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AI, energy and other data center trends for 2024

Written by Corporate
Published 20/05/2024 às 16:10

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AI, energy and other data center trends for 2024
Photo: https://www.datacenterdynamics.com/br/an%C3%A1lises/dia-internacional-do-data-center-jornada-historica-e-perspectivas-futuras/

The advancement of artificial intelligence and the need for renewable energy shape the future of data centers

We are experiencing a fierce race to introduce new technological solutions into society, driven by several factors such as the advancement of science, the growing demand for innovation and the need to respond to global challenges, such as climate change and social inequality.

It's easy to say that 2023 was the year of artificial intelligence (AI), especially generative AI. Adjusting to its demands and exploiting its potential will be big tasks for the data center industry in 2024, along with addressing issues related to energy shortages.

Enterprises continue to embrace cloud computing, recalibrate implementations, and engage in digital transformation. However, the main driver of demand for data centers in the coming years will be the IA. Projections indicate that for every new standard data center, there will be three additional AI data centers, facing challenges such as higher server densities.

Impact of AI on the Data Center Industry

AI won't just impact demand for data centers. AI-powered tools will provide greater intelligence for utility power control, backup and cooling, as well as operational optimization, data center design and construction, maintenance, robotics and more.

However, the need for greater capacity is urgent. There are not many custom-built data center properties available. In 2024, we will see more custom builds across all sectors, not just for internet giants. Modular data center infrastructure is a viable answer, with current economics supporting the efficiencies of modularity and placing an emphasis on assured future deliveries.

Sustainability and renewable energy

How to power these new data centers and meet carbon neutrality goals? Getting approval for a license requires sourcing renewable energy and understanding that the backup system could turn it into a power generating plant. Not all jurisdictions are comfortable with this idea, but this year we will see the industry turn it into a positive.

Large battery storage systems powered by renewable energy can benefit the regional grid and local people. The idea is that, in addition to using excess capacity stored during periods of excessive demand, operators can collaborate with utilities and sell energy during periods of high demand.

Emerging trends: green diesel, liquid cooling and quantum computing

It is worth highlighting three other emerging trends: alternatives to diesel, liquid cooling options and quantum computing.

Green diesel and hydrogen: Reduced hydropower and slower-than-expected wind and solar deployments led to energy instability last year. Diesel is the quick answer for data center operators in such circumstances, but this goes against sustainability commitments. Green (renewable) diesel and green hydrogen are options. Limited raw material availability for the former and an energy-intensive life cycle for the latter make them suboptimal currently, but this could change.

Liquid Cooling: Constant AI load heats up servers, driving the evolution from air to liquid cooling, which becomes an answer for AI clusters exceeding 20 kW/rack. Liquid cooling has not yet reached its “productivity plateau”, but it is essential to work it into new designs, although modernization is complicated and risky. In 2024, we will see more experimentation and testing.

Quantum computing: Will this be the year that quantum computing moves out of the laboratory and into a typical data center? Probably not. However, it is not too early to think about protecting your infrastructure against quantum computers capable of compromising existing cybersecurity. In 2024, we will hear more about integrating secure elements into servers and software using quantum-resistant algorithms.

The advancement of AI has greatly impacted the information technology (IT) ecosystem. With the coincidental arrival of regulatory fears and setbacks, we are in a “hangover” period. Anticipating sharp growth, the industry faces economic, supply chain and energy-related opportunities and challenges.

Leveraging the extensive capabilities technology offers is a sure way to gain clarity in the face of the AI ​​tsunami, data center shortages, power grid challenges, and more.

Davi Lopes is director of Distribution, Inside Sales and Digital Transformation at Schneider Electric

Source: Gustavo Fritz.

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