In this blog post we’ll look at the top technology trends for 2018 – including IoT, machine learning/AI and AR/VR. And we’ll look at how those technology trends impact the data center, because, as Andrew Schaap put it, “The burden of such rapid technological advancement falls on the physical infrastructure – the data centers that make up the factory of the digital age.”

For example:

  • IoT, AI, and AR/VR are driving incredible increases in demand for compute, storage and network capacity. Industry veteran Mark Thiele has famously predicted: “If the numbers follow a historical precedent at all we will need roughly 400 million servers to support our 2020 IoT and technology demands. To have enough data centers for 400 million servers, we would need to add another 4,000 massive data centers measuring roughly 400,000 sq. ft. with approximately 50 megawatts of power each.”
  • IoT and AI are pushing data to the edge. As we wrote in Solving the Capacity Challenge, “By 2019, nearly half of IoT data will be processed at the edge of the cloud, according to IDC. Edge processing is also likely to rise as tech giants explore more efficient, and more private, ways to run AI algorithms. Revolutions in machine learning have already significantly increased capacity demands in the cloud, and now tech giants are developing edge-based processing for those AI algorithms.”
  • Capacity planning will only get more difficult – making a future-proof data center even more essential. As Andrew Schaap explained, “Very rapid technological change means that future demand for data center capacity is anybody’s guess. And that makes life challenging for even the most sophisticated capacity planners… Having a data center partner that can deliver capacity fast, scale up, and scale out takes the stress out of data center capacity planning. When data center infrastructure is designed to scale up and out, then future-proofing doesn’t require over-provisioning capacity to mitigate risk.”
  • Modern IT server architectures are pushing compute densities upward – and also creating mixed density environments. Architectures such as .5U, hyper-converged infrastructure, rack-scale designs and multiple other forms of high-performance computing are rapidly becoming mainstream, increasing the density demands on the data center. As we wrote in High, Mixed, & Variable Density Needs an Adaptive Data Center, “Supporting higher densities and increasingly dynamic compute loads without stranding capacity, scalability without over-provisioning, and reliability even in an age of dramatically fluctuating data center power draws requires the data center to be for IT exactly what IT has had to become for the business: adaptive.”