What Will The Data Center Of 2025 Look Like?

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 30, 2014

data center

There will be a tectonic shift in data center ecosystem by 2025. A recent survey  by Emerson Network Power reveals that enterprise data centers will be much smaller, power densities will be much higher, and the majority of IT workloads will have moved to cloud computing platforms in the next one decade.

Emerson tapped over 800 data center professionals to generate the findings for Data Center 2025. Some of the key findings are:

Smaller Data Centers

Sixty seven percent of participants believe at least 60% of computing will be cloud-based in the year 2025. It’s also likely that enterprise data centers will at least shrink in size with 58%  expect that data centers will be half the size of current facilities or smaller, while 10% of participants believe the enterprise data center of 2025 will be one-tenth the size of current facilities.

“The enterprise data center will take less space,” said Hassell. “With cloud adoption at 60% probably what they were thinking about is core data centers that are very large, and with enterprise data centers, we’re seeing a move to computing at the edge.”

Higher Densities, But Better Efficiency

As long as power is concerned, on average, experts predict power density in 2025 will climb to 52 kilowatts per rack. However, a 64% believe that it will require less energy in 2025 to produce the same level of data center computing performance available today. The survey states while average density has remained relatively flat since peaking at 6kW nearly a decade ago, it predict a radical change that will affect the physical environment of the data center.

Other notable survey results and forecasts from the report:

- Big changes in how data centers are powered: The experts believe a mix of sources will be used to provide electrical power to data centers. Solar will lead, followed by a nearly equal mix of nuclear, natural gas and wind. Sixty-five % believe it is likely hyperscale facilities will be powered by private power generation.

- Cloud forecasts are somewhat conservative: Industry experts predict two-thirds of data center computing will be done in the cloud in 2025. That’s actually a fairly conservative estimate. According to Cisco’s Global Cloud Index, cloud workloads represent around 46 % of current total data center workloads, and will reach 63 % by 2017.

- DCIM will play a prominent role: Twenty-nine % of experts anticipate comprehensive visibility across all systems and layers, while 43 % expect data centers to be self-healing and self optimizing. Taken together, that would indicate 72 % of the experts believe some level of DCIM will be deployed in 2025—significantly higher than most current estimates of DCIM adoption.

- Utilization rates will be higher: That increased visibility is expected to lead to more efficient performance overall, as 72 % of industry experts expect IT resource utilization rates to be at least 60 % in 2025. The average projection is 70 %. That compares to estimated averages today as low as 6-12 %, with best practices somewhere between 30-50 %.

The report also notes that there won’t be any one-size-fits-all patterns emerging. “The future, to us, is looking increasingly like one that is automated, and converged,” said Hassell, adding that the facility side and the IT side is coming together and operating as an integrated unit. It’s the only way to deal with the speed and complexity, he believes.