With data demands reaching new levels in 2020, the role of the data centre is set to take centre stage for IT leaders. Against a backdrop of constant disruption and increasingly ambitious enterprise and cloud strategies, how do you ensure that your data centre is futureproofed, so that you stay ahead of the game, rather than react to it?
New figures from Synergy Research Group show that enterprises are now spending more money annually on their cloud infrastructure services than on data centre hardware.
This means that colocation is emerging as the norm, with providers and cloud infrastructure service providers designing solutions that truly optimise hybrid deployments. Certainly what we’re seeing alongside this is a rise in decentralised infrastructure, accommodating distributed workflows, as more businesses need – and want – to be closer to their points of data. Interconnected colocation locations become essential here.
As more enterprises adopt colocation and managed hosting services, expect to see more in terms of hybrid architectures too. This allows organisations to hold onto control of sensitive data while, at the same time, meeting sky-rocketing demands for additional capacity and capabilities. Connectivity, availability and seamless communication essentially become the standard of the new data ecosystem.
The efficiency of your cloud provider matters. Figures show that data centres use an estimated 200TWh annually. This is nearly 40% more than the entire UK altogether and consumption is forecast to double every four years.
What many customers don’t immediately realise is that the efficiency of a data centre provider can have a knock on effect on their customers’ costs and ultimately their bottom line. Infrastructure management, power distribution, process automation and effective cooling solutions will have a part to play.
All eyes are on data centres when it comes sustainability and real innovations are coming through in terms of renewable energy options as well as money saving technology. Increasingly customers want to see evidence of sustainability in their IT infrastructure so be prepared for energy efficient solutions and commitments to affect decision-making, from both customers and regulators.
Key to our sustainability strategy is energy efficiency. We explicitly set out to be one of the most efficient sites in the UK and we replaced 8 UPS over the last two weeks. This has led to a reduction of 109,069kg of CO2/year and has reduced our PUE to 1.12.
And, as with all data centres, we’re working in long cycles, so investing in equipment with a 10-20 year lifespan is essential, to ensure it’s fit for purpose further down the line. Of course, there’s a multiple perspective too. Sustainability was a design priority when we built the data centre, second only to resiliency. It means we can deliver tangible benefits to our customers; with the cost of electricity expected to rise, being energy efficient means we can pass on the savings to our customers so that they get better value over the long-term.
We help support the National Grid by being able to synchronise our generators and act as a power station. The generators sit idle most of the time – they’re there for emergencies. When we – and other generator owners – make our assets available to generate power for the grid, we’re reducing the need for more power stations that sit idle the whole time.
Infrastructure is stagnating. This means that, as IT leaders, there’s the opportunity to drive innovation in new and unexpected ways. As collaboration tools continue to transform the way we work, our expectations around productivity as well as how we connect with customers and colleagues, we identified a way to replicate this within our own service, at the same time empowering our clients with access to their infrastructure and performance.
We created our unique Vision customer portal to drive innovation across delivery and longer term maintenance and support. It centralises client account data and ensures a collaborative approach with users and our expert tech team, driving more effective implementations alongside 24/7 technical support, continuously evolving with customer needs.
The data centre of the future will demand a new level of leadership, as businesses focus on collaboration, resilience and security with more intensity than ever, while meeting the exponential growth of data demand. For tech leaders, this means developing a strategy of continual innovation, improvement and communication to benefit our diverse communities – from our customers, people and investors through to local, global and environmental.