How’s Power Design and AI Demand Driving Data Center Transformation in 2024

The data center industry is experiencing a profound transformation, driven by the surging demand for computing power and infrastructure to support AI development. This expansion is changing market dynamics and design specifications, affecting all industries and types of data centers. Key trends include the expansion of data center numbers and the construction of new facilities, driven by AI requirements and high-power-density server clusters.

As AI applications proliferate, data centers adjust to meet the increasing rack load demands. These are not only passing fads; they also represent a profound shift in how businesses use data, with ramifications for the planning, building, and maintenance of data centers.

Let's examine a few significant developments and insights in this detailed blog.

Data Center Infrastructure Trends: Upcoming Developments in 2024

As we look ahead to 2024, data center infrastructure trends indicate a continued surge in computing power demand, a rapid expansion in the number of data centers, and a rise in infrastructure driven by AI. Let’s have a detailed look at those:

1. Surge in Demand for Computing Power

There is a significant surge in computing power demand fueled by the rapid growth of AI applications. Data center operators are adapting their infrastructure to accommodate high-power-density server clusters required for AI workloads. This shift is driven by major companies like Meta, Google, and Amazon, as well as AI-focused firms seeking extensive power availability from a single location.

2. Expansion in the Number of Data Centers

There's been a significant surge in new data center construction, with the average number of new data centers per respondent expected to increase sixfold over the next three years, indicating strong growth in new data center spaces.

Source: AFCOM 2024 State of the Data Center Report

Also, 42% of respondents prefer a hybrid approach to data center construction, combining traditional and prefabricated modular facilities. 78% of respondents will likely explore prefabricated power modules in new data center builds.

3. Rise of Infrastructure Driven by AI

AI is greatly impacting the design and architecture of data centers, as these facilities are changing to meet the increased rack load needs of AI applications. The necessity for infrastructure designed for new processors and software frameworks intended for generative AI and other cutting-edge technologies is driving this shift.

4. Focus on Colocation Services for High Density

Specialized high-density colocation services increasingly demand new processors and software frameworks designed for advanced technologies like generative AI. This trend underscores the criticality of efficient and sustainable architecture in shaping future data center construction.

5. Implementing Liquid Cooling

To meet changing cooling needs, businesses are turning to liquid cooling solutions; 32% of them want to do so in the next 12 to 24 months. This trend highlights how quickly the industry is adjusting to market needs and technological advancements, highlighting the significance of efficient and sustainable design for data center building in the future.

6. Edge Computing and Cloud Repatriation

Concerns about rising costs and a better understanding of which workloads are more appropriate for on-premises or cloud environments have led to a discernible trend of cloud workload migration back to on-premise infrastructure. This pattern shows how some workloads split up among various infrastructure settings are becoming more sophisticated.

Source: AFCOM 2024 State of the Data Center Report

Data center leaders are increasingly focusing on edge data center solutions due to the growing demand for AI, LLM, and generative AI workloads, driving the adoption of GPU and high-density computing hardware. A significant trend is the implementation of on-premises cloud services, edge computing, and OCP platforms, with 49% of businesses planning to deploy OCP within the next 12 months.

7. Focus on Security and Infrastructure Threats

The highest priority is ensuring the data center infrastructure is secure and resilient against physical and cyber-attacks. The emergence of new threats against physical infrastructure and the rising cost of outages highlight the need to invest in resilience and training to reduce risks.

8. Budget and Personnel Trends

The data center industry is experiencing shifts in budget allocation and personnel requirements. Rising energy costs, equipment service costs, and personnel expenses largely drove increased operational expenditures in 2023. Capital expenditures have also increased, with investments focused on existing infrastructure and the expansion of new facilities. Despite these increases, supply chain challenges have led to equipment outages for a few businesses.

In a Nutshell

To satisfy the increasing demands of AI and high-density computing, the data center sector is experiencing a tremendous transition due to bolstering AI demands and power design requirements. Amidst these changes, Black Box plays a crucial role in providing innovative data center services and solutions, ensuring efficient and effective operations for businesses adapting to this evolving landscape.

Black Box's Data Center of Excellence (DCoE) is the culmination of decades of experience in technology solutions, reflecting our dedicated commitment to innovation and delivering unparalleled services to our clients. From cutting-edge networking solutions to AI-driven optimizations, the DCoE is equipped to tackle the most complex challenges facing modern data centers.

We recognize that the success of data centers hinges on agility, scalability, and reliability. The DCoE embodies these principles, offering comprehensive services tailored to support organizations' growth and success. As the data center sector undergoes a significant transformation driven by the escalating demands of AI and high-density computing, Black Box stands at the forefront, providing innovative solutions to ensure the efficient and effective operation of businesses adapting to this evolving landscape.

Leading the way in the data center industry's revolution, Black Box Data Center is developing cutting-edge solutions to satisfy the growing demands of artificial intelligence and high-density computing.

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Scott Davis
Vice President of Sales - Global Solution Business

Consulting & Design Data Center GSI Managed Services
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