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Data centers in 2040: What will they look like?

March 04, 2020

Data centers in 2040: What will they look like?
Data center technology has advanced so far in the last 20 years, and we expect the next 20 to be no different. So, what will the future of data centers look like 20 years from now? Check out our five bold predictions.
1. Under the sea
One of the biggest challenges all data centers face is keeping servers cool. Some companies, like Microsoft, are experimenting with deploying server pods in the ocean, using the water to cool their hardware.

Since 50% of the world’s population lives relatively close to a coastline, these data centers would be near the people they serve which would reduce latency for critical real-time services. Microsoft’s hydro server units are self-contained and can be deployed as necessary. In contrast to land-based data centers, hydro data centers don't have to be completely planned out ahead of time and can scale up quickly to meet demand.
2. Honey, we shrunk the data center
Data centers have traditionally been massive warehouses that spanned acres, and over the years with the advance of technology server units have shrunk. The future will be no different. Data center technology will create smaller, more powerful units that will need less and less space. However, the future won’t be as simple as closet-sized data centers. Instead, the future will contain modular data centers that can scale up or down as needed.
3. ‘Soft’ money
As server hardware advances, becoming more efficient and effective than ever, the differences between data centers will all but disappear as far as hardware is concerned. Companies will have to rely on software as a service (SaaS) and proprietary non-hardware innovations to differentiate themselves from the competition. And for those who can’t innovate, their relevance will hinge on how cheaply they can offer services to end users, as there will always be those looking for the lowest cost way to deploy at scale.
4. Hybrid theory
Continuing the agility theme, hybrid data centers are set to rule tomorrow.  By splitting processing power between on-premise and the cloud, the hybrid architecture of the future will let data center dynamics be more efficient than ever, and will also enable companies to adjust instantly to the needs of their end users. 
5. Artificial downsizing
The continued trend of AI automation tells us that the future will see less need for large IT staffs and more demand for powerful machine learning applications. Eventually, data centers will be set up with AI able to run the entire operation on its own, and (unfortunately) only a handful of senior staff members would be required for data center management.

Remember, these are just predictions, and the next 20 years will be full of innovation and change no one can foresee. But we’re confident that Ingram Micro’s integrated solutions experts can help prepare you and your customers for what’s next. Don't hesitate to contact us or your Ingram Micro representative if you have any questions.