The data center must adapt to remain relevant — the cloud, Internet-of-things (IoT), mobile devices, are all growing at a fast pace. As we enter the new year, we find that many technologists’ heads are in the clouds and unfortunately their feet as well. To succeed, the data centers’ feet must be firmly planted in order to support the cloud and the technology trends for 2016. 

Now is the time for organizations to take a step back and look at their data center technology needs, the data center trends, and make decisions that will impact their business growth for 2016. With the rapidly increasing influx of data expected to happen in the coming years, IT and tech decision makers should keep their data center operations top of mind.

According to the IDC, by 2020, the digital universe (the data created and copied annually) will reach 44 trillion gigabytes! That’s a lot of data that needs to be stored and protected.

Here are the top five predictions from 15 data center experts on what awaits the industry in 2016.

  1. Updating cabinet design: As more and more high-density applications make their way into data centers, it will require more energy to keep cool. Cold Aisle Containment pod deployments will soon become a standard in data center design. The Uptime Institute reports that 72% of data center operators and IT practitioners use over 5,000 servers with hot/cold aisle containment, while 53% use under 1,000 servers with hot/cold aisle containment.

  2. Cloud is here to stay: We saw this trend in 2015 and it’s bleeding into 2016. Cloud-based businesses increasingly rely on colocation providers to support their large data storage needs. Data center management teams need to center their efforts on condensed design, in order to support increased usage from cloud-based companies and stay a contender.

  3. Location, location, location: Producers are leveraging a federated model when it comes to data centers. Many are relying on a higher number of strategically located data centers rather than utilizing the hub. For example, rather than storing massive amounts of data in a few select data centers, application providers are moving their applications to “the edge,” (in locations where they can serve customers locally, and reach more businesses and more consumers in more markets) in order to be closer to the consumer to reduce latencies and perform at higher rates.

  4. Data centers-as-a-service: Customers are increasingly finding value in data center environments that have support from an accomplished 24x7x365 on-site technical team. This expedites processes, saving customer’s times and money.

  5. Higher density is the norm: The higher the density the better, we are seeing high and higher requests for high-density and super high-density cabinets. This makes sense, we see computers getting smaller & smaller, yet the demand for power, cooling and network are all increasing.