It is easy to see that virtualization is the overarching trend in the data center, but behind that mega-trend are many significant changes in the data center. With the New Year upon us, let’s take a look at how data center storage and power will be evolving in 2014.
Storage is one of the last parts of the data center to virtualize, but 2014 should bring many more virtual SANs in the data center. Currently there are more virtual disks than actual virtual storage, but storage and networking will be the big virtualized components this year. In addition to virtual SAN, software-defined networking, which picked up pace last year, should also continue to grow in the data center.
Enterprise adoption of the public cloud should increase in 2014, as more businesses get comfortable with cloud security measures and start to move mission-critical data to public slices of the Internet. Security-minded industries such as healthcare and financial services should be the biggest movers to the public cloud now that security is less a concern.
There also should be an increasing number of hybrid cloud installations, as businesses continue to move to the cloud but still feel that some applications are best left in-house.
Those in the data center industry might have already forgotten about solid state drives with all the talk about virtualization and the cloud. But as a recent article in InfoStor suggested, SSD is still very much up and coming. With price points coming down, and SSD delivering increased performance, more storage in the data center will be moving to SSD as mission-critical apps migrate there, too.
Server-side flash also should make advances in 2014. It offers better performance and lower latency, but has traditionally been hampered by being unusable across hosts. This is an opportunity for flash hypervisors, however, and such a hypervisor could revolutionize the industry in the next couple of years.
The last major storage trend is the move toward disaster-recovery pricing. With an increasing amount of data needing to be stored but not accessed regularly, there’s a big push toward deep cloud storage that is accessible but not right away, and of course comes with a lower price point.
On the data center power side, 2014 should see an increase in the number of intelligent power strips. To keep pace with virtualization in the data center, power will need to become more flexible and intelligent, too.
This means not only intelligent power strips, but also power usage effectiveness monitoring and data center infrastructure management (DCIM). With DCIM, data centers will start to monitor power and temperature data more closely, working in conjunction with the increasing flexibility in the data center in general.
In the drive for efficiency, there also should be an increasing move toward higher-voltage operation, and in a move to DC power whenever possible. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that DC power can boost efficiency as much as 28 percent, and it has long been known that higher-voltage operation is more energy efficient.
So while virtualization may be the mega-trend, it isn’t the only thing going in the data center.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson