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It’s Time to Believe the Micro Data Center Hype

Martin T. Olsen •

The Gartner® Hype Cycle™ is a graphical depiction of a common pattern that arises with each new technology or innovation. And each year, Gartner creates more than 90 Hype Cycles as a way for clients to track technology maturity and future potential through five phases: Technology Trigger, Peak of Inflated Expectations, Trough of Disillusionment, Slope of Enlightenment, and Plateau of Productivity.

This year, Vertiv was mentioned in two Gartner® Hype Cycle™ reports — 2022 Gartner Hype Cycle for Edge Computing and 2022 Gartner Hype Cycle for Midsize Enterprises — as a Sample Vendor for micro data center solutions.

On the subject of micro data centers, the reports said, “creating micro data centers is something companies have done for years but often in an ad hoc manner. By partnering with vendors and creating a consistent and standardized architecture, enterprises can regain control of these critical assets and increase the ability to rapidly introduce site-specific services, while reducing risks and operational costs and improving service levels.”

With the proliferation of more edge data center deployments to support the growing need for reduced latency and instantaneous computing, Vertiv’s experts predicted the increased demand for edge computing micro data centers, modular data centers, and other integrated solutions in their most recent list of trends to watch in 2022.

In this blog, I examine micro data centers, the rise in micro data center use cases, and how Vertiv’s micro data center solutions offer efficient, cost-effective, and reliable data center infrastructure solutions that help organizations put computing closer to the people and devices using it.

What is a micro data center?

Micro data centers are solutions that incorporate all the essential components found in a typical data center in a scaled down deployment. Components are enclosed within one standard IT rack with room to house sensitive IT equipment, servers, and rack accessories. A typical micro data center supports critical loads of no more than 100-150 kilowatts (kW). The benefit of a Vertiv micro data center solution is that it comes pre-integrated in the factory and is tested to work together seamlessly to meet organizational requirements.

Micro data centers offer the convenience of a rinse-and-repeat data center design that can be rapidly deployed on a site, sometimes in just a few hours and often without outside contractor support. As edge computing applications continue to evolve and be deployed in unconventional and sometimes harsh locations, micro data centers can deliver flexibility, security, and reliability with much less square footage.

What’s driving the hype for this kind of data center infrastructure?

After the pandemic disrupted data center construction plans for nearly two years, organizations were determined to make 2022 a bounce forward year for new projects. This push for more data center capacity is also driven by the unprecedented ramp-up in digital transformation initiatives to support our post-pandemic societal shifts, from remote work to automated supply chains to telehealth. While speed and growth have been the name of the game all year, organizations have been forced to navigate global shortages of raw materials and a drought of on-site builders and engineers to construct these new data centers and get them up and running. To maintain deadlines and budgets, data center builders are opting for a more standardized approach in the form of micro data centers and other integrated solutions. These integrated systems enable modular capacity additions, which allows owners to deploy data center infrastructure without having to choose between speed and quality.

By 2025, the global market for micro mobile data centers alone will be worth $6.5 billion, up from $3 billion in 2020, according to a forecast by MarketsandMarkets. The global market for modular data centers is expected to reach $47.4 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 17.9% over the analysis period. According to Vertiv’s own What’s Your Edge survey, significant evidence points towards more adoption of micro data centers and other integrated solutions, with 40% of participants saying they were using or planning to use integrated rack solutions or micro data centers.

How can Vertiv address the demand for micro data center solutions?

Vertiv offers a broad portfolio of micro data center solutions for supporting new edge applications and bringing computing closer to customers, such as the Vertiv™ VRC-S. This edge-ready micro data center system offers a self-contained rack solution with an integrated rack power distribution unit (rPDU), self-contained rack cooling unit with up to 3.5 kW of cooling capacity, and monitoring software. The Vertiv™ VRC-S comes in eight pre-built standard sizes with two voltage options, making it capable of accommodating a variety of UPS configurations.

For micro data centers, the hype is very real, and the continued rise in adoption rates appears all but inevitable. Therefore, the logical next step is for organizations to partner with solutions providers like Vertiv to integrate a broader range of systems for more interoperability.

Curious to learn how Vertiv can help your organization benefit from the speed, flexibility, and seamless integration of a micro data center? Contact us today.

Hype Cycle for Edge Computing, 2022 Published 12 July 2022.

Hype Cycle for Midsize Enterprises, 2022 Published 11 July 2022.

GARTNER and Hype Cycle are registered trademarks and service marks of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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