Six Trends of Servers in Data Centers
Demand for advanced IT services such as 5G, and edge computing, is driving innovation in data centers, which creates great pressure on data center infrastructures. As one of the most fundamental data center infrastructures, network servers are experiencing a huge change in many aspects. Here are the six trends influencing the data center server market and how they will develop.
#1: Server Virtualization Is Getting Popular
Virtualization technology drives data centers to move towards virtualized data centers. The last decade has seen overwhelming virtualization dominating enterprise data centers. Server virtualization is one of the most significant infrastructures in data center virtualization. Through virtualization, a single physical server can house multiple virtual servers.
Server virtualization is an inevitable trend, as it is a great way to maximize the physical infrastructure space and reduce capital costs. Server virtualization makes full use of public cloud resources, which eliminates the challenges caused by limited data center floor space. Meanwhile, the advent of cloud computing requires high-scale network servers, which increase the servers deployed in the existing data center floors.
#2: Remote Control Gains More Attention
New technology and the global pandemic have resharpened how data centers work. Changes in data centers have brought a lot of transformation in infrastructures, and it may influence more than what you think. Though remote control is not a new norm, it gains more attention in the face of the pandemic. Many operators who are working at home are not able to go to the field to manage the server infrastructures. Whether renting servers or choosing collocation data centers, network servers with remote control function is the best selection these days.
#3: Greater Diversity of Server Processor
The server processor is known as the brain of the server, which matters a lot to data center performance. With the increasing need for data processing, the data center processor industry is more competitive than ever before and the improvement of server processors is gaining more attention. There are many server manufacturers on the market, such as AMD, NVIDIA and other brands, announcing new server processors every year for use in high-performance computing (HPC) applications.
Traditional data center servers utilize a central processing unit (CPU) to perform sophisticated tasks. Servers might also contain a graphics processing unit (GPU), which is built for high-speed graphics and suited for dealing with high-performance computing tasks. It is generally seen as the vehicle of choice for running AI workloads since the demands of AI go beyond what CPUs are capable of achieving.
Driven by the market, the server processor manufacturers develop different types of processors for distinct industry segments, such as DPU, APU, TPU and IPU. We can not deny the fact that technology is evolving, the market for server processors will grow faster than ever before.
#4: Server Cooling Technologies Gradually Mature
As is known to all, it consumes a large amount of power and energy to run a data center. Higher-density data centers require much higher power density per rack and will cause overheating. It becomes a key issue to address the overloading issues of network servers and achieve a greener IT environment.
Server virtualization is one effective way to maximize resources and lower the need for energy consumption and air conditioning deployment. Besides, the improvement in server cooling technology makes sense. Traditional free cooling has occupied the data center cooling market for years because it saves costs and energy. However, the growing power brought by growing processing-intensive computing applications means increasing heat. To cool data center servers more effectively, many collocation providers or enterprise data center operators have taken action to explore new cooling technologies. For instance, Microsoft installed a new liquid immersion cooling infrastructure at a data center. More and more operators are investigating liquid cooling technology to keep data centers safe, efficient and energy-saving.
#5: More Compact and Scalable Server Types
Network servers typically come in three types: tower server, rackmount server, and blade servers. Rack servers and blade servers are generally seen in data centers and collocation facilities. As for rack servers, 2U (and up) servers are often opted for because the taller chassis allows for better airflow and improved cooling.
Overall, there is a strong demand for servers across the globe, and shipment of each type of server maintains steady growth. Nevertheless, the trend of edge computing requires different server technology from the traditional server groups, emphasizing more on scalability and compact design. Server vendors such as Intel and Dell introduce more simplified, high-efficient, and high-performance server hardware. Modular blade servers are designed to balance scalability, flexibility and density for the needs of high-density environments, especially edge applications. The trend of a more compact and scalable server design maximizes the existing space in distributed computing environments and also saves data center space for future development. Meanwhile, by deploying more compact servers, the power consumption in the data center can be reduced, which helps to build a more environmentally friendly data center.
#6: Stringent Security Requirement
The security of servers is gradually becoming the focus of users. Especially when cloud-based distributed data centers are introduced, sensitive business data stored in a private cloud may be accidentally exposed to the internet. As today's computing environment spans from public cloud to enterprise data centers, and from IoT sensors to edge devices, it becomes more complex to monitor and protect data than ever before. Keeping network servers secure helps to defend data centers from malicious attacks. Servers must meet both security requirements: high physical security to resist harsh environmental conditions and cyber security to block hacker attacks. Datacenter operators need to examine the server specifications and functions as well as apply a combination of basic and advanced security methods in server software and operating system to minimize server security issues and boost overall system security. In this case, a secure network environment, from the core cloud to the edge, can be ensured.