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Gone are the days of data centers that house little more than a few servers. Today’s data centers serve a variety of functions, incorporating hybrid-cloud deployments and the latest edge computing techniques. As more and more organizations implement the use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices in their network architecture, data centers are scrambling to keep up with the latest trends in the technology sector.

The number of IoT devices is expected to exceed 20 billion by 2020, and all of them will be generating data of some kind. Even if these devices process data locally via edge computing, there will still be some information that needs to be sent back to a central server for storage or analytics processing. Data centers will therefore continue to play an important role in the network architecture that makes IoT possible, but their form and function may change depending upon the specific needs of their clients.

How Much Data?

So exactly how much data do experts expect IoT devices to generate? Industry estimates vary, but Cisco anticipates that the number will exceed 800 zettabytes per year by the end of 2021 and will grow exponentially, not linearly, in the years beyond. If that doesn’t sound imposing enough, consider that a single zettabyte is equal to approximately one trillion gigabytes.

Much of the data generated by IoT devices can be considered unstructured and must be mined by powerful analytics tools to produce valuable business insights. Data centers will play a key role in this process. While IoT devices are effective at processing information quickly to make immediate decisions, they lack the power and scope to make meaningful use of every byte of data they gather. Companies will need to leverage data centers for both storage and the kind of big data analysis they require for making strategic decisions.

How Many Data Centers?

With IoT devices generating so much information, data center infrastructure has been growing fast to keep pace with demand. One industry analyst projected that 400 million new servers will be needed by 2020 to support the demands of IoT which are expected to consume a staggering 20% of the world’s power by 2025.

Fortunately, organizations are taking steps to satisfy these massive storage needs. The US was already a world leader in data center usage, with almost three million data centers, or about one for every 100 citizens. It’s also home to 44% of the world’s 390+ “hyper-scale” data centers, the most famous of which, the NSA’s Utah Data Center (code-named “Bumblehive”), is said to have the capacity to gather and store a yottabyte (1000 zettabytes) – WOW!

With edge computing becoming more common, large data centers are not the only solution to data storage needs. Smaller, modular data centers that can be located closer to end users are being deployed in a number of ways and with each comes the opportunity to identify resource allocation within to maximize for the future.

Correlata’s CorreAssess Platform offers the world’s only horizonal and vertical glimpse into better and more efficient data center planning as you look to 2020. Better predictability contributes to better reliability and having access to a data center’s usage needs in real-time, increases the overall value.

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