Hyperscale data centers are rapidly becoming the norm. According to the technology giant Cisco, cloud data center traffic will account for 95 percent of all data center traffic by 2021. The obvious impact of this is that hyperscale data centers of cloud providers like Amazon, Google, Microsoft and others will dominate the market. Here’s a brief overview of the scale and scope of the coming changes.
A Closer Look at Hyperscale
What is a Hyperscale Data Center?
Even though definitions might differ from business to business, large data centers that support public cloud computing or enterprises are generally designated as hyperscale. For example, the Range International Information Group has built the world's largest 6.3 million square feet data facility in China. The US-Norwegian company Kolos is in the process of building a massive 6.4 million square feet data facility in a small Norwegian village. When finished, it will become the world's largest hyperscale center.
Other notable hyperscale data centers are Switch SuperNAP in Las Vegas (3.5 million square feet), DuPont Fabros Technology in Washington, D.C. (1.6 million square feet), Utah Data Center (1.5 million square feet) as well as the Lakeside Technology Center in Chicago (1.1 million square feet). From 2018 to 2021, the number of hyperscale centers is expected to rise from 448 to 628.
Reasons for the Hyperscale Explosion
Businesses are moving away from traditional data centers and using the capabilities of hyperscale facilities to gain cost and efficiency advantage. Many factors are contributing to this change. Both small businesses and enterprises are realizing they have more flexibility when they distribute their workloads across hyperscale data centers.
Also, due to today’s geodiversity needs of digital businesses, companies have to distribute their data across the globe while adhering to rules and regulations like GDPR or HIPAA. And, the proliferation of IoT technology is giving rise to edge computing needs. The cloud can decrease the legal risks while improving network latency for businesses. Some organizations are opting out of building their own data centers and relying more on cloud providers who are creating massive data facilities across the globe.
Differences from Traditional Data Center
According to a prediction published on the Gartner Blog Network, 80 percent of enterprises will get rid of their traditional data centers by 2025. But before you make any moves, it’s helpful to understand how hyperscale differs from traditional facilities.
Hardware: Traditional data centers use generic servers from reputable vendors, but hyperscale data centers are gearing up their facilities with customized hardware. As a result, hyperscale facilities are getting more performance out of their servers in some cases.
Radical Approach to Cooling: Traditional data centers are built near the corporate headquarters and offices for convenience. But hyperscale data centers are getting moved to colder areas of the world. This has significant implications. The surrounding environments are helping these facilities stay cooler at lower costs and the local economies of these areas are seeing a lift.
Power Optimization: Hyperscale data centers are designed with power efficiency in mind. These facilities are using greener technology like solar and wind to improve power consumption.
Emphasis on Application Portability: Hyperscale data centers have more redundancies in place than traditional facilities. Applications are portable across various regions. It ensures that workloads are not at risk like traditional data centers.
Moving Toward Standardization
High demands for flexible workloads are fueling much of this hyperscale growth. However, rapid growth also means service providers are facing various challenge. Large hyperscale data center providers have realized that they can benefit from sharing knowledge and coming up with standards. Collaborative community-focused efforts like Open Compute Project (OCP) are helping the providers create better solutions for the future. The next generation of hyperscale innovations will come from collaborative work of these industry leaders.