The demand for data is increasing exponentially fuelled by the pandemic and constantly evolving integrated IT infrastructure. August 2021 saw massive 3.5 Billion UPI transactions, with just 45% of internet penetration, India has 624 Million users. These numbers are growing at a faster pace so is the demand for these data to be processed at low latency demanding more efficient data centers.
After seeing a 10% decline in data center spending in 2020, end-user spending was expected to reach $200 Billion in 2021 as per Gartner. The decline was due to the restricted cash flows not due to low demand – the demand for data was in fact increasing. 2021 being the rebound period saw double-digit growth in terms of data center inventory and facilities expansion.
As the global economy is getting digitized in every sector, changes in data center infrastructure will have a profound impact in 2022 and beyond. DC experts at Rahi have identified the top 5 trends in the data center industry that will empower digital transformation in 2022.
1. Hyper-Scalability of Data Centers
Hyperscale data centers, also known as ultra-scalability, are based on the concept of on-demand provision of IT resources and distributed systems. A large number of servers work together at high speed giving it the ability to expand horizontally and vertically enabling more efficient storage and transfer of data.
According to Global Market Insights, the Asia-Pacific data center market is expected to show a y-o-y growth of 24%. There will be an increase in demand for hyperscale data centers as the demand for data and data localization is rising. Mumbai and Chennai will be leading data center hubs owing to power supply, undersea cablings, and a large user base. The adoption of the Personal Data Protection Bill by the Indian government will bring a major milestone in the data center colocation industry.
2. The Rise of Small Data
Big data refers to a large volume of data that’s hard to manage. Small data on the other hand is linked to edge computing in applications that require low latency. Small data infrastructure facilitates rapid analysis of most of the data for cases where factors like time and bandwidth are of higher importance.
Small data representing edge computing doesn’t eliminate the need for data centers, in fact, data centers play a crucial role in this. Edge computing processes data locally fuelling the need for low latency applications and on the other hand, these edge devices are connected to colocation providers. We will see huge growth in devices using small data capabilities with recent developments in self-driving cars, industrial automation, internet of things, and wearable devices.
3. AI & Automation to Ease DC Workability
One of the major impacts of the pandemic was the shortage of on-site technicians and engineers to take care of problems associated with the data centers. AI and machine learning helped in remote management and monitoring of the DC systems and automation helped in managing infrastructure physically using robotics.
A far-fetched dream has turned into a reality with AI and automation being integrated into data center facilities. With the increased demand for data, data centers are scaling at a rate that will soon bypass the managing capabilities of human staff. 2022 will witness a growth in automation and AI for managing and monitoring data centers.
Companies like EkkoSense are providing AI-based solutions to monitor data centers based on multiple environmental and operational parameters. Google commissioned industrial robots to destroy decommissioned hard drives. In coming years AI and automation will become a useful tool in DC managers’ arsenal resulting in enhancing operational efficiency and reducing operational costs.
4. Data Centers Going Green and Getting More Sustainable
‘Going Green’ is now more than just an industrial objective but is being aggressively adopted to achieve the aim of negative carbon footprints. Data center service providers and businesses are examining energy efficiency, water usage, and waste output generated. Organizations like Microsoft are working towards adopting 100% renewable energy for their DC operations.
Data center technology companies are also experimenting with Tesla Megapack for large scale energy storage. This will help in boosting the solar energy usage for massive data centers. 2022 will see a major paradigm shift in the climate action framework being adopted by businesses globally.
As per Equinix global survey, 45% of IT decision makers said customers want sustainable IT infrastructure. The case for sustainability doesn’t rest at Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), since data centers use 1000s of gallons of water on a daily basis, DC providers are also focusing on Water Usage Effectiveness (WUE). Many massive data centers are now installing air-cooled systems working in a continuous closed loop. To avoid excess water usage.
5. DC Infrastructure Remote Management
Data centers operate 24*7*365 days. On average 1-minute downtime cost of a DC system is $7900. The presence of on-site technicians and engineers was a necessity but pandemic and employee shortage posed a threat of DC system outage with no one on-premise.
One of the most prominent and essential improvements brought due to Covid-19 is the Remote Infrastructure Management (RIM), which allows businesses to control their data center infrastructure remotely. RIM includes remote monitoring of security and network services, desktop administration, database management, and server management.
Developments of RIM began in pandemic and now it’s reshaping the DC industry. 2022 will see major advancements in real-time infrastructure management where users will gain more control over multiple operating parameters and insights.
The year 2021 emphasized the importance of data in accommodating remote employees. With advanced digital transformation, data centers are getting more efficient, delivering superior performance for IT innovations. Rahi’s data center professionals are always evolving to keep up with the latest industry trends and developments to deliver the perfect solution.
(The author Vijay Kumar Mahalingam is Vice President – Technical Services at Rahi Systems and the views expressed in the article are his own)