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China Data Center Trends and Future Outlook

According to a report by market research firm Technavio, the data center market in China is expected to post exponential growth over the next five years, with a CAGR on capex revenue of around 13 percent between 2016 and 2020.

Much of this growth has come from widespread adoption of data centers by government agencies during the last decade, says the report. In addition, major government investment in data center advances, targeted at stimulating the country’s digital economy, is boosting the adoption of cloud services, big data and IoT.

So what are the top data center trends in China, and how are they poised to shape the country’s digital future?

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM)

Data center operators are constantly searching for ways to utilize floor space, electricity and equipment more efficiently. They are being helped in this quest by the latest generation of DCIM tools, which can monitor and manage the operations of both the facility’s support functions – such as air conditioning and PDUs – and its IT equipment, such as servers and network switches.

These DCIM tools can also provide colocation customers with transparency into their data center’s operations, for a single, holistic point of view into the status of their IT infrastructure. As part of its IT Infrastructure Management capability, China Telecom offers various key DCIM services, including 24/7/365 proactive monitoring, operation management and system optimization.

The Converged Data Center

Rather than managing their storage, CPU and virtualization in separate silos, an increasing number of data center service providers are graduating towards a more converged IT infrastructure which can utilize off-the-shelf appliances, all managed by a single software stack. The objective? To reduce overall operational complexity, while increasing flexibility, scaling and efficiency. According to recent figures by 451 Research, 40 percent of organizations are already using this type of architecture to some degree – a number that is likely to rise as more enterprises abandon traditional stand-alone servers in favor of cloud apps and colocation services.

Improved Content Delivery Networks

CDN site acceleration can be a key differentiator for ISPs that want to offer more responsive web hosting services in China. By serving static assets from the network edge, CDNs are also now improving user experience and reliability for a wide range of industry verticals and technologies, including ecommerce, finance, media/publishing, SaaS and mobile apps. China Telecom’s CDN network includes more than 60 CDN cache nodes in mainland China alone, accelerating the delivery of websites, downloads and streaming data.

Demand for faster, more stable broadband connections will only increase in China as companies look to extend their presence and provide better quality and cybersecurity. The hyperconverged CDN data center is likely to be a core enabler, offering advanced support for on-demand streaming, live broadcasts and adaptive streaming media over HTTP. Further down the line, it’s possible that individual mobile devices, communicating via P2P-style networks, will function as CDN “micro” nodes to ease data center workloads.

Hyperscale Data Center Partnerships 

The huge resource needs of applications such as big data, IoT, social networks and IaaS are leading to growing demand for hyperscale data center architectures. These allow users to seamlessly add on-demand computing resources from any location. Another key driver is the need for customers to continue to receive quality and secure data center infrastructure, facilities and services as they expand internationally.

In order to meet these demands, it’s expected that more data center providers will enter into strategic partnerships to provide international customers with large-scale, carrier-and-cloud neutral, multi-tenant data center products. A prime example of this is the recent co-operation framework agreement struck between China Telecom, Daily-Tech and Global Switch.

Although the U.S. still accounts for 45 percent of the world’s major cloud and internet data centers, China leads the world in internet consumption, with 710 million people online, according to a recent report by CNNIC (China’s Internet Network Information Center). As demand for cloud computing and other data services continues to grow in China, advances in data center technology can be expected to play a key role in both the int­­­egration of these technologies with modern manufacturing, and China’s gradual transition to a service economy.

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