Top 10 data centre trends for 2025

Huawei Technologies Australia P/L

Tuesday, 14 July, 2020

Top 10 data centre trends for 2025

The top 10 trends expected for data centres in the year 2025 have recently been released by Huawei.

From 2010 to 2019, data centres evolved from ICT equipment rooms to cloud technology. Rapid development of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, big data and 5G is expected to bring a new era, with a dramatic increase in market demand for data centres.

At the same time, data centres are facing challenges such as difficulties in obtaining resources for construction, lengthy construction periods and high energy consumption.

The top 10 trends for data centres, as predicted by Huawei, are listed below.

1. High density power

CPU and server capacity are continuously increasing, as IT computing capacity continues to evolve. As demand for AI applications rises, the importance of AI computing power further increases. To balance efficiency and costs, data centres will become equipped for higher power density. Currently, the average power capacity in a data centre is 6 to 8 kW/rack. It is anticipated that power density of 15 to 20 kW/rack will dominate data centres by 2025.

2. Scalable architecture

Generally, the lifecycle of IT devices is three to five years, and the power density doubles every five years. However, the lifecycle of data centre infrastructure is 10 to 15 years, and the data centre facility will support IT device evolution for two to three generations. This demands scalable expansion and phased investment for optimal CAPEX in the lifecycle of a data centre. In addition, the data centre must support hybrid deployment of IT devices with different power densities because of the diversified IT services it runs.

3. Green power

Currently, data centres account for 3% of the world’s total power consumption. It is estimated that the total power consumption of a data centre will reach more than 1000 TWh by 2025. Energy saving, emission reduction and operating expense (OPEX) reduction are big challenges. Reducing power usage and building green data centres is therefore inevitable — the use of clean energy and waste heat will help to save resources (such as energy, land, water and materials) throughout the lifecycle of the data centre.

4. Quick deployment

Internet services usually ‘burst’ in a short period of time, and data and traffic demands on the service side increase sharply. Therefore, data centres must be rolled out quickly. On the other hand, the data centre is changed from a support system to a production system, and a faster rollout means faster benefits. The typical TTM of a data centre is nine to 12 months, which is expected to be shortened to less than six months in the future.

5. Full digitalisation and AI-enablement

Data centre facilities will inevitably evolve towards digital, and become more intelligent. With the continuous improvement of IoT and AI technologies, data centres will gradually evolve from single-domain digitalisation (in terms of O&M, energy saving and operation), to full-lifecycle digitalisation and automation (in terms of planning, construction, O&M and optimisation). It is predicted that AI will be widely applied.

6. Full modularisation

More data centres will be constructed in full modular mode to address the problems of slow construction and high initial investment costs. Modular design will evolve from component modularisation to architectural and equipment room modularisation. This full modular design will enable fast deployment, flexible capacity expansion, simple O&M and high energy efficiency.

7. Simplified power supply architecture

The power supply and distribution system of a traditional data centre is complex and fragmented. It also creates a large footprint, and it is difficult to locate faults. Simplified power supply architecture will reduce power conversion times, shorten the power supply distance and footprint, and improve the space utilisation rate and system energy efficiency. Compared with lead-acid batteries, lithium batteries have advantages in terms of footprint and service life. As the cost of lithium batteries decreases, they will be widely used in data centres in the future.

8. Convergence of liquid cooling and air cooling

GPU and NPU applications generate more high-density scenarios, and liquid cooling systems will enjoy increased popularity. However, some storage and computing services are still in low-density scenarios. To quickly adapt to uncertain IT service requirements in the future, the cooling solution must be compatible with the air cooling system and liquid cooling system. In addition, the complex architecture of the chilled water cooling system hinders quick deployment and easy O&M. An indirect evaporative cooling system, with modular architecture, will shorten the deployment time and simplify O&M. In addition, by fully utilising natural cooling resources, power consumption of the cooling system will be greatly reduced. In areas with suitable climate, the chilled water system will gradually be replaced by indirect evaporative cooling.

9. Dynamic linkage between bits and watts

Instead of focusing on a data centre’s energy facilities, its energy consumption needs to be evaluated and optimised as a whole. Through full-stack innovation, IT, chipsets, data, cloud, bits and watts will work collaboratively to achieve dynamic energy saving and optimal energy efficiency of the entire system.

10. Trustworthiness

As a data centre facility becomes more intelligent, network security threats will multiply. The data centre must have six features: resilience, security, privacy, safety, reliability and availability, in order to prevent attacks and threats from environments and malicious personnel, including network intrusion threats.

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