With emerging technologies and evolving businesses, the role of data centers has grown exponentially. 2021 is expected to be a milestone year for the data center industry post the long-lasting implications of the pandemic.
Gartner predicted user spending of $200 billion by the end of 2021 on datacenter infrastructure which is 6% higher than the 2020 levels. Innovation, efficiency, and sustainability will be the driving force for changing data center technologies and upcoming trends.
Era of Cloud based Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM)
Irrespective of the size or its type, today every organization needs a datacenter. And they do not need to set up a data center in the office or lease a place – it is all on Cloud.
Cloud-based data centers differ significantly from conventional data centers and can be ranked against physical systems based on four parameters:
Cost: Traditional DC installation involves purchases from various networking to server hardware vendors, and further frequent upgrades. When you use cloud servers, it basically means that you are using someone else's resources, whereby the provider ensures quality and maintenance of the system, thus there is better resource optimization.
Accessibility: Traditional DC lets you upgrade the system. As the system is your own, customization at any time is possible as the business expands. Ease of accessibility is an issue, especially in public cloud-based systems and requires support from service providers. However, this is a heavy CapEx burden.
Security: Traditional DCs hire security staff and install various security protocols to ensure safety. You have complete control over your data to ensure that its completely secure from unauthorized access. Cloud-based hosts are prone to data leak and hacking as mostly perceived, but in actual practice, they are constantly upgraded with cybersecurity protocols to make sure that all the safety measures are in line and user data is secured. Private clouds offer enhanced security as they have an isolated network environment and better control.
Scalability: Building a data center from scratch requires a huge CapEx and time. Cloud-based systems enable seamless customization and scalability. With pay as you grow models, businesses can buy more storage and even reduce it as per requirements.
Hyperscale Data Centers are reshaping IT
With an ever-increasing surge in data, the size of datacenters is growing at an exponential rate and expected to continue into the next decade. As the name suggests, Hyperscale is more for its scalability and not so much for its size.
Increased digitization in every sector due to the global pandemic has increased the IP traffic and is estimated to reach 20.6ZB by the end of 2021 - an increment of 7ZB since 2016. Many industries which earlier had no or very little access to the IT infrastructure are now moving towards the cloud-based system, primarily triggered by remote working requirements. Healthcare industries, supply and logistics, educational institutes are primary sectors looking for cloud-based solutions. This has given a major boost to the hyperscale DCs and is expected to continue in the coming days.
3 Features that will be Key to Sustainability
With increasing usage and more dependability on IT infrastructure, everything is scaling and going ‘Hyper’. With this comes the environmental costs. 2021 onwards, we will see a shift towards more sustainable developments. Here are some facts that need attention:
- Energy consumption- DCs are consuming 2% of the country’s total power. Dependency on fossil fuels to generate electricity is increasing the carbon footprint. Need of the hour is to accelerate the shift to renewable resources like solar energy, wind energy, etc. Most recent case is Bharti Airtel commissioning a 14-megawatt captive solar power plant in Uttar Pradesh to meet the energy requirement of its core and edge data centers in the state.
- Water Usage- Huge data centers rely on water-cooled systems – considering 8.6 million data centers are using water cooling technology, the amount of water consumed is huge. Either the water should be treated and reused, or data centers must be built in naturally cold regions that will eliminate massive requirement of water.
- E-waste Management- A data center uses millions of components to operate. In about 5-10 years, they become outdated and create e-waste of unimaginable quantities. Requirement is to build data center with agile devices that are sustainable or eco-friendly in disposal.
Data Centers are now turning to green technology to optimize their resource utilization and reduce environmental impacts. The trend will take a bigger turn and we will see more innovation in sustainable components with improved efficiency.
Remote Management of IT Infrastructure is here to stay
A datacenter operation is a continuous process. It requires physical presence of technicians and data center managers to operate it with no or least downtime. With work from home being the norm today, Remote Infrastructure Management (RIM) solutions have resurfaced and play an integral role to manage the IT infrastructure of the company virtually, in parts or completely. RIM includes remote monitoring of security & network services, desktop administration, database and server administration that can be monitored from anywhere.
The advent of a fast-spreading new strain COVID-19 has complicated healthcare and business recovery strategies. This new reality further emphasizes the most essential attributes - agility, adaptability, and resiliency, led by innovation.
The author is Vijay Kumar Mahalingam, VP – Technical Services, Rahi Systems