Data Center Trends in 2016

It’s always an interesting exercise to take out our crystal ball and try to get a bead on what changes will sweep the entire industry. Of course we can see where our clients are headed, but our clients are of course some of the most clear-sighted and forward-thinking in the industry!

Listening to the groundswell of conversations on a variety of topics, we think the industry as a whole will expand rapidly into the following areas.

Software-Oriented, Modular Design

We’re noticing that virtualization is rapidly phasing out various types of hardware. When you’re faced with the choice to either spend money on hardware that has a fixed life expectancy or spend time virtualizing the process (which might take longer but is reasonably adaptable) then the flexibility of virtualization solutions becomes increasingly compelling.

Moreover, this flexibility is not just on the user end. When data centers can minimize expensive installations of hard-to-swap hardware, they can pass on these cost savings to customers, making the whole data services market more competitive.

These custom-built solutions are cheaper than ever, which is good, because the need for data center services will only continue to grow as society demand to store and utilized more data surges.

Data Security

With all the talk about the government-”suggested” backdoors and the Snowden revelations, data security is on the forefront of everyone’s minds. We predict 2016 will see a groundswell of mainstream adoption of end-to-end encryption. We hope this will be the case with even SMBs, who tend not to have the same technological and training resources of larger enterprises.

However, that’s not the only conversation we should be having. Physical security is also important, especially in multi-tenant facilities. But the increased scrutiny towards security in general can only be a good thing at this point, since even the smallest security breaches can have serious repercussions.

Increased Mingling of Cloud, Colocation and Data-Center-As-A-Service

It’s already become an exercise in hair-splitting to explain to non-technical people the difference between colocation and certain types of managed services, between “the cloud” and a data center. While these differences will remain germane from an implementation stand-point, it will become less important to the consumer as these varied services become more tightly tied to each other within a business’s IT ecosystem.

Just look at hybrid cloud: once a mysterious buzzword, now an ordinary state of affairs in just a few short years. That some parts of the cloud are private and some public only matters to the technical staff whose job it is to maintain it. The users merely see that some applications need a secondary login (if that) and it doesn’t affect them in any way.

High Density Becomes the Norm

For the last several years, we’ve been showing all our clients the math on high-density installations. Although the upfront cost in hardware and power is around 30% higher, most businesses generally recoup that expenditure because of the decreased footprint.

But not all data centers have been optimized for high density, which is why it’s not just recommended across the board. Without having increased the power and cooling supply for high-density cabinets, some facilities will still charge for the larger footprint, as the space cannot be otherwise utilized.

Nevertheless, we think that the market penetration of high-density installations is such that if a data center does not play their part in making these installations economically feasible, clients will merely go elsewhere. There’s simply no good reason (in the vast majority of cases) not to move to high density.

These are the trends we see on the horizon. What do you see?


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