Scenario 1: Inching Into the Future | Data Center 2025


Scenario 1: Inching Into the Future

Premise: Current trends of virtualization and packing more processing power into smaller packages continue to shape the industry but the basic landscape remains the same: enterprises own select IT functions supported by hyperscale facilities in a hybrid cloud model.

The more things change the more they stay the same. While the data center industry has made progress in improving management and increasing resource utilization, key challenges, such as security and scalability, have impeded progress and kept the industry in a largely reactive mode. So much of the industry’s resources were devoted to handling the tidal wave of data that overwhelmed businesses in the mid-teens that the industry was unable to proactively address issues of security, data privacy and efficiency.

Most mid- to large-size enterprises have given up the once-promising idea of computing as a utility and continue to invest in their own IT assets and resources. Of course, the 5,000 to 25,000 square foot facilities that once dominated the corporate IT landscape are largely a thing of the past, replaced by today’s tightly integrated modular room or closet-sized facilities. Gone too are the days of 20 percent utilization rates. Centralized data center management in concert with cloud computing has provided the control to optimize capacity and energy utilization, enabling utilization rates of 80 percent or higher. This, combined with greater tolerance for environmental extremes and increased reliance on liquid cooling, has cut the energy consumption of the enterprise data center to one-fifth of what it was ten years ago. 

Most of that energy is being consumed on the hyperscale campuses that have emerged in select regions over the last ten years. These facilities support the hybrid cloud enterprise computing model as well as providing the personal cloud services individuals and families have come to depend on. They take advantage of low real estate and power costs to spread out the load, keeping power densities around 20 kW/rack. With IT equipment less sensitive to temperature extremes, temperature in the self-contained computing modules in these facilities is allowed to rise as high as 100 degrees F, shifting the focus from cooling to thermal management. Backup power is provided by high-efficiency UPS systems supported by generator sets. Even with these improvements, energy consumed by data centers continues to rise, now accounting for 10 percent of the total energy consumed in some parts of the world.

What do you agree or disagree with in this scenario?


"100⁰C and rise in energy consumption does not make sense.

Energy expenditures will not exceed today’s levels, the trend is actually the opposite, large sites are becoming so power efficient and task-servers so efficient in handling their MIPS, so the amount of energy consumption by servers will not increase. Rather will the distributed transmission and radio equipment require more energy consumption globally, but that is not the case for Data Centers share of developed countries share of economy.

Operating temperatures will be held down to assure HW reliability and life expectancy."
- An Emerson Network Power Employee