The importance, role and functionality of data centers will change over the next five years, leaving many organizations uncertain about how to plan their future data center architectures, according to research firm Gartner Inc.

Gartner says technical, fiscal and service delivery concerns will be critical, and has identified eight areas to consider when developing a data center strategy that balances cost, risk and agility.

These areas include the deployment of processor-, memory- and power-efficient technologies such as in-memory computing; a move toward a balanced architectural topology and delivery model that accounts for growing use of cloud services; investment in operational processes and improved tools; integration of disaster recovery and business continuity into the core data center strategy; management of capacity growth through data analysis; planning for operating system and application changes; making consolidation and rationalization a continuous change program; and modernization of data center facilities.

"Over the next five to 10 years most organizations will need to change their approach to previous data center strategies used in the last five to seven years, as most of the world comes out of recession and the [growth of mobile, cloud and big data] affects technology use,” Rakesh Kumar, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. "Historically, data centers have been viewed solely as service delivery centers in which cost and risk must be balanced. Agility, a critical third variable, will become increasingly important in future."

The eight critical forces “are the major factors to consider when developing a data center strategy," Kumar said. "Individually and taken together, they will determine the appropriate level of risk, cost and agility that data centers will carry and provide for the business. This model should be the starting point for mid- and long-term data center strategy discussions."

This story originally appeared at Information Management.

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