2018 Predictions for the Data Center Industry

Wow. Where did the year go? For those of you just emerging from a tryptophan coma, let me bring you up to speed.

2017 was a bit of a rough year. A lot of people feel that the Russians hacked the election. Now the two sides are fighting over who the Russians actually helped, which I think means that the Russians did a good job to piss everybody off and create even more tension in our powder keg of a republic.

The President chose to electronically disregard the old saying, “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt”; a few million folks decided to follow his lead. The list of words that you can no longer say continues to grow while the places you can say something that doesn’t “offend” someone continues to shrink.

Things aren’t much better from an international perspective. As his people continue to starve, Kim Jong Un is threatening to nuke the west coast. In effort to incite a popular revolution to counter this bellicosity we are contemplating carpet bombing the country with boxed lunches.

And finally, more than a few major Hollywood and political figures have been found to have a problem, as your mother might say, with keeping their hands to themselves. Rumors that Santa has said, “The hell with it”, for 2018 remain unconfirmed.

Since you’re probably saying to yourself, “I woke up for this?”, let me say that the bar for a better 2018 is set a little low, so suck it up and let’s take a peek at my list of what we can expect from the data center cloud industry over the next 12 months.

Top 10 Predictions

1) The big cloud providers (and you know who they are) will get bigger. It’s always good to ease into these things.

2) Commercial AI devices will enter the data center. “Alexa, take PDU 2 off-line.”

3) The rush to the edge will have a dramatic impact on hyperconverged provider revenues.

4) The edge marketplace will become a battle of economic models: those that collocate with cell towers versus those that don’t.

5) At least one wireless equipment manufacturer will announce a 5G compatible product.

6) DCIM vendors will create a new acronym to categorize their products…at this stage what can it hurt?

7) The mid-market data center providers will continue to get gobbled up (look for another sizeable “DFT-like” acquisition this year).

8) The president will give up tweeting saying that “At 280 characters you could say something that really hurts someone’s feelings”. Twitter’s stock price drops like a rock.

9) The state of Virginia will pass a “universal adjective law” under which all new Northern Virginia data center projects will be referred to as “massive”. Supporters of “humongous” will blame the decision on Russian interference.

10) Data center publications will continue to publish articles speculating on the future demise of enterprise data centers in relation to the cloud when there is nothing else to talk about.

So, there you have it folks, all the things we have to look forward to in the data center business in 2018. As to what will happen to everything outside the data center spectrum, that’s anybody’s guess. If 2017 has taught us anything, we’ve long passed the point where we can dismiss any prediction as too outrageous.