This analyst opinion discusses Omdia’s main takeaways from the DCD New York 2023 conference.

Omdia view


The outlook on the global economy is promising for 2023. However, economic conditions remain challenging. The global data center landscape is changing to meet increasing compute requirements and power demands. The adoption of innovative approaches to fulfill power, cooling, automation, and operations requirements while meeting sustainability goals can be a game-changer for the data center industry. This analyst note discusses Omdia’s main takeaways from the DCD New York 2023 conference, held in New York in March 2023, with about 1,500 industry professionals in attendance.

Data center landscape is evolving rapidly

With the growth of compute-intensive and data-intensive workloads, server configurations keep adapting, with more components being placed in each server. This drives up rack power densities. Therefore, more innovation for energy, thermal management, and sustainability practices is needed for data centers.

The key drivers for data center growth are the digitalization of physical tasks and the increased need to store, process and share data. Omdia is witnessing revenue growth across all aspects of the data center industry, including IT equipment, physical infrastructure, and the construction of new data centers.

Sustainability sets the agenda

As expected, the sustainability topic was present, directly or indirectly, in most discussions, and solutions were presented for data centers. Most speakers and attendees agree that regarding sustainability, we must add transparency to show a connection between intentions and actions. Approaches for being more sustainable include: reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (scopes 1, 2, and 3), using more renewable energy resources (e.g., hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass), lowering water and energy consumption, liquid cooling approaches, moving toward more data-driven intelligent operations, and considering embodied carbon and lifecycle assessment to meet the desired sustainability goals.

Liquid cooling is a hot topic

Liquid cooling technologies will remain the main disruptors of the data center thermal management market. I participated as a speaker at the debate panel: ‘Are we at the tipping point for liquid cooling adoption – is 2023 the year?’ along with Stephanie Schmidt (Intel Corp), Paul Artman (AMD), Herb Villa (Rittal North America), and Bronson Ferri (Bloomberg LP), and it was moderated by Dan Loosemore from DCD. With a full room of attendees, we discussed liquid cooling approaches for data centers, direct-to-chip, and immersion and how the future of data center thermal management systems will likely take shape, including drivers and challenges. Liquid cooling was highlighted as the way to improve the power-to-cooling ratio while reducing energy and water consumption. It was also discussed as a way to improve heat reuse, which remains a challenge. Based on surveys conducted by Omdia, most users favor a mix of liquid cooling technologies (direct-to-chip and immersion) with no clear winner yet. I consider that liquid cooling may have reached or will soon be reaching a tipping point based on specific applications, but not for the broader data center market yet.

It’s worth mentioning that a few days before the event, LiquidStack–a player in immersion cooling for data centers–announced an investment from Trane Technologies. The investment will further support the adoption of liquid cooling solutions, contributing to a ramp-up of manufacturing, R&D, and go-to-market strategy.

Multiple companies displayed data center thermal management solutions, including (in alphabetical order) Airedale by Modine, Excool, Green Revolution Cooling, JetCool, LiquidStack, Midas Technology, Munters, Rittal, Schneider Electric, Stulz, Trane, and Vertiv. Omdia forecasts that a combination of air-cooled and liquid-cooled systems will become commonplace in data centers in the near future.

Toward more intelligent operations

Automation and intelligent monitoring capabilities enable the next generation of smart and connected equipment. The use of digital twins, advanced analytics, and AI was highlighted as the way to advance management toward more intelligent operations. Multiple companies displayed monitoring and analytics tools, including (in alphabetical order) Cadence, EkkoSense, FNT software, Modius, Schneider Electric, and Sunbird.

Bottom line

What Omdia learned at the conference is much aligned with our research. Substantial innovation is happening within the data center industry, transforming how facilities are designed, built, and managed, thereby opening opportunities for improvement, including more efficient and sustainable mission-critical facilities.


Further reading

Market Landscape: Battery Energy Storage Systems (March 2023)

Data center standards pave the way for further innovation” (February 2023)

The battery market is ramping up – and China is leading the race” (October 2022)

High power rating UPS open new possibilities for data centers” (October 2022)

Finding the low hanging fruit through data center operational maturity levels” (September 2022)

2022 Trends to Watch: Data Center Physical Infrastructure (December 2021)

Smart grid ready UPS for an even more sustainable data center” (August 2021)

Data center risk assessment: A decision-making tool” (July 2021)

Data centers: Energy consumption is all about workloads” (June 2021)


Moises Levy, PhD, Senior Principal Analyst, Data Center Power and Cooling, Cloud and Data Center Research Practice