Data and analytics technology is continually evolving so there are a lot of promising opportunities, though some may never be realized. You don't want to be adopting trends that are going to fade out, leaving you with a wasted investment.

In light of that, here are some of the emerging data center trends for 2018 that you should be paying attention to.

Data Center Space Will Expand Rapidly

In 2013, 1.58 billion square feet of space was needed to house data center hardware and equipment. That will grow over the coming year to 1.94 billion square feet. This is all in spite of the fact that the total number of data centers worldwide will decrease. That's because those in use will need to upgrade and improve efficiency, meaning more need for hardware and storage space.

Expect to see the average size of data centers and their services balloon over the coming year.

Edge Computing Will Become Commonplace

It’s not just mobile anywhere that requires decent power and reliability, IoT, smart technology and even connected industry hardware all need the backing of reliable servers. That explains why edge computing will continue to grow over the coming year. By handling the computing closer to the edge of a network, data can be analyzed in real-time and won't have to travel longer distances to data centers.

Water Cooling Will Become the New Norm

Originally, water cooling was a tool for hobbyists, allow them to push their systems farther than ever before — a process that's referred to as overclocking. It works well because it's reliable and keeps the system cool with a minimal power requirement. It also happens to be a legitimate solution for cooling in data centers.

Technavio claims that the global data center liquid cooling market will grow at a CAGR of 16 percent all the way through 2020.

Companies Will Seek a Balance Between Local and Remote

Many companies and teams are realizing that it's not beneficial to have everything in the cloud, resulting in a sharp u-turn of their processes as they rush content back on-site. We're sure to see major teams working on solutions that bring balance to the local and cloud-based computing world. Teams will spend more time evaluating and understanding what should be kept in the cloud and what should not.

Sustainability Will Become More Important

Data centers consume a lot of energy. In 2014, US-based data centers were responsible for using up 70 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. Comparably, that's the same amount used by 6.4 million average American homes. It's no surprise that data centers managers and property owners are going to want to cut down on associated costs.

To do that, going green and adopting renewable energy are the ideal solutions. Renewable energy deployment, in particular, is expected to grow, as the use of solar, wind and even hydroelectricity continues to expand.

IoT Will Be Widespread

The Internet of Things is sweeping across many industries, even the consumer market. Smart home technology and connected devices can make life more convenient, but they can also make organizations and teams more efficient. From manufacturing and logistics to healthcare and government, IoT devices are being deployed seemingly everywhere. The data collection services, automation and remote activation support they offer is unprecedented. It will give birth to the rise of smart cities and wholly connected environments.

What this means for data centers is an incredible boon in support, particularly in reliance and engagement of related systems.

Security Will Continue to Improve

Artificial intelligence, big data and predictive analytics will help security teams better protect and control who has access to data center systems. AI, for example, will be used to speed up intrusion detection and take action when there's a problem or breach. These tools will also be used to monitor hardware for common failures, allowing project managers and data center maintenance teams to keep their systems operational for much longer periods.

Serverless Computing Will Take Off

There's a massive wave of interest in serverless computing, and development is just now starting to take off. It's a fairly new concept too, so up until now, there have been a lot of misconceptions and misinformation floating around. Even the name "serverless" is confusing.

In case you don't know what it is, the strategy basically allows you to define API endpoints that can perform specific actions or events once triggered. You can read more about it here if you need more information.

Expect to see this concept and related technologies take off over the coming year.

Google’s Services Will Become Viable

For quite some time now, Amazon and Microsoft have dominated the cloud computing and cloud services market. There are some smaller players, but most organizations or businesses you talk to go with either Azure or AWS.

That will likely change throughout the coming year, as Google's cloud computing services gain traction. In addition to a solid partnership with Cisco, Diane Green is also working to revamp and improve the way Google handles their computing audience.

2018 Certainly Looks Promising!

No matter how you feel about some of these changes, there’s no denying the potential the data center and cloud computing markets have waiting in the wings, at least for 2018. There are a lot of shifts coming that may or may not have been expected or anticipated.

The rise of serverless computing, a bigger balance between cloud and local systems, renewable energy adoption, and even Google’s imminent rise of influence in the space are all something to look forward to. The real question is, are you ready?

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