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Powering the new normal: ABB survey finds 53% of data center professionals are considering power system upgrades to meet increased demand

January 27, 2021

New report uncovers impact of 2020 on the data center industry, outlining key challenges and considerations for data center operators in 2021 and beyond.

 

The events of 2020 rapidly accelerated a global, cross-industry digital transformation, underscoring the mission criticality of data centers as the backbone of the world’s virtual economy. In fact, the data center market is expected to grow by nearly 14% in 2021.

 

ABB Power Conversion – a global provider of comprehensive, end-to-end power solutions in mission-critical environments – today issued a new data report, “Data Overload: Powering Data Centers in the New Normal,” that explores the unprecedented demand on data centers in 2020 as well as long-term impacts that will shape data center operations for years to come.

 

Not surprisingly, 96% of data center professionals surveyed** reported that demand on their data center increased in 2020, which could indicate why 53% of those surveyed are likely* to consider power system upgrades to meet increased demand in the future.

 

“The impact of COVID-19 fundamentally accelerated the concept of mission critical. Overnight, businesses became even more reliant on the cloud to enable operations, processes and remote collaboration. This immediate transition would not have been possible without data centers backed by efficient and reliable power systems,” said Jeff Schnitzer, president, ABB Power Conversion. “Power is the ultimate enabler. Not only for rapidly scaling data center operations to meet exponential demand, but for energizing the ongoing digital transformation that’s the beating heart of technology and smart societies of the future. And data center power architectures are core components of this.”

 

Addressing increased demand: top considerations and concerns for data center operators
If there’s one known for the data center industry, it’s that demand will only continue to increase in a market that was already growing exponentially before the pandemic.


However, ABB’s survey found that data center professionals are mixed in terms of how they plan to respond and address demand in the future:

  • More than half (53%) of data center professionals surveyed are likely* to consider power system upgrades.
  • 49% are likely* to consider building new data center space to meet increased demands in the future.
  • A quarter of respondents are unlikely*** to build new space while 49% are likely* to consider maximizing their current space to increase density.
  •  

Regardless of how operators address ever-increasing demand, the continued reliance on the cloud to power businesses, the rise of cloud-based business platforms and the growth of enterprise cloud hyperscalers – above and beyond the impacts of COVID-19 – are resulting in warranted concerns for data center professionals. Among them, it’s not surprising to find that services and maintenance was specified as the leading concern at 34%, followed by power usage (32%) and scalability (30%).

 

In an era where remote business continuity is reliant on data center uptime, managing data center power systems and having the capacity to scale-up the power architecture through system upgrades or greenfield builds are critical factors to meet increased demand. And having a trusted, reliable https://electrification.us.abb.com/services/dc-power-services/dc-power-s... team in place to help manage data center power systems is essential.

 

Powering Data Centers of the Future

Now more than ever, data center operators must reimagine and reprioritize the power architectures at the heart of their facilities as a main factor for scale. According to ABB’s report, more than half (52%) of survey respondents are likely to consider direct current (DC) power architectures as right-fit upgrades to supplement existing power systems if they are upgrading or were to upgrade their data center’s power system.

 

Unlike a centralized alternating current (AC) UPS architecture, a distributed DC power architecture is scalable at the cabinet level, allowing power capacity to be purchased and added, as well as allowing power levels to be adjusted, with each cabinet as needed throughout its life cycle.

 

“A distributed DC power architecture is designed to scale, which is precisely what’s needed in a world where rapid, unexpected spikes in data and customer demand is the new norm,” added Vito Savino, wireline and data center segment leader, ABB Power Conversion. “And having a trusted team in place that knows and understands the nuances and criticality of data center power can help put minds at ease in 2021 and beyond as demand continues to balloon – especially with the rollout of 5G and the interconnectivity it enables.”

 

For more insights on data center demand in 2020 and key areas of opportunity to optimize how data centers are powered, download ABB’s report, “Data Overload: Powering Data Centers in the New Normal.”

 

ABB Power Conversion serves customers in rapidly evolving, mission-critical environments where information, access and response times are redefining their markets. We provide comprehensive, end-to-end solutions and services across the power landscape that deliver the power quality, reliability and efficiency needed to maximize uptime in the most critical applications. Click here to learn more about ABB Power Conversion and the Edge distributed data center power architecture.

 

Survey Methodology
**ABB Power Conversion commissioned independent market research company Censuswide to survey 150 U.S.-based data center professionals excluding those with the job titles ‘'Data Center Windows Amin' and 'Data Center Red Hat Admin' between 05.11.2020 – 12.11.2020 to understand how they adapted their operations in 2020, uncover preferences for future power system modifications to meet ever-increasing demand, as well as identify their top data center power concerns for 2021. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

*Combination of ‘Very likely’ and ‘Somewhat likely’
***Combination of ‘Very unlikely’ and ‘Somewhat unlikely’

 

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ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 110,000 talented employees in over 100 countries. www.abb.com  

Media Contact:
Matt Falso
ABB Power Conversion
+1 518 902-5038
matt.falso@elpc.abb.com
 

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