This past year has been one of tremendous innovation. With the Internet of Things growing at an exponential rate, new data streams are constantly being created to unlock significant value for both the technology companies that must evolve to stay ahead of the curve – but also their customers whose lives and businesses benefit from these new products and services.
This trend shows no sign of slowing, and forward-thinking technologists are already looking ahead to build an infrastructure that’s able to support continued progress. At the core of all IT infrastructure lies the data center, which is effectively the central nervous system for any connected company with a mobile or cloud offering – and powers the flow of information that not only keeps apps and services functioning, but also allows developers to continue to refine and engineer new technologies.
In 2015, organizations will need to seriously evaluate their data center strategies to meet the increasingly taxing demands of emerging technologies, and also stay on pace with heightened expectations to deliver service in real-time. Furthermore, with new emphasis on the governance and localization of data, strategic action and advance planning is required for organizations that seek to maintain an international presence.
Coming from the unique vantage point of an organization that sits on the pulse of data center activity, we’ve put together the following predictions on emerging strategies that you can bet to see more of in the coming year.
Influx of Micro Data Centers and the Emergence of the “Mothership”
As the Internet of Things localizes data streams down to the smallest wearable device, many organizations are growing increasingly concerned with latency and the emerging need to maintain data centers within physical proximity to their customers. As data requirements become increasingly complex, there will likely be an increase in very small data centers that exist solely to service customers in a specific market. Likewise, it’s probable that much larger data centers or “motherships” will be a piece of this strategy, and serve to house aging and less fluid data that must be retained.
Software Defined Networking
SDN is not a new concept by any means, but this is the year we’ll finally begin seeing broad adoption. A major hurdle for organizations to make this switch is the capital that sits in physical hardware, which is literally taking up space within data centers and office IT departments. With each passing year, more of this hardware will need to be replaced, which means that many will be considering redirecting this hardware budget towards SDN.
Seamless, Diversified Cloud Portfolios
Most companies already deploy a mix of dedicated physical data centers, private cloud deployments, and public cloud deployments; however, the relationship between the three is not always easy to maintain. With numerous industry partnerships that connect the data center to AWS and various cloud marketplaces, we’re approaching an era in which movement between different deployment options will be streamlined to just a few clicks.
Rise of the Mid-Market Data Center Ecosystem
Until now, it has been only large enterprises and internet companies that have integrated colocation into their data center strategies; however colo is becoming more prevalent within the broader business community as data center providers deliver more accessible offerings. With increased access to colocation, it’s likely that significantly more mid-sized businesses will begin tapping this resource, and build adjacent products to take better advantage of colo.
Evolving Political Landscape
In the political sphere, expect more conversation and ultimately policy changes, which will mandate cases of data localization. As countries in the EU begin to float the idea, it is also likely that companies with the resources will take proactive efforts to stay ahead of this trend, and potentially divert data center activity to the specific geographic markets that they serve.
Attractive New Markets
Historically, organizations have gravitated towards technology and business hubs like Silicon Valley, New York, and London as the primary destination for data center activity. However, with the emergence of new “gray zones”- less popular, but still highly desirable markets - which are often more cost-effective and less prone to natural disasters, there is an even stronger incentive for businesses to reconsider the physical location of their data centers.
While localization and latency requirements will always keep some level of data center activity in major metros, there is good reason for many organizations to divert their more storage-oriented, or “mothership” operations to “gray zones” like Arizona and Utah in order to take advantage of lower cost of operations, abundant real estate and tax incentives, which make these locales highly desirable.
Greater Focus on Sustainability
Data center providers and large organizations like Google (News - Alert) have publicly taken the lead in reducing carbon emissions and data center energy consumption. However, with initiatives like the Better Buildings Challenge, and consortiums like the Green Grid calling for even more action, it’s likely that the focus on sustainability will become more pervasive and result in significant changes and further innovation.