However, data centers must evolve to maintain a healthy, sustainable rivalry with off-prem options. For starters, the days of massive racks filled with networking equipment will go away. (Think old IBM mainframes that took up half a building.) But there’s so much more to data center longevity strategies. After all, it’s all about the money. Enterprises must commit to an energy-efficient, powerful, shrunken form of data centers to win the cost war.
Here's how data centers will stay relevant
According to Network World, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is now the largest segment of software-defined storage. HCI is also rapidly growing at a 26.6% five-year CAGR and revenues are projected to hit $7.15 billion by 2021. Needless to say, it’s not a passing trend.
Simply put, a hyperconverged system is a shrunken data center. If deployed correctly, it rivals traditional physical computing in terms of scalability, elasticity and operational efficiency. This is done through server and storage hardware nodes that are built into scale-out clusters. The ultimate goal is to adopt the technology without sacrificing reliability, performance and workload availability across the enterprise.
#2) Affordable SSDs
Organizations are processing extreme amounts of input/output operations thanks to SSD technology. As SSDs get faster and more affordable, we’ll only see more of them in enterprise data centers. In fact, Gartner predicts that up to 25% of data centers may use all-flash arrays for primary storage by 2020, with ROI of under six months in some cases.
Good news: The price of SSD technology is dropping. Today, you’re paying pennies per gig. Although SSDs are more expensive than HDDs, the cost for both has decreased dramatically. Companies have long ditched 60GB capacity drives for the cost savings of 256GB, 512GB and 1TB SSDs—with larger data centers investing in multiple TBs at a time. Other factors, including IOPS per watt and capacity and performance per rack, also make SSDs attractive across the enterprise.
NVM Express (NVMe) enables data centers to realize “full flash potential” without compatibility issues. The technology has been tempting data center operators around the globe with its groundbreaking method of accessing storage media. Often looked at as a data center darling, NVMe lowers power consumption by reducing latency in the host software stack—all while increasing input/output operations.
Just how beneficial is NVMe? In terms of drive speed evolution, if SSDs were a major upgrade to slow-moving hard drives and spinning disks, then NVMe is like strapping a rocket ship to your SSD environment.
#4) Gbps investment
Why are future-minded data center managers investing in gigabits-per-second (Gbps)? If a company’s public-facing website is rendering a slow transaction time, it’s probably hemorrhaging cash and customers. Some organizations become “penny wise and bit foolish” when it comes to gigabits-per-second storage options. For example, don’t settle for 1 or 10 Gbps when your data center really requires 40 or 56.
#5) Software-defined data centers
Shrink your hardware costs by moving to a software-defined environment. Instead of managing your data in multiple locations, you can manage block, file and object data from one centralized hub. Not only can you save on pricey hardware, but you’re also more agile in terms of mitigating disasters and data breaches. Simply put, leveraging a software-defined infrastructure enables you to manage data easily and efficiently.
Can’t get enough data center talk? Check out 4 ways high-density data centers can reduce operational costs.