What is next for the data center?
It might seem a little early to start thinking about the data center trends that are going to matter in 2022, but the year is racing towards a close whether we like it or not. 2021 has been a year where IT departments across the globe have tried to get back on an even footing, recovering from the shocks the pandemic introduced, such as mass remote, and then hybrid working. It was a global issue, and now data centre managers want to playing their part in delivering growth and digital transformation that will support the future of their businesses.
Businesses are now starting to reassess where their priorities will lay going forward, how they will evolve their business models, and the services they provide to its customers.
The data center has without doubt been affected by what happened in the pandemic and will evolve to meet the new business and IT challenges of each company going forward. IT staff and data center managers are already starting to consider what that means for the budgeted projects that were put on hold and the new projects that must be planned for. Whilst those needs will be very specific to each business there are some trends that will be true across the sector. So here is a whistle-stop tour of some of the trends that we believe will be dominant across 2022.
The COP26 conference has been across the news for months and whilst nobody can be sure how successful each nation will be in achieving its net-zero goals, the data center sector will continue to be as committed as ever. Huge strides will continue to be made around energy efficiency, and responsible cooling, and of course renewable energy is becoming more commonly used.
It is important to consider other areas such as eWaste too, ensuring products are recycled securely and buying them responsibly. Sustainability in all its forms has become a critical issue in the board room, as well as for investors and customers alike. That doesn’t just mean the data center needs to be energy efficient, everybody in the IT supply chain from connectivity supplier, to cloud services and hardware providers needs to be doing their part for any one data center to be doing everything it can on sustainability.
Remote data center management
The pandemic forced data center managers to very quickly find a way to allow their companies to work remotely and access all the resources they needed to, if the option did not exist widely already. For many that meant cutting a few corners in the interests of speed. Whilst most data center teams will have had in place some kind of remote access and monitoring for their infrastructure, we certainly are aware of some that have needed to be quite creative to get the remote services working that they needed. 2022 will definitely be a period of reflection and consolidation, where data centre teams look to ensure they have the level of remote management tools in place that give them flexibility, resilience and ultimately security of the data centre.
Expect to see some restrictions imposed too around the use of collaboration tools. Where during the pandemic staff may have been given more freedom so they ‘could get the job done’ while working remotely, 2022 will see application configurations tied back down to whatever is deemed to be an updated application environment to support hybrid working.
When it comes to connecting data centers together, there has been a lot of talk in recent years about the benefits of Software Defined Wide Area Networks or (SD-WAN). Whilst this technology certainly has its benefits, we are actually seeing customer wanting to keep more control over that connectivity. One way of doing that is through age old, simple and trusted Ethernet technology. Carriers are now offering a host of ethernet services that are making it very easy to get connected onto some of the fastest networks across the globe, bring your data center closer to the services you need and the customers you need to serve, whilst avoiding the public internet, between those service points. As edge data centers and distributed networking, even within organizational networks continues to grow with the use of technologies such as the Internet of Things, we’ll expect this renaissance (of sorts) around Ethernet connectivity to grow in 2022.
2022 should be an exciting year for data centre managers and we are already seeing the signs of teams becoming refocused and energised to deliver the projects that were shelved for so long.