What does the year hold for the IT and data centre industries and the Channel which serves them?

Here are the top six trends according to Brent Owens, Director Sales & Partner Enablement EMEA for Vertiv.

Trend #1: More demand for energy efficiency services

I believe one of the biggest trends, and potential opportunity, is for partners to better support their customers whilst helping them to do more for the environment by improving energy efficiency. The types of services that will be in demand for 2023, and therefore a great opportunity for the channel, include those that look at total cost of ownership, provide power audits and battery refreshes as well as predictive failure analysis and monitoring – all of which will help customers to avoid waste and reduce costs. 

Trend #2: Data centres face increasing regulation

The dominant market drivers in the data centre industry can be broadly grouped as “energy and environment” and “speed and simplicity,” and the trends in the industry in 2023 reflect that reality. 

Demand for energy is rising and, in certain parts of the world or at peak times, exceeding available capacity. This is true for water, as well, especially in drought-stricken regions, so it’s only natural – and prudent – for governments to apply more scrutiny to data centres. 

The anticipated regulatory steps may range from the more rigorous guardrails we’ve seen in places like Singapore or Ireland – where new data centre construction is subject to government review and requires compliance with stringent environmental criteria – to more pliant restrictions consistent with the local energy/water landscape.

Customers will increasingly rely on channel partners to understand and anticipate regulatory measures and help them navigate the evolving landscape accordingly.

Trend #3: 5G meets the metaverse at the edge

5G networks require computing close to the consumer, and telecom operators are racing to upgrade and expand their networks to meet those demands. Likewise, the metaverse requires ultra-dense, low-latency computing networks to support the virtual reality features that make the application what it is.

The shared interest in high-density, low-latency computing networks will lead to a marriage of convenience between telecom operators and organisations rolling out some version of a metaverse.

These are growth opportunities for channel partners who can not only provide the infrastructure solutions needed at these sites, but also the expertise and ongoing support these customers crave.

Trend #4: Hyperscalers (and others) shop off the rack

The desire for faster, easier deployment and faster networks will continue to push the data centre industry toward standardised, modular designs, higher density facilities and racks, and denser networks with more computing at the edge. 

The adoption of standardized, modular solutions and design practices across the data centre ecosystem is accelerating and part of an overarching desire to add capacity quickly and simplify installation and operation.

Partners play a critical role in helping their customers access the right solutions quickly and in helping them simplify increasingly complex environments. Modular solutions help them do that. This is especially true as the edge becomes more mission critical and fully integrated with today’s hybrid networks.

Trend #5: Diesel generators see real competition

Diesel generators do their job and are likely to remain a part of the backup power mix for a few more years, but they produce carbon emissions at a time when the industry is looking for any way to reduce that carbon footprint.

Channel partners can help customers reduce carbon emissions through equipment selection, ensuring they outfit their data centres with the most environmentally responsible solutions available.

Looking ahead, partners must stay informed on innovations in extended backup power technologies, including alternative battery options and hydrogen fuel cells.

Trend #6: Higher densities alter thermal strategies

The Uptime Institute’s 2022 Global Data Centre survey found more than a third of data centre operators say their rack densities have increased rapidly in the past three years. 

There are two factors driving up rack densities:

o Early liquid cooling deployments for high-density racks have been successful 

o As they have become more comfortable with high-density liquid cooling solutions, operators have shown a greater willingness to increase rack densities to help them add capacity quickly and economically in existing facilities.

The addition of direct-to-chip cooling to new OCP and Open19 standards will only accelerate this trend.

High-density racks are becoming more common across all data centre facilities, and there are channel partners who can help customers identify the right thermal management strategies for each specific installation. 

Even in small spaces and at the edge, increasing rack densities and cramped spaces are creating complicated thermal profiles requiring innovative approaches to cooling. Channel partners understand the unique challenges present in these environments.

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