Water Rabbit, to be precise.

According to Chinese geomancy, with the lunar year of the Rabbit under the influence of the water element, businesses will experience peaks and troughs in their fortunes.

However, businesses can leverage digital solutions to explore new opportunities and overcome challenges until next January.

For now, what lies ahead for data centers and technology arena in the lunar Year of the Rabbit under the influence of water?  

  • Data centers will hop from fossil fuels to renewable alternatives 

For many years now the data center (DC) industry has been moving toward the use of renewable alternatives. However, concern over energy security due to the ongoing conflict in Eastern Europe has sharply prompted the industry to closely examine its partial reliance on non-renewable energy sources, like diesel or gas. 

Similar to their counterparts, governments across the region are keeping a close eye on the energy efficiency of data centers. For instance, Singapore requires new data centers to be certified green and have a power usage effectiveness (PUE) under 1.3. The PUE is a ratio that measures how energy efficient data centers are: the lower the PUE, the more the energy efficiency.  

The industry needs to start looking at alternative ways to power its facilities, which ultimately means adopting a hybrid model and having the ability to go off grid and become ‘decentralized’. It sounds unrealistic now, but if you examine history, it is achievable.

Chris Sharp, Chief Technology Officer, Digital Realty

For instance, it would not have been uncommon for a factory in the 1920s to have been powered by a single steam engine located right outside, essentially acting as a ‘micro-grid’ for the factory.

Now imagine that paradigm for data centers, but on a much broader scale, and instead of steam engines, think about renewable power, such as solar, wind, nuclear, and hydropower. We are already starting to see this implemented to some extent now in the USA and soon in APAC. It will not be long until  fossil fuels take a back seat permanently. 

  • Better cooling solutions will emerge from the rabbit hole, thanks to AI and IoT trends

The use of data-heavy technologies like AI and IoT continues to ramp up across the globe.

With the latest epitome of the technology, ChatGPT, making waves, more businesses will turn to AI, which means more intensity and geographical distribution. 

The thing is, AI does not run on thin air. It is a demanding technology, requiring a lot of power to run, and incredibly high power density racks to function optimally. Historically, the most effective way of cooling a data center has been through hot and cold aisle containment, or using a local water source, as DCs in Marseille and London do. 

However, with AI, we need something even more innovative. Methods like liquid cooling are fast becoming the ‘go-to’ choice. Beyond that, we will also start to see the emergence of phase-change cooling into the mainstream.  

  • Hybrid IT and multi-cloud solutions will breed like rabbits 

As datasets grow larger, they exude a gravitational pull that attracts applications and processing power to them: we call this the ‘Data Gravity’ effect. This proliferation of data makes it harder for businesses to access, aggregate, and ultimately, make sense of their data, and it will become more apparent as our dependency on data and digital services increases.  

As data gravity intensifies in the Year of the Rabbit, it will be a good time for organizations to look at how to derive value from all their data.

The data center industry is supporting this need with highly connected, geographically diverse platforms that enable businesses to reach the most strategic global markets with infrastructure that is flexible and deployable in minutes. The importance of this approach is only going to become more apparent over time as enterprises recognize that multi-cloud deployments and the adoption of hybrid IT are the only ways to navigate a world driven by data. 

With these trends in mind, the Water Rabbit will spur data centers to find new ways to power their infrastructure, improve energy efficiency, and offer better ways for customers to address data-related challenges.