How data centres have transformed business operations

According to a report on the future of data centres by CBInsights, there will be over 170 zettabytes of data in 2025, a tremendous increase from the amount of data we process today. In order to cope with the mass of information, the report also suggests that data centres will play a vital role in the “ingestion, computation, storage, and management of information.”

The way we process data is changing. Businesses are utilising the power of data in communications and in the last few years have really recognised the benefits of migrating information to the cloud and cloud computing. 

The adoption of data is largely fuelled by digital transformation and the increase in digital services. As a society we consume more information and data than ever before – anyone that uses an app on their mobile phone or communicates through emails in business is also using cloud services, and there’s no doubt our data is increasingly shared between different platforms.

This has been fuelled by advancements in technology, and although cloud computing has been around since the early adoption of the internet, only in recent years has it become a household term for businesses. 

Adoption to the cloud

According to CBInsights, the global data centre construction market could be worth up to $57B by 2025. 

Kirsty Barnes, Partner at Gowling WLG believes that the cost associated with the traditional data storage for a business can become prohibitively expensive. 

“Data centres are incredibly popular as businesses recognise that it’s easier and more cost effective to outsource data centre and deliverables. We’re seeing so much more investment into the data centre spectrum. 

“Investors see data centres  as an investment opportunity and business see it as way to streamline their business efforts.”

And it’s clear why. Businesses face a constant stream of new challenges, many of which require changing business models to hyper-efficient, digitally driven concepts that is fuelled by data and new technologies such as AI and machine learning. A focus one creating IT-enabled productivity can not only reduce costs but the application of technologies can drive higher customer engagement and new streams of income.

There are several advantages of migrating to the cloud and using data centres instead of running the process in-house. One is limited space in storing computer servers – storage can be difficult in limited office spaces and maintaining the security of the servers would require high risk and liability for a team member. And of the course the distribution of power and heat, as cooling is key for large data centres and can be difficult within an office space. 

Another key factor is deliverability and connectivity. Having everything internally means huge investments for the amount of kit required when there are experts who can handle the data professionally rather than hiring a new employee and training them to ensure the data is kept safe and secure. 

Another key benefit it is ease of connectivity with clients, which most companies are doing through the internet and streaming data centres. 

Emerging trends

The rapid growth in data centres around the world have also been exponential, especially in emerging regions. With hyperscale cloud providers such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft, the movement towards using cloud services and creating hybrid business models that are scalable in new geographies has been an interesting trend to watch over the last few years. 

Chris Morris, Director at Gowling WLG adds: “Data centres are an asset class of their own now. Businesses understand it so they can invest in it.”

Emerging regions and data centres are challenging the traditional vs modern data centre approach, or rather the “old vs new” approach in technology.

The more traditional approach is where a business would have its own centre in the building, looked after by its own employees, and the new approach would be outsourcing to a data centre or migrating information to the cloud. 

Gartner predicts that the shift to a more modern approach will drive business success. A report by the firm states that by 2025, 80% of enterprises will “migrate entirely away from on-premises data centres with the current trend of moving workloads to colocation, hosting and the cloud leading them to shut down their traditional data centre.” 

Research by the business also predicts that infrastructure and operation is going to be the key to building internet infrastructure. 

“More than ever, I&O (IT Infrastructure and Operations) is becoming increasingly involved in unprecedented areas of the modern-day enterprise. The focus of I&O leaders is no longer to solely deliver engineering and operations, but instead deliver products and services that support and enable an organisation’s business strategy,” says Ross Winser, Senior Research Director at Gartner in a press release. 

Morris agrees: “it’s important to recognise the trend towards trusting another party to handle your data or the environment in which your data is stored. This trend has grown significantly over the last 20 years but we are noticing a big shift over the last 5 years  with the rise of the hyperscale cloud providers.”

“The cloud has increased the prominence of the data centre and it will be interesting to see the demand for additional capacity which artificial intelligence is predicted to require over the coming years.”