With reduced datacenter spending worldwide, it is surprising to note that the Indian spending on the same is actually increasing. Gaurav Sharma, Research Manager, Enterprise Computing at IDC speaks about the scenario of this not-so-dead technology in Indian enterprise IT and what 2016 will bring upon its fate.As 2016 dawns upon us, what does the new-year hold for datacenters and how will the future be defined?The year 2016 would necessarily witness a transition wherein existing datacenters are expected to spend more on efficiency, DCIM and automation solutions. For CIOs, hybrid datacenters, software defined environments and hosted managed services would also be of interest at they look forward to scale and build new infrastructure.Investment in analytics to analyze large data sets and then drive proactive decisions in management and maintenance of resources would also be gaining traction. The future investments will shift gears in creating third platform based systems rather than only managing the existing ones. Smart IT enabled datacenters that use advanced and integrated solutions to monitor, control, and optimize facility and IT operations would also gain pace as India looks forward to contribute more in this space globally.\u00a0Investment in analytics to analyze large data sets and then drive proactive decisions in management and maintenance of resources would also be gaining traction.What do you think will be the biggest challenge in terms of datacenters for organizations in 2016?Datacenter challenges would typically comprise of skill sets, migration paths, space and power crunch, architectural challenge, performance opposed to security, and riding costs. As infrastructure becomes complex and a combination of legacy, private and public cloud, skill sets to manage and operate this combination would become even harder to acquire. While, most of the software defined environments by different vendors promise the simplicity in managing the infrastructure as one of the outcomes, the migration paths to attaining these are expected to be equally complex.Moving forward, space and power would take a front seat in designs as in the next few years as 25 percent of all large and mid-sized businesses will confront significant power and cooling facilities mismatches with new IT systems, limiting them to using less than 75 percent of their physical datacenter space. We may see the realignment of existing DC architectures to suit third platform based needs for reliable and dynamic delivery of transactions, content and analytics, which may turn into another challenge that can limit the seamless integration of legacy and futuristic technologies.In addition, with the rapid proliferation of mobility and cloud, the \u2018performance vs security\u2019 debate might challenge and affect the scalability of existing datacenters either ways. On an end note, the rising costs and competition would act as a challenge for everyone but consistent usage of automation and efficiency techniques would act as a differentiator for some.How will cloud influence the decisions that organizations make, keeping their datacenter infrastructure in mind?Enterprises and large organizations would typically be looking at cloud based infrastructure and services to augment their existing datacenters. A smart blend of their own infrastructure and cloud's capability to scale would enable them to differentiate their service quality and coverage in the long run.For SMBs, cloud based infrastructure and services would be a more cost effective and easy way to build (virtual) and scale option. However, once they reach a certain size, they might end up looking for a hybrid\/private setup as well. As connectivity options take a leap in India and worldwide, cloud adoption is also expected to gain pace. Datacenters will remain in the future as well but the way they are accessed or utilized is sure to undergo a change from legacy based to a smart IT enabled -- maybe Hybrid -- form.What advice would you give CIOs who want to get the most out of their datacenters in 2016?CIOs need to start evaluating efficiency technologies as the future datacenters would be governed by those cost economics and begin to invest in skills and training as more automation would also mean requirement of deeply skilled professionals. IT leaders need to carefully assess their organization's business goals and vision for the next five years and map the infrastructural gap.Also, a smart combination of on and off premise or cloud based and legacy systems would enable organizations to differentiate. As we move into 2016, CIOs should start preparing for software defined environments, consider converged solutions and open source options carefully, and prioritize consolidation and standardization moving forward.