In today’s era of digital economy, data has become an immensely valuable asset, more than ever before. Data holds the key to ensure smooth functioning of a business, and so data centres operations have become the backbone of business continuity. Our growing dependence on data in our everyday lives has persuaded more and more enterprises to recognize data centres as strategic assets in order to have an edge over their competitors. According to a recent Global Data Report, data centres have been deemed as mission-critical services in a post-pandemic world.
India alone is growing at an exponential rate to produce data that is considered to be much faster than the world average. This massive data explosion is now fuelling the demand for more robust data centre architecture in India which will require investments of around 3.7 billion dollars over the next 3 years. At least 73% of the sector’s total capacity addition is expected to be driven from data centres in Mumbai and Chennai while Hyderabad and Delhi NCR are the emerging hotspots. (Source)
That being said, how different will Data Centres of 2021 really look like? Let’s take a look at some emerging trends that will define the future of data centres.
- Green energy to take centrestage
Every four years the amount of energy used by data centres doubles up, resulting in an increase its carbon footprint. With a move towards green energy and sustainable practices taking the centre stage in almost every field, data centres are also moving to the forefront when it comes to Environment Social & Governance initiatives (ESG). The industry is witnessing a global shift towards renewable energy powered businesses to reduce the huge carbon footprint left behind by cloud computing. Technology giants have already committed to 100 percent renewable energy use in the coming years. With this in effect, renewing data centre architecture in compliance with energy consumption & efficiency, reducing the cost of operation and use of natural sources like hydro, solar and wind as alternate power sources will help data centres to achieve carbon neutrality.
- Automation to drive the future
Data centre operations are moving towards automation ensuring redundancy, reliability and resilience. The ongoing pandemic has compelled businesses to lower the dependency on human intervention hence accelerating the need to make the systems self-reliant. Although some operations will still need to be executed manually, the number of such tasks would substantially be reduced and contactless maintenance would be prioritized.
- Edge is here to stay
The demand for edge computing will continue to grow as we see more people adopting smart technologies not only in their businesses but also at home. Even though Hyper-scale data centres are going to be in the limelight, edge computing will still manage to hold its ground at least for this year. And, it’s only going to get bigger & better by next year and beyond. By 2022 the IoT market is expected to grow by over 50 billion dollars, and so will the demand for reliability, speed and connectivity. Hence the edge market will be expected to grow and keep up with the demand in the market.
- The rise of Colocation
The pandemic has made it clear that we need to re-think and re-imagine our business strategies. Businesses need to remain focused on their core functions and practices instead of worrying about storing maintaining data. This is where the concept of colocation plays an important role. Interest in colocation had increased significantly as businesses had to adapt their hardware solutions after the lockdowns. Hosting private cloud solutions for enterprises and maintaining on-premise data centres (captive facilities) will prove to be an expensive deal fuelling the shift to host facilities like colocation this year and beyond.
- Emphasis on cloud
The demand for cloud services has also seen a significant increase in major cities across the globe as people started working from home. Even with things possibly settling down by next year, work from home is here to stay. As this happens, enterprises are going to invest heavily in cloud services to ensure hassle-free running of businesses. This demand will only continue to accelerate which would result in building some of the largest facilities ever with improved data centre architecture and operations. Modern data centres will also be expected to keep pace with the growing trend of hybrid cloud, thus providing features like low-latency cloud networking, container platforms and other advanced applications amongst a few. Cloud computing is no longer a novelty, rather it is a more collective, swift and effective way for businesses to manage their costs.
Data centre markets are still emerging and new data centre architectures like hyperconverged infrastructure are still shaping up. In a post-pandemic world, businesses will continue to evolve their transformation strategies thereby increasing digital investments. It would be interesting to see these fascinating trends drive innovation and development while empowering businesses to ramp up their digital transformation journey in 2021 and beyond, opening a pool of opportunities for data centres in India and worldwide.