There is a strong case for virtualizing the power control plane now, using Software Defined Power (SDP) solutions that follow the same model used successfully on servers, storage, and network. The result: Improved efficiencies, reduced costs and better support for high-density workloads in compact, distributed computing environments.

According to Data Center Knowledge’s recent article on Power and Cooling Trends to Watch in 2019, direct liquid cooling and lithium-ion batteries are among the big technological trends cheered on by vendors in the space. While these are surely worthwhile trends to track, we need to think bigger and look farther out on the technology horizon to truly transform data centers of the future.

For starters, I wholeheartedly agree with Peter Panfil, VP, global power at Vertiv, and Hervé Tardy, VP and GM of distributed power infrastructure at Eaton, when they extol the merits of lithium-ion batteries in the UPS market. Lithium-ion batteries are smaller, lighter and last longer as they say, which is why they are ideally suited for more than just serving as battery backup. It was Virtual Power Systems in partnership with CUI that introduced ICE Block, the industry’s first and most advanced use of Lithium-ion technology as part of a comprehensive SDP platform.

At VPS, we envision an even bigger role for lithium-ion technology because it can be combined with Software Defined Power to fuel dynamic power, source sharing of power as well as power sharing across nodes in a data center environment. This approach sets the stage for dynamic power on demand in keeping pace with workload requirements. Additionally, this capability can be integrated into workload orchestration systems to help protect, manage and move distributed workloads, as needed.

Managing distributed workloads also will continue to motivate data center architects, operators and power OEMs to elevate the use of automation, software intelligence, and machine learning. As Eaton’s Tardy explains in the “trends watch” article, automation is becoming the norm, especially since power problems are relatively easy to model and anticipate with the right tools.

With SDP’s abstracted control plane, actions across disparate power systems can be coordinated based on real-time views of power usage patterns from rack-outlet to rack-to-row to data center level. Using machine learning and big data analytics, power peaks and overall usage can be predicted with high levels of accuracy to ensure power availability during capacity surges. Furthermore, the ability to share power control plane visibility through APIs that integrate seamlessly with other power, cooling, network, security, IT workload orchestration and Data center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) systems is the holy grail of hyper-converged infrastructure optimization.

Data centers of the future will leverage the top technological trends, including lithium-ion batteries, liquid power cooling—AND Software Defined Power—to support power density well beyond 10kW per rack. As we’ve said all along, SDP is the last and final pillar of Software-Defined Data Centers as the ability to support compute, storage, network—and now power—will drive the development of the most advanced and efficient data centers in the world.

I predict that 2019 will be the year that SDP earns its rightful place at the top of the trends watch. What do you think? Drop me a line at steve@virtualpowersystems.com to start a conversation.