Both the growth of computing power and the increasingly indispensable nature of IT and digital communications means that the last decade has been all about the growth of data centers. Whether it's a portal data center, a colocation center or an enterprise center dedicated to a single firm, modern businesses simply would not be able to function efficiently without one. But even this change in how IT departments operate masks the constant evolution of the data centers themselves – it's a field where change is constant.
The overwhelming need for innovation and optimization
As the demands on data centers by businesses continue to grow, so the closer data centers are coming to the limits of their capacity. Since building new data centers from scratch is a costly business, the professionals in charge of existing facilities are constantly seeking ways to optimize their resources. One way they can do this is to identify and reclaim “stranded” capacity in the center – when this method is combined with more effective capacity forecasts, it is startling how much extra can be found. However, there's only so far one can go with existing centers, so more technological solutions are also required.
Outsourcing data centers
With such phenomena as increased data volumes, greater virtualization and the rise of mobility, even the most established enterprise data centers are finding that they need more specialized help from outside. It is up to client businesses themselves to decide which form suits them best – from choices including managed services, cloud computing, collocation and hosting – and it seems that choices are indeed being made. A survey by researchers Computer Economics Inc. found that in 2011 data center outsourcing already stood at 31% and as more IT departments move into the cloud or opt for the security of collocation centers fellow researchers Broad Group estimate that the level of outsourcing will stand at 35% by 2015.
For a taste of where data center technologies are headed, it's worth taking a look at one of the latest announcements. The Rack Ready system recently announced by Fortune in the USA is one way forward, offering clients “prefabricated” collocation facilities in which everything is in place save the server racks themselves. This is intended to give clients the business benefits of collocation but without the need to engage architects, hire contractors, or commission their own power distribution equipment.