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Many IT industry people believe that the incorporation of cloud computing services and systems is the single most impactful trend in data center construction and management, and all the indicators certainly point in that direction.

In sanctioning this, market researcher Gartner is venturing further, declaring that there are no fewer than four important forces now directly influencing the building and/or refurbishing of data centers as many enterprises begin to move into a new phase of IT.

Gartner said in a report published March 15 that primary factors impacting data centers "in a significant way" during the next five years include not only the potential of cloud computing systems but smarter physical designs, emphasis on power saving and other environmental factors, and the realities of impending Big Data workloads on IT systems.

Implicit in that list is the continuing trend toward convergence in data center hardware, in which more functionality is contained in smaller containers. Server, storage, and networking functionality now can be obtained in a single appliance, for example, from several vendors.

"In the world of IT, everything has cascading effects, and in data centers the traditional methods of design no longer work without understanding the outside forces that will have an impact on data center costs, size and longevity," Gartner Managing Vice President and Chief of Research for Infrastructure David Cappuccio said.

"However, these very forces can actually work in your favor, providing the means to apply innovative designs, reduce capital costs and operating costs, increase long term scale, and keep up with the business."

For more, read the eWEEK article: Data Center Designs a Major Factor in New IT: Gartner.