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Top 2020 data center industry trends include edge, private cloud

IT infrastructure isn’t just an on-premises data center anymore. The ‘2020 State of the Data Center’ report shows growing interest in private cloud, edge and colocation.

Video killed the radio star, but cloud won’t kill the data center. IT resources continue to grow as organizations generate large amounts of data and find new ways to expand end-user connectivity.

 Afcom’s “2020 State of the Data Center” report provided admins and IT managers a snapshot of the latest data center industry trends and helped readers figure out how other organizations build their infrastructure.

This year’s report highlighted growth in private cloud adoption, increases in rack density and extensive edge deployments. The growing complexity of data center infrastructure brings questions around security, staffing and operations.

“The shift on the vendor and supplier side has been trying to package together hardware solutions with software management tools to try and make the IT operations manager job as easy as possible,” said Kuba Stolarski, research director of infrastructure systems, platforms and technologies at IDC.

Organizations step back from public cloud

More IT teams are reconfiguring cloud infrastructure as organizations realize that public cloud has disadvantages related to cost, management and data control. Seventy-two percent of respondents said they plan to migrate to private cloud and colocation, while 52% said they currently have some type of private cloud.

“One of the reasons why we saw so many enterprises going public cloud is because they did not have the expertise to create a private cloud on their own, especially because private cloud can be very human resource-intensive and requires expertise — whether that’s internal or external,” said Peter Panfil, vice president of global power at Vertiv.

Even with this migration to private cloud, IT departments don’t limit themselves to one type of cloud architecture. For the first time, this year’s report included multi-cloud infrastructure. Twenty-five percent of respondents said they currently use a multi-cloud setup, and 44% said they look to implement in the next one to three years.Data type can drive the decision of which cloud type an organization uses, meaning IT teams may require multiple cloud architectures. The use of various cloud types can allow organizations to share specialized information but also provide an outward-facing application for customers. This is well suited for use cases in healthcare, government and data center industry sectors that have a mix of public-facing and regulated data.

“When I look at the biggest advantage of cloud, it is full of data and controlled access. You decide what you’re going to allow to have happen and what you’re going to restrict,” Panfil said.

Data center infrastructure: Doing more with less space

The report’s findings stated a decrease in overall data center square footage but an increase in rack density. The average data center rack grew from 7.3 Kw per rack to 8.2 Kw.

Increased rack density can bring long-term cost savings and higher infrastructure utilization, especially because organizations may not have the land or capital to build out new data centers. It brings much more revenue capability for the same amount of data center footprint.

Server components have also increased in capacity over the past 10 years, and a single storage drive can now hold up to 18 TB, Stolarski said. These larger component capacities are particularly useful for hyperscalers that decide to increase computing power across their infrastructure.

Organizations that increase density and look to use more software-defined infrastructure can have challenges with traditional blade servers. Blade servers have brought plug-in-play hardware to data center infrastructure but little in the way of management software. Effective management requires either an additional software layer on top of hardware or completely standardized servers.

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