By: Craig Hayman, CEO of AVEVA
Data has become the lifeblood of today’s global digital economy, powering diverse industrial activity from retail and manufacturing to infrastructure and transport, and it is the data center that is forming the backbone to the data influx. It is anticipated that over 175 zettabytes of data will be generated annually by 2025.
As an ever-growing part of business in the modern world, the data center influences the functioning of many aspects of the business enterprise including data backup and recovery, networking, website hosting, e-mail management and security, providing support for cloud storage applications and for e-commerce transactions. To meet worldwide demand, hyperscale providers have been building data centers and expanding their fleet in the past few years. However, increasing complexities of operating and maintaining these facilities are creating an unprecedented set of challenges which must be met with a new approach.
Thriving in the ‘New Normal’
As the global economic downturn forces organizations to re-evaluate their offerings as well as re-size their operations, we will see many more companies moving their workloads to data centers. In today’s volatile environment, the data center is more than just a safe and secure facility with space that is equipped with reliable power and a network, it is a valuable addition to many organizational infrastructures, a dependable extension of the IT team and an indispensable factor for success.
COVID-19 has paved the way for digital transformation as businesses shift operations and re-invent themselves to cope with new social distancing measures, restricted movements and supply interruptions. The ‘new normal,’ as post pandemic reality sets in, will see a new digital age rapidly dawning. Digital capabilities will increasingly act as a barometer for economic resilience and the industries that will thrive past the COVID-19 crisis are those that can digitalize completely.
Interoperability is the Key to Adopting New Computing Environments
Cloud computing is also transforming the design and deployment of data centers, and while cloud solutions were typically delivered over the internet by a third party, it is now becoming increasingly common to see the model applied within an organization’s data center as a private cloud. Data center transformation will continue to evolve, and CIOs now think about the cloud not as an ‘or’ strategy but rather an ‘and’ strategy when compared to traditional data center hosting.
The shift toward a new computing environment undoubtably adds layers of complexity that have broad implications for how information technology managers secure the components of a data center to protect data from malicious attack or compromise. That’s why it is vital for organizations, today to integrate security into the design of their data centers. Security, in particular, poses an ever-changing challenge, given that successful business continuity is dependent on a secure environment.
COVID-19 has reinforced the importance of data centers and cloud computing for our society. In the early days of the crisis, the data center industry served as the backstop for the global economy, supporting a massive shift to online services. For many organizations, the digital transformation that was expected to take years has been compressed into days and weeks. The data center industry must rapidly adjust to a complex new reality. Demand for cloud services will soar in some sectors, but wither in other verticals as they shift into survival mode.
The role of the data center is changing, and the operators who will thrive in the coming years are those who see themselves as a true partner to businesses and economies. With the data market scaling exponentially, it will take the intersection of both vision and the right technology to create the global digital infrastructure that will drive growth in the years to come.