The last few years have seen much talk predicting the death of the datacentre; conversations driven largely by the continued adoption of the cloud.
However, with the rocketing growth of data, driven by trends such as the IoT, the inevitable question arises — is the datacentre experiencing a renaissance as we move into a new decade? The short answer is a resounding yes.
After its late nineties peak, the traditional datacentre is in fact thriving again to such an extent that global market research firm Technavio has predicted a compound annual growth of USD 284.44 billion or £232 billion.
So the question then becomes, what is driving this growth and why are so many organisations taking a new look at the opportunities datacentres present as a delivery model?
An explosion of data:
Undoubtedly what lies behind the growth of the datacentre market over the past 18 months is the huge increase in data generation. Along with this comes the requirement to process and store it all. In the next six years the volume of data that we are creating will increase by 61 per cent. That means there will be up to 175 zettabytes of generated data by 2025.
Pushing this growth of data is the continued adoption of IoT, the introduction of more end devices to the internet, and the advent of new technologies such as 5G. As a result, the role of the datacentre will become even more critical.
Datacentre evolution in the data age:
The fact is organisations will always need somewhere to gather, process and store data. However, while cloud provides great benefits to business, it is not automatically the ideal solution to every problem. This is especially true as the demand for real-time data and insights becomes ever greater.
And it’s here where datacentres are the ideal solution. When it comes to the growing demand for real-time analytics, the datacentre often outperforms cloud on cost, performance and compliance.
Business critical data must be constantly available without a delay in delivering intelligence so it must be gathered at the source to be processed quickly for insights. Datacentres closer to the source of where the data is generated provide businesses with less latency and performance issues than using cloud.
This is vital for an organisation to monitor the traffic flow along a motorway, for example, in order to make decisions about changing speed limits following an accident or a change in weather. Here, any delay in getting the information back to the control room will make it out of date and therefore unfit for purpose. The processing must be done as close as possible to the roads being monitored to obtain useful intelligence.
A distributed data model:
From using on-premise platforms or outsourced IT delivery like colocation, to cloud, edge computing and SaaS, more and more organisations are paying increased attention to the opportunities offered by the datacentre. This is especially true after evaluating what each delivery model offers in terms of the type of data the organisation has and its specific needs.
To get the most from their data organisations should be considering factors such as how IT and data are being delivered, what stage of its lifecycle the data is in and what other elements influence its use.
There is no single rule for all data. Each model has its own technical, legislative and commercial advantages and disadvantages. The most suitable model for a business depends on the types of data it is generating, using and storing, plus other factors including performance and corporate governance. A distributed data delivery model, a hybrid of all the models will generally add the most value to a business.
When real-time processing is not needed, certain data can go directly to the cloud. But the opportunity for the datacentre is the data that will always need to be held locally, such as personally identifiable security data from a CCTV system, and that which needs to be processed in real time.
Advantages on cost and compliance:
An important opportunity where datacentres excel is on the cost of processing and storing a large amount of data. Although it is inexpensive to store data in the cloud, the costs start to mount when that data is processed and stored; whereas with datacentres the costs remain steady and predictable irrespective of the volume of data being processed.
Another advantage is always knowing exactly where your data is located, which isn’t always possible with the cloud. Compliance can determine where data should be processed or stored, as part of corporate governance requirements and data custodianship or part of the wider regulatory landscape.
What’s next for the datacentre
Whatever the data requirements and the IT delivery model, there is no doubt that the datacentre will continue to have a significant role in helping businesses to gather the insights needed to compete and thrive. At the same time, the datacentre needs to evolve and change its commercial model to keep pace with new demand for more flexibility in services and contract length.
The role of a managed service provider (MSP) or datacentre provider will become more important with their support and expertise crucial in unlocking the potential of data. With a multitude of ways that businesses can deliver better customer service and boost their bottom line, the next-generation datacentre will have a pivotal role to play in achieving this for years to come.
Marion Stewart, COO, Pulsant