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Top data center trends to watch in 2019

Corporate data centers will remain a significant part of IT operations, but how they're used will continue to change.

As we look to the future, the concept of what data centers do and how the tasks in a data center are accomplished will continue to evolve. While mega data centers—on the scale of Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook—get the majority of attention, the corporate data center remains steadfast. It's still chugging along and doing not just the tasks for which it was originally envisioned, but supporting IT workloads in new and interesting ways.

There will likely always be those technologies and business processes that an enterprise will want to hold close to its vest, and for that reason alone, the data center remains an important part of enterprise IT. But as technology changes, so does the data center, both in use and implementation. In 2019, we will see more of the same as well as pointers toward the data center of the future.

It’s all about the edge

Data centers are not obsolete, and in most cases, the legacy tasks they support are still important. However, the focus for those large facilities has, in many cases, changed. No longer the centralization of IT workloads, smaller data centers are being built in regional locations to bring services and compute closer to the customer. With this re-location, IoT devices collecting data have shorter backhaul and less latency. And as the IoT continues to permeate our lives, collecting massive amounts of data at the edge, data centers will continue to scale, but they will scale out, not up.

Colocation will continue to thrive

Companies will put resources where they are most needed and find little reason to invest in building their own distributed facilities. Putting the job of running a data center into the hands of companies that specialize in that, while just focusing on the IT-related workloads that can be hosted in other people’s facilities, will give IT back its original business focus: providing a service to the enterprise. From a few racks in a colocation facility to stand-alone micro data centers and the somewhat trite “data center in a box” concept, the data center IT team must reconsider what the business needs from its data center. And line-of-business (LOB) IT will likely be the driving factor behind what the 2019 and future data center will look like.

Private clouds will make up the bulk of corporate cloud services

Many companies are moving to the cloud, but they still don’t want to give up control. Companies will use data centers to deploy private cloud infrastructures at a growing rate, with more than 28 percent of cloud spending being focused on the private cloud, according to IDC Products like Azure Stack will be used to deliver cloud services to business users without taking their data out of the corporate-controlled environment. Public cloud infrastructures will be used where necessary, but end users don’t and shouldn’t care where their services are provided from. Data centers will continue to host services too important to put into someone else’s hands.

Management takes center stage

While the traditional data center network operations center will remain important, the overall management structure will change to allow end-to-end views of data center operations as well as cloud-based services in both public and private clouds. Data center operators must be able to integrate operations into that view so LOB IT can get an accurate view of how applications are running regardless of location and be able to ensure that service delivery is on track, regardless of provider. This goes beyond the move into data center infrastructure management tools and looks at the management of business operations. The software-defined data center (SDDC) will become the standard model for data center operations, in both legacy and new deployments. That's because even in legacy environments, the ability to add services on demand will become a priority. In the SDDC, technologies such as hyperconvergence, composability, and software-defined networking and storage will continue to grow. Flexibility will be a keyword for data utilization and growth in 2019.

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Look at HPC in the data center

While high-performance computing (HPC) has become available as a public cloud service, the increase in artificial intelligence and machine learning-based applications means HPC availability will become critical for businesses looking to maintain a cutting-edge advantage. While prototyping and trials may be done using a public cloud infrastructure, large enterprises are likely to want complete, end-to-end control as AI and ML applications become a significant business differentiator. This can be most easily provided in a corporate data center, 

The hybrid cloud

In many ways these three words define the future of the data center. Just about any point that can be made about the future of the data center revolves around the data center becoming an integral part of the cloud of services being offered to business units.

Security, damn it!

How many times do we need to say this? Security will continue to be a major issue with data centers specifically and IT as a whole. Data centers must address many issues around physical security as well as security of their IT workload. 2019 will continue to bring a tightening of security standards and a higher profile for the rapid adoption of leading-edge security techniques, tools, and software across the data center industry.

This article/content was written by the individual writer identified and does not necessarily reflect the view of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.