The role of the data centre in the future of Data Management



by Susan Bowen, CEO and President, Aptum

According to a recent article in Data Economy, annual spending on cloud infrastructure services increased from virtually zero in 2000, to almost $100bn USD by the end of 2019.

As data consumption continues to increase, cloud computing infrastructure has become an increasingly vital component in business continuity. Organisations are now looking to explore the relationship between data and their own objectives more holistically, with cloud computing and data-driven decision-making being crucial components to business success.

The same article uncovered an equally important phenomenon; investment in building data centres has somewhat plateaued over recent years.  Businesses using data centres are now increasingly looking to exploit the physical IT assets in them much more effectively and efficiently.

We are now operating in an environment where data is the lifeblood of modern society and has revolutionised the business landscape. And as a result, the role of the data centre is changing. 

With that in mind, organizations must create a comprehensive data strategy to work hand-in-hand with a cloud roadmap. When an organization decides to undergo a digital transformation, they should always begin by defining business outcomes and agree on what they want to achieve.

Innovation in hybrid cloud solutions

In 2018, IDC predicted that globally the amount of data that businesses will be digitally storing will grow by 61 per cent to 175 zettabytes by 2025, (1 zettabyte is a billion terabytes), with as much of it being held in the cloud as in data centres.

Technologists have started to leverage the power of cloud to help the world better manage and derive true value out of cloud services and their vast quantities of data. 

Recent research has revealed that in the years between 2000 to 2019, the average spending growth for data centres was only 4 per cent, but for cloud services it was 56 per cent. This is not to say that data centres no longer fulfil crucial storage duties. 

The way we use data centres is constantly evolving with the technology that we use to enable data collection.

Transformative innovations, such as 5G that will increase the need for data centre facilities, are already being architected.


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The investment in higher connectivity speeds and reduced latency will lead to a freer flow of data and its manifestations, from practical augmented reality to real-time AI support in automation.

This explosion of data is often expressed in the need to hyperscale the data centre – looking to make them as efficient, scalable, and reliable as possible. When companies feel their infrastructure can no longer meet their requirements, the responsibility can be outsourced to hyperscale data centres.

As the way we collect data evolves to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT), and the number of mobile devices we use continues to grow, workloads will increasingly move from on-premise servers to these scalable services.

Long-term dynamics

Hyperscale data centres present tremendous opportunities for businesses, but only a few enterprises have the appropriate skills and expertise to get started on their own.

CIOs will need to engage with strategic partners who are able to understand their business; partners with the expertise to help them plot their adoption of hyperscale technology to maximise the benefits of super-dense, super-efficient hyperscale resources.

The next stage for the data centre is to embrace the interaction between private and public cloud, IoT, edge computing and 5G within a true hybrid solution. Hybrid solutions will increase the speed of interaction of high volumes of data between disparate digital locations, from when it is first collected to where it is managed.

As faster speeds from 5G, and the ability of AI improves on-the-spot decisions, computing at the edge will increase substantially. More data will be processed on-site, increasing the need for edge data centres. According to Global Market Insights, the edge data centre market is expected to reach $16 billion by 2025. With the power of 5G, edge data centres will bring businesses’ data closer to the end-user improving access and performance.

The immediate future of the data centre, in either edge or hyperscale form, lies within hybrid and multi-cloud structures. This will ensure maximum interaction between data obtained from emerging technologies. In fact, the data centre itself could harness the potential of these technologies to improve its own efficiencies. 

Despite the disruption the data centre has undergone, with edge computing, colocation and hybrid solutions all making their mark, it will always be at the foundation of business transformation. Cloud is used almost universally amongst enterprises, and their dependence on the data centre will not stop any time soon.”

The author is Chief Executive Office and President at Canadian-headquartered Aptum, which enables customers to unlock the potential of their data as infrastructure to drive tangible business outcomes and maximise the value of their technology investments.

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