A look into datacentres in 2025: Emerson Network Power

Emerson Network Power's latest survey has indicated that by 2025, datacentres will be reliant on solar energy, NBN connectivity, and will take on a modular structure.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Power efficiency, connectivity, and data sovereignty are three factors that are expected to play significant roles in changing the future of the datacentre ecosystem, according to a report from Emerson Network Power.

The Data Centre 2025: Exploring the Possibilities (PDF) survey showed there will be big changes in how datacentres will be powered, with belief a mix of sources will be used to provide electrical power to datacentres.

A majority (64 percent) of survey participants believe datacentres will require less energy in 2025 to produce the same level of datacentre computing performance that exists today.

At the same time, 84 percent of survey participants believe datacentre infrastructure equipment will become more efficient, and 67 percent believe IT equipment will become more efficient.

Robert Linsdell Emerson Network Power ANZ national sales director told ZDNet solar energy will lead the charge in powering datacentres by 2025.

"We think data centres should be situated where the data sources are," he said.

"Australia is heavily coal-fired, and if solar does become a true alternative technology, we have a lot of sun and of course if datacentres are situated in areas where there is no water, so one of the components is solar technology.

"Our current solar technology currently produces 800 kilowatts an hour per square metre, so when you look at a 10 megawatt datacentre that's a huge solar array. If you only supply 20 percent of the power through solar, that would only be twice the size of the datacentre itself."

Mark Deguara, Emerson Network Power ANZ technical services senior manager, believes NBN connectivity will setup a roadmap for how data will be delivered from datacentres in the future, whether it's located in cities or in remote areas of Australia.

This is a similar perspective to Gartner's, which has previously discussed that real-time information delivered through the Internet of Things will enable accurate understanding of datacentre status.

"NBN is an absolute driver. If we're going to put datacentres in remote areas, then being able to connect to them is critical, and having people in Australia connected to them is one thing. And Australia is actually leading in that space," Deguara said.

"If I look at the whole thing from a government perspective, we're doing very well. The government is driving this, not necessarily building it, but it's very much driving or influencing what data managers are doing."

Datacentre infrastructure management (DCIM) is expected to play a prominent role by 2025, according to the survey. Twenty-nine percent of surveyors indicated they anticipate comprehensive visibility across all systems and layers, with Linsdell suggesting that data sovereignty and security will be a key factor of this.

At the same time, 43 percent expect datacentres to be self-healing and self-optimising by 2025, the survey showed.

"There are certain areas, such as banking and health, where there's certain information where businesses will be happy to be in the cloud, but there are other items where they want to maintain security across them and they don't want to be outside the country," Linsdell said.

Meanwhile, 67 percent of participants believe at least 60 percent of computing will be cloud-based in the year 2025. According to the Data Centre 2025 survey, it seems likely that enterprise datacentres will at least shrink in size: 10 percent of participants believe the enterprise datacentre of 2025 will be one-tenth the size of current facilities, while 58 percent expect that datacentre will be half the size of current facilities or smaller.

Going forward, Steve Shelley, Emerson Network Power APAC modular solutions VP, said IT managers will be after more flexibility, speed, and return of investment, and the solution will be modular datacentres.

"What we're seeing now is modular datacentres, at the moment, only make up 10 percent of the market, but we've been seeing a significant increase in enquiries on modular datacentres," he said.

"We've now got a team of eight engineers in Melbourne focusing on modular datacentres in Asia, and we are using that as the centre of excellence for the whole of Asia. We've just built two modular datacentres in Myanmar for Ooredoo, and we're starting a third one.

"From start to finish, they've been built it within four-and-a-half months compared to a bricks and mortar datacentre that would usually take at least 18 months. It's a lot easier to go modular because they are moveable; it takes a lot of complexities out. We're seeing with how data is being used for now, by 2025 there will be 52 kilowatts per rack, and how are we ever going to get there with the existing datacentre structures."

However, Linsdell noted this does not necessarily mean traditional enterprise datacentres will disappear as there are still traditionalists who still prefer bricks and mortar datacentres.

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