Huawei has released their Top-9 Trends for Data Centers – to stir up the discussion on data center trends and future opportunities. Huawei also wants to contribute to knowledge sharing for a healthy development of the data center industry.
Trend 1: Carbon-Free data centers
Carbon neutrality has become the most urgent task worldwide and has triggered a green revolution. Green power such as wind energy and solar energy will be increasingly used for data centers. In the future, it will be inevitable to maximize resource conservation (e.g., energy conservation, space conservation, water conservation, and material conservation) throughout the data center lifecycle. In large data center facilities, thermal energy recovery has become the new energy saving solution. Data center power usage effectiveness (the PUE) will soon be 1.0, and carbon-free data centers will become a reality in the near future.
Trend 2: High Density Cabinets
Over the next five years, IT devices will develop ever-higher computing power and density, and CPU and server power will continue to increase. In addition, as demand for AI applications increases, AI computing power will increase. To balance efficiency and cost, high-density data centers are being developed. It is estimated that by 2025, diversified computing power collaboration will prevail and such cloud data centers will form a hybrid deployment of 15 to 30 kW/cabinet.
Trend 3: Scalability
The lifecycle of IT equipment is typically 3 to 5 years, and power density doubles approximately every 5 years. The lifecycle of data center infrastructure is 10 to 15 years. The infrastructure must support elastic architecture and incremental investments, and meet the performance evolution requirements of two to three generations of IT equipment with the optimal investment costs. In addition, the data center must be flexible to support hybrid deployment of IT devices with different power densities, ensuring scalability of on-demand capacity expansion and space savings.
Trend 4: Rapid Deployment
As demand for Internet services has skyrocketed in a short period of time, rapid provisioning is essential. In addition, data centers need to move from support systems to production systems to meet the various application requirements of the cloud and need to be deployed as quickly as the cloud services. In the future, data center time-to-market will be reduced from 9 to 12 months to 6 months or even 3 months.
Trend 5: Simple Architecture
To counter the disadvantages of slow build-out of traditional data centers and high initial investment costs, simplified architectures at the system level and at the data center level will become prevalent. DC power and cooling architectures are evolving from traditional architectures to integrated converged products at the interconnect level. With the prefabricated and modular design, the data center offers rapid deployment, elastic capacity expansion, easy operation and maintenance, and efficient energy savings.
Trend 6: Lithium for All
Traditional data center power systems lead to problems such as complexity, large footprint, frequent accidents such as fire outbreaks, and difficult maintenance. With the trend toward lithium for all, traditional batteries are being replaced by lithium-based batteries and lead-acid batteries are being eliminated. As the cost of lithium batteries decreases, data centers will eventually all be lithium-based. Compared to traditional lead-acid batteries, lithium batteries have twice the life, 1/3 the space, and improved visibility. In addition, lithium batteries with three-level BMS and LFP material provide high safety and reliability.
Trend 7: More Air, Less Water
Driven by complex operating and maintenance costs and higher PUE, and in line with carbon neutrality goals, traditional cooling water systems will be replaced. In addition, cooling systems with less or no water will become more prevalent. The modular indirect evaporative cooling system has an integrated product design that shortens deployment time and simplifies operation and maintenance. It fully utilizes natural cooling resources and significantly reduces cooling system power consumption.
Trend 8: Full Digitalization
With the increasing digital transformation, digital, communication, and AI (Artificial Intelligence) technologies are being increasingly used. Digital twin technologies will become more prevalent throughout the data center lifecycle from design, construction, maintenance and optimization. This will make the entire data center visible, manageable, and controllable, providing an outstanding experience throughout the lifecycle.
Trend 9: Use of AI in Data Centers
With the continuous improvement and widespread adoption of IoT (Internet of Things) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) technologies, data centers will gradually replace manual operations such as repetitive work, expert experience, and business decisions with AI-based autonomous operations. Data centers will gradually shift from single-domain information such as operations and maintenance, energy conservation, and operations to complete digitization and autonomous operations. This includes design, build, operation and maintenance and optimization, AI energy efficiency and real-time parameter customization, AI operation and maintenance, 24-hour non-disruptive inspection and predictive maintenance, AI operation, online simulation and automated service design.