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Data Center Trends for the Rest of 2024

The data center industry is expanding rapidly. As we move into the second half of 2024, there are several trends that continue to shape the way data centers operate and the solutions data center managers need to stay competitive. Here’s how nVent solutions can help data center managers meet the needs of their customers this year and beyond.  

The biggest challenge that continues to face data center operators is managing the high heat loads generated by next-generation IT equipment, including AI and machine learning applications. AI and ML are here to stay, and these technologies require a significant amount of processing power, which generates a large amount of heat. This shift is not new to data center operators, who have been dealing with rising heat loads from increased data demand from content streaming, cloud computing and more for years.  

Traditional air-cooling methods are quickly becoming outdated for managing these high heat loads. Data center managers need to adopt new cooling technologies or risk reduced performance and equipment failure. Liquid cooling solutions can provide significantly higher cooling efficiency compared to traditional air-cooling methods and enable data centers to safely and efficiently deploy next-generation technologies while achieving energy efficiency requirements. Even for data centers that are not ready to make the jump into full facility-level liquid cooling, nVent offers hybrid cooling solutions like rear door coolers advantage of the efficiencies of this cutting-edge technology without requiring full-scale facility retrofits.  

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Operating More Sustainably 

Sustainability will continue to be a conversation in the data center industry. As data center demand rises, determining how to power data centers is becoming just as big of a conversation as where they should be built. However you slice it, data centers are large energy users, and there is increasing global focus on technologies that help data centers reduce their carbon footprint. Data centers need to both use their power efficiently and minimize waste as well as consider creating their own power to support grid resiliency by adopting renewable energy.  

Data center planners need to consider on-site renewable energy generation to help offset power demands on local grids, reduce carbon footprint and control energy costs. Understanding power use is also critical; data center technologies like intelligent power distribution can monitor power usage and provide alerts in the event of power surges or other issues. These solutions also add resiliency to critical systems by helping keep them safe from natural and manmade disruptions. 

Adopting Modular and Scalable Solutions 

Modularity and scalability continue to be key considerations as data center demand shifts and expands. Data centers need to be able to quickly and easily adapt to changing needs, whether that means adding more capacity, deploying new technologies, or expanding to new locations. Utilizing adaptable, modular, and scalable standard product platforms for networking, data center, and communications applications is critical to building scalable data centers.  

When making upgrades to facilities or constructing new ones, data center managers need to design for modularity, allowing them to scale operations as demand increases. If data centers build to the capabilities they need today, they will quickly find themselves conducting rework and further developments as technology changes.  

The need for modularity applies to both facility and rack-level infrastructure. Data center managers should preserve the ability to add additional racks or equipment within existing building infrastructure to scale with rapidly increasing demand. As cooling technology continues to improve, data centers may be able to fill empty space on racks with more equipment, but cabling and power distribution must then also be designed with a scalable architecture in mind.  

Increasing the Use of Automation and Artificial Intelligence 

As data centers continue to grow in size and complexity, the need for automated solutions to manage and optimize operations is becoming more important. While data center managers will always play a key role, relying on some of the technologies that data centers themselves are helping create can help managers find new ways of operating. This includes using AI and machine learning to discover efficiencies, reduce downtime and optimize resource usage. In 2024, data centers will need to adopt solutions that use AI and machine learning to automate tasks such as remote monitoring, maintenance alerts and cooling and power resource allocation. 

In conclusion, 2024 will be an exciting year for the data center industry. We are only just scratching the surface of the capabilities of AI, machine learning and high-performance computing. Data center managers need to look for a partner that can help them prepare for all the trends outlined in this article, including precision liquid cooling, energy-efficient power distribution, modular and scalable product platforms, edge computing solutions, and automation and AI solutions. By adopting these solutions, data centers can stay competitive and meet the changing needs of the industry while improving energy efficiency, resiliency, and customer productivity. 

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