Four Megatrends Impacting the Data Center

Turn socioeconomic and environmental challenges to your enterprise’s advantage.

Global megatrends are reshaping human societies and will have a profound impact on IT and data centers. CIOs and IT leaders must take steps toward developing data center strategies that consider these trends, or risk business failure.

“Larger global megatrends are a manifestation of a vast number of processes and changes across the world that are fundamentally reshaping human societies,” said Henrique Cecci, research director at Gartner. “They will have a significant impact on data center strategies over the next 10 years.”

As the urban population grows and increasingly centers on a small number of locations, the data center will have to adapt.

Gartner predicts that by 2021, more than 90% of large data centers will revise their strategies due to major global socioeconomic and environmental trends. The top four global megatrends impacting data center strategies include:

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The Gartner 2016 CIO Survey shows that we are now deep in the era of digitalization, requiring CIOs to implement digital platforms ready to respond to future digital demand. This should take into account multiple data center options, such as on-premises, cloud, colocation, hosting and edge computing. These options will deliver compute resources to the business the best way possible and will also include mature bimodal IT capabilities to improve data center agility.

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Demographic and social change

The global economy is facing unprecedented demographic and social changes. Aging populations, declining fertility rates, new skill demands and a global talent shortage are all leading to a talent crisis. CIOs need to develop talent to build a strong digital core, based on a modern and solid data center strategy, while also implementing a long-term plan to acquire necessary knowledge and skills.


Megacities are on the rise. As the urban population grows and increasingly centers on a small number of locations, the data center will have to adapt. These dense urban centers will have a “gravity” to them, attracting data centers to move closer. Gartner refers to this as “megacity gravity.”

Nevertheless, megacity gravity will not influence all data centers in the same manner. Prime locations typically command higher costs, and so although proximity to a megacity seems attractive, it may not always be a good option for every data center. Applications with specific requirements may use micro, edge or small data centers located inside megacities.

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Climate change and resource scarcity

Climate change, combined with population growth and economic development, will continue to place increased stress on essential natural resources, including water, food, raw materials and energy. As the global demand for computational resources continues to grow rapidly, data centers will demand more energy and water to keep temperature and humidity at the necessary levels. CIOs should evaluate and include climate risks and take an integrated and strategic approach to green IT and sustainability.

Gartner clients can learn more in the report “Top Global Megatrends Impacting Data Center Strategies” by Henrique Cecci, et al.

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