecture. 

6. Data center redundancy

Data center redundancy refers to an architecture approach where certain components are duplicated to avoid downtime during unexpected emergencies, such as power outages or equipment failure. This approach allows companies to improve values around maximum tolerable period of disruption (MTPD), avoiding costly and damaging downtime time.

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7. New data center cooling possibilities

Directly related to efficiency and sustainability in data center technologies, data center cooling consists of a number of structures in charge of ensuring adequate temperature values for these systems. 

The choice of the right data center cooling solutions has in fact an outstanding impact on a given structure’s energy costs. Parameters such as performance, energy consumption or cooling fluid flow must be taken into account in order to protect electronic components while ensuring cost-efficiency.

As such, data center cooling solutions include state-of-the-art equipment designed by industrial cooling engineers that helps structures’ efficiency in achieving optimal temperatures while also ensuring a robust electrical system and back-up.

Araner, helping you design premium data center technologies 

At Araner, we work hand in hand with data center operators to devise structures and data center technologies that reach maximum sustainability and efficiency. 

As such, we’re in charge of designing and implementing cooling technologies and modular cooling plants that adapt to each project’s needs where redundant systems and cooling structures generate an optimized data center environment. 

Our expertise in industrial heating and cooling allows us to develop realizable energy-efficient data centers built from a flexible, plug-and-play approach but meeting the industry’s highest specifications. 

Want to learn more about our work in data center technologies? Download our free Data Center Reference Ebook to discover the latest in data center design and find out more about our work by reading our Al-Ashghal Case Study, where we built a naturally-stratified water storage tank to provide efficient cooling with a state-of-the-art Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system.

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