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The single biggest challenge facing data centre professionals today

Written by Tue 25 Jun 2019

Edge configuration, deployment and management will define data centre success between now and 2025, says Vertiv

Vertiv has released a midpoint update to its widely cited data centre 2025 forecast, revealing the dramatic rise in prominence of edge computing in the data centre ecosystem.

The initial report asked data centre professionals to predict the market forces and technologies that would define data centres in 2025. Five years later, the power provider decided to revisit the same themes to see how the original predictions were stacking up.

One of the main takeaways from the updated report, that surveyed 800 data centre professionals, is that the industry dramatically underestimated the future impact of edge computing back in 2014.

As Vertiv notes, the original 19-page report acknowledged edge computing as a growing trend but only mentioned the term four times, as at the time the industry was focused more on hybrid IT – architectures encompassing on-premises, cloud and colocation resources.

Now, edge is top of the agenda, as the amount of data generated and consumed at the network edge grows almost exponentially, forcing compute and storage closer to users and IoT devices, in the form of mini and micro-data centres.

When respondents were asked about the volume of edge sites they support today compared to how many they expect to have by 2025, more than half (53 percent) said they expect their edge portfolio to grow by 100 percent, with 20 percent expecting it to triple.

But even that doesn’t fully capture the edge explosion the industry is grappling with, Vertiv said. 494 respondents said they are already managing edge sites, the combined total amounting to 128,233 locations. When Vertiv totted up the number of edge sites the same respondents expect to manage come 2025, the figure came to 418,803, a 226 percent increase.

As Techerati has mentioned elsewhere, Vertiv said the explosion of sites is bringing urgent configuration, deployment, and management challenges that must be swiftly addressed if organisations are to avoid being strained beyond their limit.

Standardised configuration options and remote management tools that streamline processes and minimise the need for onsite support are the keys to success in this new context, the company added.

“We expect managing the growth in edge computing sites to be the single biggest challenge—and opportunity—data centre professionals face between now and 2025,” the report reads.

Defining the data centre

As the facilities within IT organisations’ remit continue to diversify – spanning not just multiple edge sites, but on-premises, HPC, cloud environments and colocation sites, Vertiv said defining the data centre is becoming increasingly challenging.

“Is [the data centre] the high-performance computing facility with rack densities approaching 50kW? The hybrid enterprise datacentre that is increasingly managing resources across cloud, colocation and multiple distributed sites? Or is it those distributed sites themselves, which are becoming more critical as service and applications move closer to users?”

While all these environments can be classed as data centres, the infrastructure comprising each one is radically different, the report said.

On the subject of renewable energy use and talent shortage, the report echoed the findings of Uptime Insitute’s 2019 data centre survey, covered by Techerati last month.

In 2014, data centre professionals expected 34 percent of power to be sourced from renewables by 2025. That figure has dropped markedly in five years, to 21 percent – a figure that Vertiv says is still optimistic.

When it comes to the skills shortage, 16 percent of participants expect to be retired by 2025 (33 percent in the US), a trend that Vertiv said will exacerbate an already “problematic” skills gap.

Written by Tue 25 Jun 2019


Cloud colocation edge environment renewables skills sustainability vertiv
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