The data center, as we have come to know it, has
changed. With bandwidth needs driven by trends such as wearable technology and
big data, we see a shift in how organizations are viewing, building and
planning their data centers. We see many organizations migrate new data centers
to leased co-location facilities and public cloud. When organizations choose to
build their own data center, the facilities need to be more efficient and
achieve higher density.
With changes taking place in how technologies are used
and valued within the enterprise, there are many shifts I believe will happen
in the near future. Here is a summary of the key trends influencing data
centers in 2016.
Shift from Storage to Compute and On-Demand Access
The previous generations of data centers focused
primarily on storage of information and disaster recovery. Geographic diversity
was required for backup and data was retrieved on a periodic basis. Now the focus
has shifted to analyzing and processing data for on-demand access. The rise of
mobility and wearable technology creates requirements for latency that
previously has never been seen. Consumers and business users alike have an
expectation of on-demand access to data from the cloud with the same user
experience when accessing data residing on the device. This results in data
centers that are far more distributed. The most efficient way for most business
to do this is with cloud computing.
Where the Growth is Happening
As stated earlier, data centers will need to be more
efficient and achieve higher density. From a service provider and co-location
perspective, there will be a large growth in providing distributed computing. The
large wave of growth will be in point-of-presence
(PoP) data centers, supporting content delivery networks for service providers
as well as promoting network virtualization and software defined networks. A
combination of growth within PoP and co-location will increase the need for
interconnecting or peering between service providers.
Bringing Computing Power to the Edge
A big expansion in the coming year will be the idea of
moving computing power to the edge of the network. We are seeing service
providers want to push as much computing resources to the edge of the network
as possible to reduce latency by reducing the number of “hops” the data has to
take in order to reach the end user. A large amount of data is shifting from
storage to algorithms that manipulate and analyze the data stored. As we use
the data, we need to reduce latency. Ten years ago, in the era of programs, you
would pull a program up on our laptops that took some time to load and we would
look at it for long periods of time a couple of times a day. Now, we shifted
towards an app-driven world where we look at the data hundreds of times a day
in shorter durations. Users are starting to feel that data should be predictive
and instantly serve up information from the cloud.
To give you an example, look at how social networks
launched in the early 2000s. One factor that limited growth during the first
few years was the need to increase the number of servers available. Today, a
new social network can have instant access to nearly unlimited compute
resources on every continent with the use of cloud services. This provides
instant scalability, especially for start-ups and tech companies. So naturally,
small and medium-sized businesses are going that way.
How DCIM and ITSM Play in the Mix
As you build out these data centers, it becomes a game
of how efficient you can make these facilities. You can’t afford to have an
inefficient data center. You need to know exactly where everything is, how it
is being used and powered. Any form of inefficiency in the data center can be
costly and data center infrastructure management (DCIM) will be paramount in
helping keep these data centers running smoothly.
The Hype around Hyperscale
The scale of demand stemming from the number of
consumers doing online shopping caused several high profile outages. These
events will drive organizations to move some of their operations to the cloud
in hyperscale data centers. This will give them the ability to flex into a
cloud capability when their network becomes stressed. Some phenomenon happening
within the hyperscale arena include:
streaming, uninterruptable, low latency services of music, video, and
information is spurring the growth of hyperscale. Users want steaming
information without delay.
people are moving their compute services to the edge of the network. Data can
exist in multiple places to provide static information without latency.
This past year was the year when we heard the trumpeting of wearable
technology as we watched a few major technology companies take great strides
toward moving away from managing their own data centers and completely into the
cloud. It’s exciting to see how the data center will grow and change over the
next few years, starting in 2016. I foresee more businesses expanding via cloud
and co-location, while a simultaneous expansion of computing power expands
throughout the network and around the world.