The Road Ahead: 4 Tech Trends Propelling Digital-first Enterprises

How Private AI, XaaS, Liquid Cooling and Sustainability Will Shape the Future of Business Efficiency and Creativity

Jeremy Deutsch
The Road Ahead: 4 Tech Trends Propelling Digital-first Enterprises

The world is rapidly advancing towards a digital-first future and Equinix has been at the forefront of facilitating the movement of data by providing digital infrastructure in a sustainable manner for the past 25 years. Operating more than 250 data centers around the globe, Equinix recognizes its responsibility to play a leading role in enabling digital transformation and innovative change. With the introduction of new data centers in established and emerging markets, Equinix has been growing from strength to strength around the world.

Digital infrastructure is quickly becoming a cornerstone for businesses to achieve a competitive advantage and succeed in an increasingly important digital economy.  Equinix is leading the way in this transformation as 2024 approaches. In this blog, we will share some innovations and digital trends that will shape the future of data centers and digital services, changing the way we interact and operate, as well as nurturing a sustainable environment.

Embracing Private AI to create efficient and creative outcomes

The landscape of data centers and digital services is poised for both significant advancements and challenges as the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) continues to uptick across enterprises. To fully leverage the potential of AI, enterprises need to strategically acquire data from reliable sources and utilize appropriate models. However, a significant challenge arises when it comes to maximizing the value of AI models while safeguarding sensitive data from potential risks. This has led many enterprises to explore the concept of private AI, which involves creating an AI environment specifically tailored for an organization’s exclusive use. With private AI, enterprises can strike a balance between executing their AI strategy and maintaining custody over their valuable data.

Low-latency data exchange will be more important than ever as applications for AI increase, with bespoke brand algorithms trained using diverse audience signals, historical media performance and personalized content leading to the development of customized algorithms for businesses. The growing enterprise adoption of cloud computing and the focus on edge computing and AI to process and analyze data closer to the source will also require increasingly flexible and hybrid approaches to digital infrastructure.[1]

Data centers themselves will also be beneficiaries of AI development. Efficiency is an important pillar of driving sustainability and with intelligent AI algorithms, Equinix is developing new sets of best practices to regulate data center operating temperatures and efficiency measures to create environmentally friendly data centers. We are confident that the industry will find innovative new ways to improve energy efficiency and reduce operational costs with AI implementation.

XaaS accelerates the implementation of innovative digital services

Balancing the build versus buy approach has helped enterprises manage their costs and ability to innovate through the rise of Everything as a Service (XaaS) where on-demand digital services allow them to plug and play new digital capabilities at software speed that can be scaled up or down according to business needs. By 2026, IDC predicts that 65% of customers will opt to pay for their IT equipment and services through XaaS models, highlighting the growing popularity of this consumption model.[2] Equinix has long been an advocate and champion for XaaS through Platform Equinix® where users can interconnect and adopt digital capabilities and emerging technologies to build a competitive edge.

Equinix is the first digital infrastructure company to offer instant AI infrastructure for NVIDIA LaunchPad, allowing users to implement and test AI without incurring high upfront expenses for IT assets and expertise to run and build systems in-house. While quantum computing has stepped in and out of the spotlight in recent years, Equinix is now lowering the barriers for enterprises to access the enormous problem-solving potential of this technology, allowing for faster innovation cycles by multifold. Since Autumn of 2023, Oxford Quantum Circuits have been installed in Equinix’s TY11 Tokyo International Business Exchange® (IBX®) data center, offering Quantum computing as a Service (QCaaS) to organizations for commercial quantum computing use through Equinix Fabric®. We anticipate a growing need for XaaS to simplify the usage and adoption of new and innovative digital services where enterprises can access a whole suite of digital tools hosted on a rich and diverse digital platform ecosystem.

Liquid cooling to reliably support in-demand business solutions

Keeping pace with the adoption of AI and high-performance computing (HPC) applications, data centers must rethink their approach to cooling systems to enable higher efficiency, greater rack density and improved cooling performance. With liquid cooling, data centers can transfer heat more efficiently than air. In fact, as per Gartner®, “liquid conducts more than 3,000 times as much heat as air and requires less energy to do so, allowing increased data center densities.”[3]

Combining and selecting from a mixture of various cooling techniques such as augmented air cooling, immersion cooling and direct-to-chip liquid cooling will help data center facilities support in-demand business solutions like AI and HPC to be deployed across diverse industries. Equinix has been actively exploring and testing new liquid cooling technologies and has implemented these innovations in our own production servers for Equinix Metal® to great effect.[4]

Embedding sustainability in every aspect of efficiency

Growth of digital footprint should not come at a cost to sustainability, illustrated by the numerous technological and social achievements that reflect our steadfast commitment to climate neutrality by 2030. Equinix’s metropolitan hubs continue to be recognized for their remarkable efforts in driving substantial and quantifiable sustainability achievements. The use of AI to drive energy efficiency, effective temperature controls and alternative renewable energy sources are key milestones that add to our progress towards climate neutrality.

Equinix has partnered with likeminded institutions like the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Centre for Energy Research & Technology (CERT) under the College of Design and Engineering (CDE) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) to advance the country’s national hydrogen strategy that validates the viability of hydrogen as an energy source to power the data centers of tomorrow. In Hong Kong, its data centers are the first in the city to implement AI to optimize temperature ranges within chiller units for peak efficiency, setting new benchmarks for cooling efficiency in the industry. Solar continues to be a priority renewable energy source in Australia and while Equinix continues to deploy new solar arrays, its SY6 Sydney IBX data center has also begun retrofitting pump circulation heaters on power generators to provide a more consistent heating temperature for greater reliability and energy savings.

Driving efficiency continues to be an important metric for both innovation and sustainability in the coming year and with the dawn of 2024, we look forward to supporting our partners in collaborating towards unfolding opportunities and achievements that lie ahead in the new year. Here is to a remarkable 2024, where collaboration and innovation pave the way for a brighter, more sustainable and interconnected world.



[3] Gartner Glossary, Liquid Cooling.


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