Top 10 Data centre industry takeaways for 2023

Data Centre Magazine considers some of the leading industry takeaways for 2023 and what the data centre forecast could look like in 2024

The data centre industry has seen plenty of changes and innovations throughout the course of 2023. 

From a refined focus on sustainability and net zero guidelines, to forward-thinking innovations such as AI, edge and cloud infrastructure, it is clear that business needs will only continue to change. Industry leaders will have to consider the growing importance of reliable, scalable and secure data infrastructure.

For our last Top 10 of the year, Data Centre Magazine rounds up some of the largest takeaways in 2023 from the data centre sector and what companies are expecting to see moving into 2024.

10. Skills shortage

It is no secret that throughout 2023, obvious skills gaps have become more obvious across the technology sector. Given the huge revolution in AI and other new technologies, businesses have struggled to keep their workforces up-to-date in terms of their skill sets.

Moving into 2024, enterprises will need to consider how they are going to upskill and ensure that their workforces are at the forefront of cutting edge technology. Within the data centre, this could include developing new data strategies, training and education programmes and internal collaboration. 

9. Increased consumption and demand

Demand for data centre capacity and storage has intensified during 2023, with the largest Q2 ever recorded for the industry in Europe alone. The digital economy relies heavily on data centres and so momentum is only expected to continue next year.

The growing demand for AI, for example, is one of the leading reasons for a fundamental change in the design of data centres. Given the fact that there is such high demand, businesses will need to consider new ways of harnessing data to meet the expectations of business.

8. Future innovation 

In addition to AI, the COVID-19 significantly advanced the development of the data centre sector, prompting continued innovation that is only expected to grow. Industry leaders have been developing new ways to grow their businesses in a creative, yet sustainable, way. 

Innovations that have been talked about frequently throughout 2023 include new liquid cooling methods that are sustainable and help to cut costs and the Internet of Things (IoT) becoming further cemented into operations. In addition, underwater data centres have been spoken about more frequently as a promising new sustainable solution for data storage and processing.

7. Security and data protection

Data centres often store and process sensitive data, which makes it important to have strong protection against security breaches. A data centre breach can be caused by threat actors working to disrupt cyber defences and essential services, as well as tampering with sensitive information.

As ransomware cases continue to escalate, industry leaders will need to ensure secure backups of data are kept safe. In addition, business leaders will need to ensure that their data centre cybersecurity strategies are incredibly robust moving into 2024. 

With the threat landscape intensifying, it is not a question of if - but when - a cyberattack will occur.

6. Global expansion/Geographically diverse

In line with an increase in demand, new data centre construction projects are booming. Industry-leading companies are continuing to announce new sites and build new facilities to cater to an increasing amount of services.

Data centres can often be strategically located where access to renewable energy, land and water is more readily available. With this in mind, businesses are having to consider how to increase power availability and reduce carbon footprint in order to keep up with demand in a new age.

5. ESG

Data centre environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies are now more important than ever as companies are considering new sustainable solutions to power their facilities. They are having to do this whilst simultaneously maintaining the same level of operational efficiency, if not higher.

ESG does not have to be a roadblock moving forward and can actually be an invaluable market differentiator. Plenty of data centre businesses have already rolled out net zero pledges, including Schneider Electric, atNorth and Ark Data Centres.

4. Edge data centres

Edge data centres are smaller facilities that are located close to the populations they serve. They are designed to deliver cloud computing resources and cached content to end users, connecting to a larger central data centre of multiple data centres. 

This type of facility has been celebrated throughout 2023 as serving local communities and enabling greater connectivity. Edge data centres are located closer to the end-user than the public cloud, providing customers with the benefit of lower latency, higher security and greater control over their data.

3. Sustainability

With upcoming sustainability performance standards for the data centre sector in some parts of the world, businesses will need to consider further innovation to ensure that their operations are as sustainable as possible.

There are plenty of ways that data centres will become more sustainable in 2024, including adopting less CO2-heavy materials, streamlining arrangements and considering alternative cooling methods to reduce carbon footprint.

This year (2023), these trends created a pathway towards regulation, which is expected to intensify in 2024 as more companies seek to achieve their net zero targets.

2. AI and automation

AI has taken the data centre industry by storm this year, with businesses having to consider how to reinvent their facilities to suit its popularity and increased workloads. It can be used in myriad ways within the data centre, with predictive analytics, operational automation and enhanced threat detection and protection.

The new technology is also causing industry leaders to rethink multiple areas of the data centre, including power, cooling, cabling and network traffic, in order to ensure maximum data safety and operational efficiency moving forward.

1. Liquid cooling

Liquid cooling quickly emerged as a popular solution for businesses to cool data centre racks. It is able to offer powerful performance where liquid can transfer heat away from components and is generally better at heat management than air alone.

2024 is set to see these solutions continue to evolve as the next generation of cooling solutions for data centres to operate efficiently at a lower cost. Hailed as a revolution to the future of data centre operations, it will be interesting to see how these innovative cooling methods will continue to advance next year.

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For more insights into the world of Data Centre - check out the latest edition of Data Centre Magazine and be sure to follow us on LinkedIn & Twitter.

Other magazines that may be of interest - Mobile Magazine.

Please also check out our upcoming event - Sustainability LIVE Net Zero on 6 and 7 March 2024.  

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