Data Center Trends for 2024 and Beyond

By: Mike Welling
June 20, 2024

You’re reading a technology blog to get a few quick answers. You happen to look at the publication date, and it’s from 2018. But that’s okay, because it’s about data centers, right? 

Okay…back away from this blog and from almost any blog about technology written before 2020. The pandemic changed the way we work, use the cloud, communicate, and store information. It was NOT the best of times, but there were a few silver linings. In this blog, I’ll explain how data centers are evolving and what that means for businesses like yours. 

Data Center Design Trends

Two IT professionals look at real-time analytics to measure the performance of their modern data center.

More, Everywhere

Data centers were once strategically located across the United States and it was common — and even often preferred — to use a data center located in other states and hub cities like Silicon Valley. Both regulation and latency demands are now leading more providers to build data centers close to the consumer for better performance. After all, the closer the data center, the better your Netflix streaming experience! 

Modular and Scalable 

Data centers now need to be scalable, flexible, and quick to deploy. New prefabricated, portable units can be quickly set up and expanded as needed, reducing construction time and costs. 

That means some data centers have become much smaller than they used to be, but others have become massive. The largest data center in the United States is owned by Meta Platforms (Facebook) and spans 4.6 million square feet.

More Sustainable 

A modern "green" data center uses renewable energy sources, cooling technologies, and more.

Cloud solutions have helped us reduce our time on the road and scale back on on-premises infrastructure to use less energy. That’s good! In fact, just a 10% increase in remote work could mean a 200M-ton reduction of carbon dioxide in the US each year. But data centers can also be energy hogs. Here are a few stats

  • Data centers use 200 TWh of electricity and generate 3.5% of the global greenhouse gas emissions
  • Data centers use up to 5 million gallons of water a day
  • By 2026, data centers are predicted to consume 1,000 TWh

Fortunately, many data centers are overcoming these challenges in a number of ways: 

  • Transitioning to renewable energy sources
  • Using new cooling technologies like liquid cooling, free cooling, and advanced airflow management
  • Server virtualization
  • Smart power management
  • Recycling and reusing equipment when possible
  • More energy-efficient systems and architecture 

Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Architecture 

As organizations adopt hybrid and multi-cloud strategies, data center designs are quickly adapting to accommodate seamless integration and workload portability.

Greater Automation

Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and software-defined architectures are only the beginning. Data centers are now incorporating robotic process automation to automate repetitive, rules-based data center tasks like provisioning, patching, monitoring, and reporting. And AI is now able to optimize workload placement, automate threat detection, and predict hardware failures. 

Whenever you hear talk about AI, there’s also talk about job loss. But for many understaffed data centers, it can bring welcome relief

Additional Security 

With the growing number of cyber threats and regulatory requirements, data centers are responding with better physical access controls, securing their supply chains, stronger data encryption, and other modern cybersecurity techniques. These include, but are not limited to deceptive defense, zero trust models, security access service edge (SASE) architecture, and microsegmentation

What Do These Trends Mean for You? 

A closeup shot of an employee accessing cloud solutions, made possible by modern data center placement and design.

Modern data center placement and design means that cloud tools are getting even faster, cheaper, and more secure. And while cloud security — just like every other form of security — will never be 100% foolproof, its benefits offer small to medium-sized businesses new ways to accomplish more in less time and, in many ways, level the playing field. 

However, many businesses don’t have an endless amount of time and money. If you’re struggling to decide which investments would bring you the most ROI, you’re always welcome to reach out and ask one of our cloud specialists. But our department has also put together a cloud checklist that’s free to download to help you get a clearer picture of what the cloud might do for your business. 

Click the link below to access it! 

Get Our Cloud Computing Checklist Download Now

Topics: Cloud Services