The Hot Aisle will be hotter-100�F or more-as more enterprise data centers are adopting upper temperature recommendations of 80.6�F for air intake to the IT equipment (i.e. the cold aisle) as outlined in the ASHRAE 9.9 guidelines. This is because most servers, and especially blade servers, have a 20-25�F temperature rise.
The 'cloud' in the data center may become real, since some data centers will also allow the humidity to rise, as they begin to use outside air to improve cooling efficiency or in some cases no longer use any mechanical cooling, such as Yahoo's Chicken Coop. The Hot Aisle will be more humid (or sometimes less) as the environmental envelope is stretched to ASHRAE 9.9 and beyond (fashion outlook: safari jackets and perhaps matching rain hats will be the new uniform).
Colos will continue to absorb small- and medium-size enterprise data center operations as the cost of building, operating and upgrading their own facilities becomes more expensive, and less of a strategic advantage.
Solid-state storage will begin to make more inroads as the prices come down; however, the spinning disk is not dead yet, since the solid-state storage capacities continue to increase while prices drop to remain competitive. It will still be the primary choice in large-scale commodity deployments.
The emergency power off (EPO) button will die very slowly, even though the 2011 National Electrical Code (NEC) has eliminated it from its requirements. Local building inspectors and fire marshals will continue to require them for many years to come.
Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) will be big this year, as momentum builds to monitor and improve energy efficiency. More vendors will join in, but interoperability will still be a problem as BMS systems Modbus protocols and IT SNMP are still apples and oranges.
Unified communications will be more fully merged in the data center architecture and operations. The 'telecomm room' will become a fading memory, since telecomm equipment and functionality are no longer strangers in the data center and VoIP phones are now mainstream.
Internet delivery of movies from Netflix, and HD video from YouTube, Facebook and other similar social networks will incite the Internet peering bandwidth billing battleground, and may force the end of unlimited Internet fixed-price bandwidth for the consumer (land- and mobile-based). It will also drive storage vendors' equipment sales to new heights. This will also compel the need for more speeds and feeds for the network equipment manufacturers (in case you were wondering why Cisco purchased consumer product maker Flip, which offers the UltraHD video camera).
Densities will continue to rise and older cooling systems and airflow designs will become even more challenged as they try to keep up. Cold aisle and Hot Aisle containment and other airflow management strategies will no longer be considered extreme leading-edge methodologies. Close-coupled cooling will become more common in new designs.
The Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star programs will continue to expand and will cover virtually all areas of the data center, as the UPS and data storage arrays are added to the growing list of equipment covered by the program. More servers, as well as bladeservers, will be part of version 2 of the program. The data center infrastructure efficiency will be subject to further scrutiny and possible local regulations as ASHRAE 90.1 becomes adopted by local build departments.
The computing loads in data centers will become more dynamic instead of nearly flat, as older IT equipment such as servers are upgraded to Energy Star-rated products-which have much lower idle power states and mandatory power management. This will result in more 'traveling hot spots' during peaks or overcooling during lulls in computing loads, especially in older data centers, which were not designed to handle these changing conditions.
Virtualized desktops will shift more equipment from the desktop to the data center, adding to the IT equipment loads. Hopefully new server energy management software will allow the equipment to power down or run at lower power idle states when not being used, but this will also increase the dynamic swing in the power curve.
The Green Grid will have data center operators calculating their carbon footprint with the introduction of the Carbon Usage Effectiveness (CUE) metric. As a result, we may finally find 'Bigfoot.' Moreover, water usage will also be counted, so look for undocumented midnight deliveries of truckloads of 'Perrier,' as data centers start to calculate and boast that they have the lowest Water Usage Effectiveness (WUE).
So stay tuned and have a green, carbon-free holiday season and a happy, sustainable New Year! Until then, best wishes from Julius and CTO Edge, here at Hot Aisle Insight.