There are now organizations where inferring intelligence from massive amounts of data is part of the core business. These companies have led the way into the data center renaissance. Known as hyperscalers, these companies have re-defined both the architecture of data centers and their place in society. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent are hyperscalers.
They have each advanced the state of data center design and information processing in their own way. Google built its Tensor Processing Unit, or TPU, to provide the right architecture to run AI algorithms. Amazon built AWS Trainium for the same reason. In fact, virtually all the hyperscalers are building custom chips to power their data centers.
The way data centers are configured is also changing. Key elements such as memory, storage, processing power, and network bandwidth are now pooled. These resources can then be combined and deployed based on the needs of a particular workload as opposed to configuring the right mix of those resources in a server. As the workloads change, the architecture of the data center changes. This approach is known as a composable data center.
The business model for data centers has also changed. While on premises, private facilities are still quite prevalent, the extreme cost of building and operating next-generation facilities can be prohibitive. As a result, those who can build them do, and they also sell capacity to those who can’t. This was the birth of cloud computing. This process is similar to what happened for chip fabrication. Many companies owned and operated wafer fabs, until the cost got prohibitive, and the technology became very complex. At that point, a few key players emerged who provided wafer fab capability to whoever needed it.