Enterprises must “commit to planning” for future data needs


Businesses across industries will be unable to leverage full 5G capability unless they “commit to planning for future requirements”.

A Vertiv Forbes Insights survey, which questioned 150 senior executives and data engineers from multiple industries, has uncovered a systemic lack of readiness to upgrade data centre infrastructure.

Only 11% of surveyed C-suite executives and 1% of data centre engineers, said their centres are updated ahead of current needs, with security (45%) and bandwidth/speed (43%) named as key areas for enhancement.

In fact, as few as 29% of leaders and engineers said their data centres actually met current needs and, adding to the environmental challenges, 45% of respondents said the complexity of regulations had increased.

The report read: “The challenges facing organisations suggest that most are unprepared for the near future. The way that executives and engineers view the capabilities of their data centres also indicates a lack of readiness.

“This suggests that most organisations are not ready for the onslaught of data and connectivity and they won’t have adequate processing power to leverage the edge and 5G, unless they commit to planning for future requirements,” it continued.

Not only do the findings paint a worrying picture for the short-term future, they also highlight a disparity in attitudes towards risk and capability between engineers and C-suite executives. For example, 24% of surveyed executives believe their data centres require upgrade, compared with 19% of engineers.

Further, 31% of executives focus on the implementation of new technologies as required, compared to 12% of engineers, and 23% of executives are more concerned about facilities issues, compared to 12% of engineers.

On Bandwidth/speed 48% of engineers believe their data centres are unprepared for the future, compared to 39% of executives.

“Given advancements to come, it’s crucial for organisations to be prepared ahead of current needs. That very few respondents believe they are at that level suggests that many organisations are not prepared to adapt,” the report warned.


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The findings mark a departure from the usual commentary around future data centre needs – stepping away from talk of M2M, AI and robotics, this report has focused extensively on the practicalities and mechanics of operating a data centre in future.

As a result, it found the road to 2025 is littered with challenges.

Last month CB Insights predicted that 175 zettabytes of data will exist by 2025 and this growth will define future data centre development over the coming five years.

In response, Forbes anticipates a shift from local data centres to distributed computing that combines multiple architectures. Therefore, upgrading the data centre and working with vendors and partners who offer solutions focused on the edge should be addressed as a priority, the survey advised.

Self-configuring and self-healing data centres will also be critical to the agility of businesses and leaders are acutely aware of this opportunity: 71% of C-suite executives agree self-configuring and self-healing data centres will reduce costs.

“Ultimately, this capability could reduce workload for engineers, enable IT staff to focus on other areas and address an array of technical pain points,” the report read.

However, with a potential brain drain on the horizon, even this silver lining could bring challenges. An attrition rate of 16% is predicted across the infrastructure workforce in the next five years, while 40% of C-suite executives and 37% of engineers in this survey said they likely to retire in the next 10 years. 

On one hand this means a much needed change in culture and attitudes could be on the horizon. On the other hand, it could also mean the next generation of leaders is set to inherit a series of unprecedented challenges in an environment where few posses the experience to address them.

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