The pandemic shook the global economy with many businesses shutting down and many more going online. People started spending more time indoors using digital devices to stay connected with friends, watch Netflix, and get their work done. Organizations started adopting the work-from-home culture putting more pressure on the already stressed data market. There was a staggering 47% surge in data consumption by users and this was just the beginning. This load was taken up by data centers where all this data is stored and retrieved when needed. Let’s explore some of the trending data center trends to watch out for in the near future.
We are moving to all cloud environments!
Yes, you heard it right! There’s a massive cloud-based paradigm shift in the data center market, more businesses are opting for cloud-based architecture than ever before. Except for the fact that they both store data, cloud-based data centers differ considerably from legacy data centers.
The need for a physical data center set up at your office or by leasing a space is eliminated - everything is on a cloud now! The data saved in the cloud is encrypted and stored on cloud servers after it has been fragmented and duplicated across several locations. In the event of a breakdown, service providers safeguard the protection of your backup data and assist you in returning to service with little downtime. Enabling cloud services helps you deploy in minutes and scale at ease as demand increases.
Cloud-based solutions can be differentiated by legacy systems -
OPEX & CAPEX cost
Traditional DC installation necessitates several expenditures ranging from networking to server gear. These components need to be replaced or updated with time as with technological advancements old components become obsolete. When you utilize cloud services, you are essentially using someone else's resources; the provider assures the quality and maintenance of the system, resulting in proper resource allocation and highly optimized infrastructure management.
Ease of accessibility
Traditional DC allows for system upgrades anytime. As the system is yours, you may customize it at any moment as your business grows or if the demands surge. Accessibility is a concern with cloud-based systems; if an issue arises you need to contact the service providers, and in the event of a network outage, your data becomes unavailable.
Level of security
To maintain safety, traditional DCs use security personnel and implement numerous security measures. Since you have total control over your data, you can assure its complete protection from unauthorized access. There’s a popular belief that cloud-based hosts are vulnerable to data leaks and hackers, but in fact, they ensure that all safety precautions are in place and user data is secure. With a rise in telehealth markets and medicine going online many cloud providers are following stringent security standards like HIPAA to ensure the highest levels of security.
Easy to scale
Building a data center from the ground up takes time and money; in the future, if you decide to scale up your system, you will need to spend more, and in some cases, forklift upgrades will result in additional costs. Since you do not own any physical system in a cloud-based framework, customization and scalability are simple and straightforward. You can increase or decrease the amount of storage you want as per your needs.
Growth in hyperscale data center market
A Hyperscale Data Center is a large storage structure with its own servers, routers, storage, powerhouse, and grids. This is usually used for Big Data and cloud applications. Hyperscale is not because of its enormity but because of its scalability, as the name implies. The size of data centers is forecasted to rise exponentially in the next decade with increasing demand for data.
Increased digitization across all sectors has increased traffic in IP due to the global pandemic. By the end of 2021, it is estimated that it will reach 20.6 ZB – up 7 ZB since 2016. Many industries that previously had little or no IT infrastructure presence are now moving to a cloud-based system. Healthcare, Supply and Logistics industries, Educational institutes are all seeking cloud-based solutions. This will provide the hyperscale DCs a big boost in the near future. Sustainability - Green data centers are here!
It is not an exaggeration to claim that the future of humanity will be jeopardized if we do not adopt greener, more sustainable systems, and practices. With increased usage and reliance on IT infrastructure, everything is scaling and going ‘Hyper', bringing with it the environmental costs that come with its massive size. In coming years, we will see a considerable change in emphasis toward more sustainable data center developments.
Green and sustainable data centers will focus on –
· Optimum energy consumption - DCs consume 2% of the world's total power, increasing their carbon footprint due to our majority reliance on fossil fuels to generate energy. Sustainable data centers will focus on running data centers with renewable energy sources.
· Reduced water usage - Water is a limited resource, with massive data centers dependent on water-cooled systems; the amount of water consumed is enormous. Anticipating the effect of 8.6 million data centers worldwide on water resources is impossible. Green data centers are being developed that rely on air-cooled systems. Underwater data centers are also being developed that will be cooled naturally from seawater.
· Focus on e-waste Management - A large Data Center requires millions of components to operate, and they become obsolete in 5-10 years, generating inconceivable amounts of e-waste. This is not a common issue with commercial electronics, but it is something to consider when designing more agile devices that can survive longer without being redesigned.
Data centers are currently trying to operate on renewable energy in order to maximize resource usage and decrease environmental consequences. The trend will continue, and we will witness a surge in development in sustainable components with increased performance.
Remote management of data center infrastructure
A data center operates continuously and never stops; it requires the physical presence of technicians and datacenter administrators to ensure that it functions with no or little downtime. Remote Infrastructure Management (RIM) was the only answer with everyone trapped in a room due to the pandemic.
One of the most recent and important developments coming out due to Covid-19 in Remote Infrastructure Management (RIM), which allows companies to manage their IT infrastructure remotely in portions or entirely. Remote monitoring of security and network services, desktop administration, database, and server management are all part of RIM.
Zoom and similar unified communication technologies were deployed to virtually manage the repair and maintenance of the data centers, with only server replacements requiring physical presence. This has resulted in the deployment of machines for data center automation, where they may be trained to conduct replacement and maintenance activities as needed.
The years 2020-21 demonstrated the relevance of data in accommodating distant employees and clients. Increased digitization necessitated more efficient and smoother Data Centers that deliver excellent performance for IT operations. With emerging server and storage technologies and developing companies, the importance of data centers has significantly expanded, and 2022 will be a major turning point for the data center industry following the long-term consequences of the pandemic.