The world rotates at just over 1,600km/h, similar to how fast the data center world moves. If we look to the future, the concept of what data centers do and how the tasks are accomplished in a data center will continue to evolve. While mega data centers – on the scale of Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook – receive the most attention in the market, the demand for “traditional” data center services remains steadfast. It continues to hunt and does not only do the tasks for which he was originally intended, but supported IT workloads in new and interesting ways.
According to the Cisco Global Cloud Index by 2021, 94% of workloads and compute instances will be processed by (cloud) data centers. Our observation of the IT infrastructure market shows that also in 2019 Enterprises will continue to move their local data center towards external data centers, bare-metal and cloud-providers.
Edge computing (link: https://datacenter.com/news_and_insight/edge-computing-and-data-centers/) matures, but the business model need improvements. This is not hard to figure out; everyone loves the idea of edge computing. Data center operators see it as a chance to lighten the load on central servers, and businesses see it as a chance to have sub-10 millisecond response time. Various suppliers are promoting edge data centers and ‘Edge Computing’. The data generated is driving the demand for data centers of all types:
- those nearby (‘local edge’ or ‘edge’) for first-line processing;
- analysis, and routing;
- those within a local area (‘near’ or ‘regional’ edge) to connect, integrate, and re-route;
- and those far away – such as economical Hyperscale facilities, (‘core’) for further processing, analysis, and archiving.
The demand for small, edge data centers is coming more slowly than predicted. Issues with security, costs, business models, integration, networking and 5G roll out are constrains to the adoption of edge data centers.
The problem is who will pay for the Edge computing roll-out? That still hasn’t been worked out. Will it fall to cellular providers, or will it fall to the car makers who want connected cars? Will the IoT or the Industry 4.0 market explode that fast? That needs to become clear in 2019.
Colocation will continue to thrive
There are more compute demands than ever, especially with the advent of AI and Industry 4.0, and the cloud has proven to have its expensive downsides. What it means, thought, is the data center is being repurposed. Some workloads are going to public cloud providers, while others are being assigned to the data center.
From a few racks in a colocation facility to stand-alone micro data centers and the somewhat trite “data center in a box” concept, the data center IT team must reconsider what the business needs from its data center. This includes anything with massive data sets, such as BI, analytics, and AI/ML, because moving it to the cloud is expensive. And line-of-business (LOB) IT will likely be the driving factor behind what the 2019 and future data center will look like. The data center is changing, becoming more versatile and more powerful.
Private clouds will grow
Many companies are moving to the cloud, but they still don’t want to give up control. As described in our blog: Reverse Hybrid Cloud: Cloud Moving Towards On-Premise, companies will use a data centers to deploy private cloud infrastructures at a growing rate, with more than 28 percent of cloud spending being focused on the private cloud, according to IDC. Private cloud spending is increasing, not decreasing.
Private Cloud is where a company buys and owns the equipment, but the equipment is hosted in a cloud / data center provider’s facility, like one of the Datacenter.com facilities. Or start using bare-metal “cloud” provders. This allows enterprises to either expand their data center capacity without having to make the capital investment or divest itself of the headache of running a facility, which is harder and more expensive than the computers.
Connectivity is king
Demand for fast and secure network connections to both trading partners and cloud operators continues to grow as the network becomes the critical component of the hybrid infrastructure. More than 80% of the companies are running multi or hybrid cloud environments with up to five different cloud platforms, which needs fast, stable and secure connectivity. This bypassing of the public internet to create digital ecosystems means faster and more secure connections, and a way to properly transform organizations and strategies.
The Open Compute Project (OCP) hasn’t made a noticeable impact yet (outside of Hyperscale), but it could be significant in the long term as open ecosystems continue to evolve and grow. Open-sourced hardware and software promise to bring Hyperscale-inspired designs and efficiency to the enterprise and colocation markets and are disrupting traditional facility architectures including distributed UPS, alternative rack designs, distributed connectivity and DC power distribution.
The data center industry is changing at a pace never seen before. Technologies and best practices that have been accepted for years are now being challenged. Technical approaches such as cloud and edge, automation, security, and network are all becoming the focal points of modern high-performance infrastructure. This year we expect a further (explosive) growth of private and hybrid Cloud solutions. Edge Computing will get more body this year as more and more parties are busy developing business models. All in all, it will be an interesting year for the data center industry.