More than 800 data centre professionals from around the world responded to survey
Industry expects significant increases in density, cloud adoption and use of solar power
EMERSON Network Power, a business of Emerson, has released its Data Center 2025: Exploring the Possibilities report, summarising four months of global research designed to identify the industry’s vision of the data centre in the year 2025.
The results range from the expected (increased utilisation of the cloud) to the ambitious (largely solar-powered data centres with power densities exceeding 50 kW per rack), Emerson Network Power said in a statement.
One thing was clear: Most experts believe the data centre as we know it will undergo massive changes over the next decade.
More than 800 data centre professionals from around the world responded to the Data Center 2025 survey, with dozens of others contributing their thoughts via interviews, email and video, the company said.
The feedback, viewed collectively, indicates most in the field remain bullish on the data centre industry and on continued innovation in the IT space and beyond.
For example, on average, experts predict density in 2025 will climb to 52 kW per rack. According to the Data Centre Users’ Group sponsored by Emerson Network Power, average density has remained relatively flat since peaking around 6 kW nearly a decade ago, but experts are anticipating a dramatic upswing in density that could radically change the physical environment of the data centre.
“As the current ICT landscape in Asia continues to evolve with increased adoption of cloud and other technologies, we will see a great shift in how enterprises need to meet the demands of their data centre requirements,” said Matthew Kong, country manager, Singapore, Emerson Network Power.
“The research showcases the optimism and visionary thinking of leaders in Asia and globally. I believe that the massive changes in the data centre ecosystem will be an exciting time for collaboration and innovation in the industry,” he added.
Other notable survey results and forecasts from the report:
Big changes in how data centres are powered: The experts believe a mix of sources will be used to provide electrical power to data centres. Solar will lead, followed by a nearly equal mix of nuclear, natural gas and wind. 65% 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 centre 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 centre workloads, and will reach 63% by 2017.
DCIM will play a prominent role: 29% of experts anticipate comprehensive visibility across all systems and layers, while 43% expect data centres to be self-healing and self-optimising. Taken together, that would indicate 72% of the experts believe some level of DCIM (data centre infrastructure management) will be deployed in 2025 – significantly higher than most current estimates of DCIM adoption.
Utilisation rates will be higher: That increased visibility is expected to lead to more efficient performance overall, as 72% of industry experts expect IT resource utilisation 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 data centre of 2025 certainly won’t be one data centre,” said Andy Lawrence, vice president of data centre technologies and eco-efficient IT at 451 Research.
“The analogy I like to use is to transport. On the road, we see sports cars and family cars; we see buses and we see trucks. They have different kinds of engines, different types of seating and different characteristics in terms of energy consumption and reliability.
“We are going to see something similar to that in the data centre world. In fact that is already happening, and I expect it to continue,” he said.
To download the report, click here. To view the report online and for video input from industry experts, click here.
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