Yes, sports fans it’s time for that spate of annual prediction columns where anyone who has ever been in a data center fires off their attempt at industry clairvoyance. For the most part, these efforts are fairly pedestrian, and mind numbingly similar — big data will be big, the cloud will kill the data center, blah, blah, blah — which wouldn’t be all that big a deal except they are usually wrong. The Amazing Kreskin (is that guy even still alive?) has nothing to fear from these guys. At this point, many of you are probably saying to yourselves, “Chris, since you seem to hold these efforts in such low regard why bother to proffer your own predictions of the future fate of the industry?” My honest answer is that I couldn’t think of anything else to write about, but also, wouldn’t you all be kind of disappointed if I didn’t? For many of you this provides you with another opportunity to say, “That Crosby guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about” and for others it will help you confirm the theory that “even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then.” Now having appropriately set your level of expectation, let’s jump right in shall we?

  • The new Hunger Games movie will be a huge hit. Hey, the books have sold over 50 million copies so you do the math. Plus, I like to warm up with an easy one.
  • Google will build a new data center in Siberia. Greenpeace and Putin will be thrilled. Amnesty International, not so much.
  • We will begin to see the beginnings of consolidation in the industry. Some of the smaller providers will be consumed to help larger players expand their footprint into lower tier markets. For customers, this will give a new definition to the term “upgrade.”
  • DCIM for capacity management will finally become a basic new data center requirement.  Sure, this has been on everyone’s list for the past couple of years, but the increased demands of cloud platforms and big data applications, amongst others, now make a more sophisticated management platform a strategic imperative. Way to hang in there guys.
  • First cost will become an important analytical metric for data center operators as they finally realize that $50 to $100 million is a lot of money for four walls and a roof.
  • Customers will become more demanding. Providers will have to back up their claims with actual verification. In short, this will be the end of Tier III+.
  •  “Real” companies will continue to enter the marketplace. Firms like IBM and Iron Mountain will begin to offer solutions that are differentiated by productization and specialization.
  • A major analyst firm will predict, for the 10th consecutive year, that the average kW per rack will be 50 kW in the next two years. Once again they will be proven wrong, but their paying IT hardware manufacturing customers will be ecstatic.
  • Software defined data centers will replace big data as the new “big thing” that everyone agrees they want but don’t know what it means.
  •  Both Jennifer Aniston and Kim Kardashian will be unceremoniously dumped by their current significant others. Both will sink their clutches into some new unsuspecting sucker, I mean paramour, within days of their heart wrenching break-ups.

So there you have them ladies and gentlemen. My fearless forecasts for ’14.  As is the case with any predictions, some may or may not come true, but I feel pretty solid about The Hunger Games and Jennifer and Kim.