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4 data center trends to watch in 2024

With rising demand for data space, companies must plan to expand their data centers in an eco-friendly way. 2024 data center trends have one main focus: sustainability.

Data centers are hubs for company storage and client information, but the environment is ever-changing as the demand for more storage space increases.

With a rise in storage demand, data centers must go through remodeling and rebuilding stages; however, data centers can cause harm to the environment with their excessive use of nonrenewable resources to build the facility and equipment, along with energy consumption.

Data center trends for 2024 are showing similar themes: sustainability and reduction of material waste. With advancements and goals for data center structures to improve their environmental impact and cost, here are four trending topics that take the spotlight: AI, edge computing, hyperscale data centers and energy sustainability.


The soaring popularity of AI tools, like ChatGPT, and cryptocurrencies are projected to increase the energy consumption of data centers. The creation of digital currency and chatbots requires data space to store their capabilities. AI is only in an infant stage with more expansion to come.

Although AI tools are a driving factor for the creation of more data center space, these tools can also pull data of energy, resources and operation uses within centers. Companies like Meta, Microsoft and Nokia are using AI tools to monitor real-time consumption data and reduce the carbon footprints data centers create.

Advancements in AI tools reduce the need for manual work from data center operators. Since AI tools can predict errors and perform management tasks, data center operators have more time to spend on strategic plans for advancements in areas like sustainability and equipment management.

With advancements and goals for data center structures to improve their environmental impact and cost, here are four trending topics that take the spotlight: AI, edge computing, hyperscale data centers and energy sustainability.

Edge computing

Edge computing is becoming more popular as it has faster data speed responses and reduces latency. In addition, the data is closer to the end user or company generating data. The rising popularity of edge computing is also due to less cost for companies as cloud computing prices and subscriptions start to soar. With edge computing, data is processed in real time and does not connect to a cloud server.

Since data is stored closer to the original source of its generation, it has less distance to travel to connect with company servers than it does if it were stored in a data center hundreds of miles away. With shorter travel distances to the network, edge computing pulls less energy than a permanent data center in both transferring data and maintaining the environment.

The foreseeable growth of AI and IoT is evidence for analysts to predict a rise in edge computing through 2030. By 2030, the edge computing market is predicted to reach over $139 billion when its value in 2022 was just under $12 billion, according to Fortune Business Insights.

Hyperscale data centers

Hyperscale data centers are the largest and most efficient data storage facilities used by tech-centric companies, like AWS and Google, that house over 5,000 servers. In addition to an increase in physical space, these facilities also use specialized high-density server racks to maximize server capacity.

To conserve building materials, existing data centers can undergo upgrades to house more power and space. Upgrades to high-power chips, servers and high-density racks maximize storage space and performance and keep the data centers in use for longer. Companies are also recycling older equipment to assist in the production of new technology and servers. These upgrades essentially remodel existing data centers to have higher capacity and continue their use at a more efficient level.

Although hyperscale data centers contain an incredible amount of power, companies that own these facilities use more efficient energy sources and recycling systems than most traditional data centers. Other forms of energy on the horizon to reduce fossil fuel consumption are lithium-ion uninterruptible power supply batteries, nuclear energy and natural gas.

Energy sustainability

To decrease the degree and pace at which global temperatures are rising, the United Nations created a net-zero commitment plan that must be met by 2050. This plan pressures countries around the world to create and follow guidelines to cut out all greenhouse gas emissions by the deadline in an effort to stop the 1.5 degrees Celsius increase in global temperature. This plan encourages the use of solar and wind resources to replace coal, gas and oil.

The 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference also announced the Global Cooling Pledge. The goal of this pledge is for emission rates for cooling to decrease by 68% by 2050. Strategies in place to meet the pledge goal are improving cooling system efficiencies and increasing use of natural refrigerants, like water and air. Building data centers in cold environments can also reduce the need for cooling equipment.

A shift from the linear economy to the circular economy has also started. This is where companies recycle, reuse and refurbish older technology rather than throw the material away. If parts are not useful to one data center, they can be sold to another. This creates a cycle of nonrenewable resources, like metals, to be recycled into new technologies, extending the material's life span with advancements in tech.

Kelly Richardson is associate site editor for TechTarget's Data Center site.

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