Although they are often overshadowed by the hype around cloud, data centres play a key role in sustaining business and this dependency will only increase. Paul Timms, MD at MCSA, relays some key facts about the current data centre, why it will play an increasingly important role in IT and what we can expect in the future.
Data centres are becoming a major part of large-scale, national infrastructure assets that support our information economy. The data centre – be it physical, virtual – or both, will continue to be at the heart of our information-orientated world – it keeps businesses up and running by housing their critical IT operations.
Data centres now house much of the information previously found only in libraries, they also hold our communications, such as email, instant messages and texts and are even essential to online shopping and banking, and as the connected world evolves its importance will grow. In fact, it’s believed that the pace of technology adoption will ensure that data centres eventually become as critical to businesses as water treatment, power generation, and communications are.
With information being shared and stored through a multitude of routes – ensuring its security, delivery and accessibility will be critical. Organisations and operations will continue to need a repository for the storing, managing and dissemination of data, in summary a need for secure, well run data centres.
All cloud providers deliver their services via data centres and the technologies used will increasingly have to support greater scale. It’s impossible to have cloud technology without data centres, so they will become even more essential in the future and remain at the frontline, underpinning and protecting all IT services.
Businesses will continue to store their most critical applications and sensitive data, on premise, in traditional virtualised data centres – albeit with hybrid cloud capabilities. Issues such as data residency, information protection and segmentation compliance, will also drive this trend for the foreseeable future. This means that while the number of companies opting to consume cloud services continues to grow, we can expect that private data centres will continue to coexist for an extended period of time too.
Public cloud-based solutions will also mature over the next 5 years, offering enhanced performance and improved security. Additionally, with advancements in software that enables organisations to transparently move and migrate their workloads into the cloud, most organisations will find cloud-based, data centre-driven, computing an attractive proposition.
The amount of IT resources required to manage and maintain data centres – as well as the type of infrastructure they house – will all change. For some time, virtualisation has reshaped data centre operations, by enabling the deployment of affordable, rack-based servers that can be pooled and allocated to shifting application demands – however, the transformation is incomplete.
The advent of the software defined data centre (SDDC) claims to change the status quo by providing automation, flexibility and efficiency to transform the way IT is delivered. With SDDC, computing, storage, networking, security, and availability services are pooled, aggregated, and delivered as software, and managed by intelligent, policy-driven software.
With the fabric of the Internet changing so rapidly, the number and location of data centres will also change. We will see more decentralise and become supported by micro data centres – moving as close to user groups as possible and providing cloud-based content closer to the network’s edge.
Huge investments are being made into data centres and related technology, so those businesses want to ensure they are utilising the capabilities to their full potential. With this responsibility comes growing demands upon the owners and operators of data centres to examine how best to shape how they look, feel and perform in future.