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One of the biggest challenges of 2023 has been the race against time for data centers to align with the industry’s sustainability goals. This urgency is driven by the increasing demand for digital infrastructure and the fact that cities are running out of power resources, putting data centers at risk of reaching their limits. Sustainable design is no longer just a trend in the industry; it’s a necessity for survival. Looking ahead to 2024, we anticipate a focus on innovation, sustainability and efficiency in the data center industry. At Novva Data Centers, we pride ourselves on keeping a pulse on these transformative data center trends as we bring our 2024 expansion plans to life. 

Here are some key data center industry trends we expect to see in 2024.

Data Center Sustainability Trends

The sustainability journey continues to gain momentum in 2024, with an increasing number of businesses making net-zero commitments. A survey by Gartner, Inc reveals that 87% of business leaders plan to escalate their investments in sustainability efforts over the next two years. Sustainability is no longer an afterthought but a critical component of strategic business planning. One particular aspect gaining traction is the efficient cooling of data centers, which in its current state is responsible for around 40% of overall energy consumption. Expect the industry to explore innovative solutions like water-free cooling to align with environmental goals and enhance operational efficiency.

Artificial Intelligence’s Role in Shaping Data Center Trends 

When it comes to data center trends and predictions, AI is more than a passing fad; it’s revolutionizing how data centers work. Automation powered by AI is making operations more efficient, from upgrading servers to monitoring security. But this transformation comes with its own set of difficulties. The higher energy requirements of AI applications and the shortage of skilled workers in the industry are major obstacles. To handle the increasing workload of AI, data centers must prioritize finding qualified professionals. In 2024, the industry will be focused on finding solutions to overcome these challenges and continue to embrace AI. 

The industry is also embracing technological advancements such as augmented reality training and the use of drones and robotics for facility monitoring to improve efficiency and security. These innovations contribute to a more resilient and responsive data center ecosystem when shared across the industry.

The Race to Meet Demand 

The insatiable demand for data continues to drive the industry, with a projected growth rate of 7.5% over the next decade. Coupled with supply chain challenges, the race is on to build new facilities quickly. The deployment speed will dictate business strategies, leading to increased adoption of edge computing, modular centers, and other innovative solutions. 

However, this fast growth faces a significant challenge in the form of limited power availability, similar to what we have seen in tech hubs like San Francisco and Northern Virginia. Upgrading the power grid has become an urgent priority as the U.S. economy undergoes a digital transformation and adopts electric vehicles. The data center industry’s expansion is at risk due to delays in power delivery from local utilities, especially in important markets.