Next year is tapped to be an important one for data centres across the world. Industry consolidation will see big players become even bigger and green energy will take centre stage.
CBR gets the opinion of industry experts to map 2016.
1. Eco-efficiency becomes hot
Jason O’Conaill, International Client Partner at Infinity SDC, told CBR: "With 2015 ending with the historic Paris agreement between 200 countries on Climate Change and Emissions this will be a major focus for Data Centres over the coming year and up to 2020.
"The data centre industry has a role to play in this reform. Data Centres will strive to improve efficiency and reducing wasted energy. There is a major role for server manufacturers, semiconductor leaders and software providers. Every component in the cloud chain adds to the emission footprint of a data centre.
"After all, data centres power and cool server and storage racks and high performance computers from the leading OEMs like IBM, HP, Dell and EMC. The data centre industry and the server inducts will have to form its own Paris agreement to strive to reduce the carbon footprint within the data centre industry."
2. True impact of Safe Harbour to be felt
O’Conaill said: "The implications of the annulment of the Safe Harbour agreement between the EU and USA will be felt in 2016. The move by the European Court of Justice has caused many US owned companies to review their data privacy policies and consider the move to local European based data centres.
"Cloud providers are eagerly trying to appeal to the local European Cloud and Technology markets and to assuage fears over the storage of European data in the USA with unfettered access by government agencies such as the NSA.
"The sensitivity of European citizens and governments around private data will have a positive impact on the scale and take up of European datacentre space in 2016 /2017. Europe has a complex tapestry of local and regional laws as well as a national and supra National EU laws that will keep privacy lawyers and Cloud providers busy in 2016 as they interpret the implications of the abolition of Safe Harbour."
3. Storage revolution bolstered by IoT
Alex McMullan, Pure Storage CTO, told CBR: "SDs continue to ride the wave of complex storage systems, but in the long term I expect this to dim as newer product with more simple/Rest interfaces and better ecosystem integration come forward.
"Long term prospects are bright [for containers] as we’ll see servers getting more CPU cores for parallelism and an increased value of developer productivity to respond to an increasingly always-on and instant global consumer base.
"In terms of changes in the storage landscape I see IOT becoming realised with the global adoption of smartphones. The automotive and wearables market will also be the next major growth segments for data generation, there is huge, untapped, potential value in this data."
4. XPoint to disrupt data centres
Alex McMullan, Pure Storage CTO, told CBR: "XPoint was recently announced, this has the potential to disrupt the computer and data centre markets if it is viable. It can place cost pressures on DRAM makers, NAND makers and traditional database applications that rely on caching, tiering and similar complexity to function.
"The same applies in storage products where the architecture flexibility and software design will decide if Xpoint can be easily integrated when it becomes cost-effective."
5. IoT brings availability to the fore of data centres
Richard Agnew, VP NW EMEA, at Veeam, told CBR: "The rise of mobile and connected devices demonstrates that there is zero tolerance for downtime. Even a slight outage of a few hours will cause everyone involved in the business to be unhappy that they don’t have access, but more importantly, businesses will lose money, data, respect of employees, credibility from partners and loyalty of customers, doing potential damage to consumer and investor confidence.
"As the Internet of Things continues to gather momentum, the potential cost of downtime [in a data centre] is set to escalate. Minimising downtime and data loss is critical to the overall health of all businesses and ensuring the end user remains satisfied.
"In addition, since more data and services are now both on premises and in the cloud, businesses in 2016 will need to ensure they have strategies to backup, protect and restore their data on all fronts."
6. Migration to next-gen DC apps to accelerate
Agnew said: "Over the next year, companies will draw the line and migrate to the next generation of application technologies to keep up with competitors. There are clear advantages to making use of the newest infrastructure and application technologies, but there have been some blockages in the past.
"This migration to the next generation of [data centre] applications will not be easy for some businesses, but will be worth it to deliver on the bottom line. Companies will see new benefits from an IT perspective; but also have a unique opportunity to re-evaluate their business.
"Migrating away from these systems will enable businesses to offer new services that meet the demand of an Always-On workforce and customer base."
7. The emergence of Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service
Agnew also said: "As cloud-based infrastructure continues to become the de facto standard for businesses, we’re seeing new service offerings grow in popularity and market share. Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) will be a game changer in 2016, as it will enable businesses to meet and exceed customer and employee expectations around availability.
"As businesses place IT and availability at the center of their operations, we can expect to see service level agreements with guaranteed backup and recovery times becoming the standard for the modern enterprise.
8. DCIM education and consolidation
GM of Intel Data Center Solutions, Jeff Klaus, told CBR: "2016 will be another year of refining education/communication on the benefits of DCIM where more organisations will look to employ DCIM solutions, giving some data centre managers half of their time back that was previously spent on manual processes.
"We will see fewer DCIM exits and mergers as consolidation continues with reduced growth expectations, while there will be a new DCIM curriculum taught at universities, bringing in a whole new set of research in data centre efficiency & design."
9. Data Centres find a common language
Simon Brady, head of data centre optimisation, Emerson Network Power in EMEA, told CBR: "The 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.
"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."
10. The neighbourhood data centre moves in
Simon Brady said: "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.
"As these micro data centres, operating as satellites to a central facility, proliferate on corporate campuses and in high-density residential areas, their success will depend on the use of standardised, intelligent systems that can be remotely managed."