Data Center: The Next Generation

By: Jacqueline Lee - Leave a comment

In 1945, the U.S. Army Ballistic Research Laboratory commissioned the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) to store artillery firing codes. In addition to having 10,000 capacitors, 70,000 resistors and 17,468 vacuum tubes, ENIAC had the first elements of the basic data center: infrastructure, storage elements and secured backup power.

ENIAC could perform 5,000 calculations per second. Today’s premier data centers have enough bandwidth to transmit, in one-tenth of a second, the entire scanned contents of the Library of Congress. The next-generation data center will be even more speedy, efficient and dynamic, delivering state-of-the-art computing for a changing world.

Three Trends Driving Data Center Evolution

So much is rapidly transforming in today’s world, which makes it tough to pinpoint every possible change driver. These three trends, however, are pushing the data center forward more than any others.

Demand for Data

Kevin Maney of Newsweek described the data explosion perfectly in a 2014 article: “Put 3 billion people on the Internet, mix with a boom in mobile apps and sensors going into everything, and stir.” Homes, businesses and vehicles are filling with Internet of Everything (IoE) devices spewing data into the world. The sheer volume of data isn’t the only issue; data processing applications are resource-intensive.

Distributed Workforce

Thanks to Wi-Fi and cellular technology, people can work from anywhere. Even small companies have virtual work groups collaborating across the globe. Tomorrow’s workforce will be even less containerized in cubicles; they will demand more mobile, social and video collaboration tools.

Desire for Better Application Performance

Businesses expect applications to run at top performance levels at all times, which pushes the data center to respond quickly to changes in demand and anticipate resource requirements before change happens. Companies no longer accept downtime and user experiences that don’t meet expectations. Performance degradation costs money and time.

A Vision for the Future

Software-defined infrastructure (SDI) will run every data center as if it were a single computer. Application requirements will define distribution of compute, networking and storage capabilities, which will change dynamically in an automated environment.


Resource silos — dedicated hardware, in-house data centers and remote infrastructure — will disappear in an Everything-as-a-Service environment. The data center will run workloads where they work best, making rapid-fire decisions using cognitive patterns resembling the human mind. To improve application performance, resources will expand closer to the end user, opening up business opportunities in second tier and smaller markets.

More Efficiency in the Cloud

Evolving container technology will shake up the cloud environment, improving cloud portability and application performance, IT World predicts. Containers will pack two to three times as many applications on a single server, creating consistent environments for development, testing and deployment. The data center will integrate virtualization and containers to create an optimal cloud that delivers better security and cost savings.

Smarter Power Usage

SDI, thanks to its dynamic resource management, will make tomorrow’s data center more power-efficient. In their quest to reduce power usage, data center engineers will expand alternative energy usage and delve even deeper into innovative design. According to TechRepublic, they’ll also turn to cooling the source of the heat instead of the entire room, exploring innovations in processor cooling.

Partnership, Not Real Estate

Demand for expertise within the data center, from engineers to administrators, will push facilities to offer more value-added services. The data center will no longer be about purchasing real estate; it will be about delivering maximum value for business customers struggling with scarce in-house expertise.

Are You Ready?

Are you ready for the next-generation data center? Learn more about the four-step process for bringing your data center into the next generation and reshaping IT for the business of tomorrow.

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About The Author

Jacqueline Lee

Freelance Writer

Jacqueline Lee specializes in business and technology writing, drawing on over 10 years of experience in business, management and entrepreneurship. Currently, she blogs for HireVue and IBM, and her work on behalf of client brands has appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes, Entrepreneur and Inc. Magazine. In addition to writing, Jackie works as a social media... Read More