10 predictions for the data center and the cloud in 2019

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It’s that time of year again, where vacations are planned, going to the mall looks like something out of “Braveheart,” package theft from doorsteps is rampant, and people try their best not to offend. In other words, it’s Christmastime.

This leads to an inevitable tradition of looking back at the year and at what will come. For some time, I’ve done general looks back, but this year we are narrowing the focus to the data center and cloud, since the real battle these days is to find a balance between the cloud and on-premises implementations.

Much of what I am predicting has been hinted at in research or emerging trends, so I’m not sticking my neck too far out. I’m just making logical assumptions and conclusions based on past evidence. Hopefully that will improve my accuracy rate. And now …

10 predictions for 2019 around data centers and virtualization

1. Edge computing matures but still needs a business model

This is not hard to figure out. Everyone loves the idea of edge computing. Data center operators see it as a chance to lighten the load on central servers, and businesses see it as a chance to have sub-10 millisecond response time. Vendors such as Vapor IO and Schneider Electric are coming out with different models for placement at base stations, and 5G is beginning its national rollout.

The problem is who pays for it. That still hasn’t been worked out. Will it fall to cellular providers, or will it fall to the car makers who want connected cars? This industry has a long track record of dreaming up technologies and thinking of the business model later, and edge computing is an expensive idea in search of an owner. That needs to be sorted out in 2019.

2. Water cooling expands

When Google launched version 3.0 of its Tensor Processing Unit AI chip, it also revealed it had switched to water cooling because air was no longer sufficient. With CPUs getting over 200 watts and GPUs hitting 300 watts, air cooling simply doesn’t cut it any more. Water is thousands of times more efficient at heat removal than air and more companies are overcoming their apprehension about the coolant springing a leak. Also, in some cases, they have no choice. The demand for more processing power is driving the move to liquid cooling as much as anything.

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