How data centres within a wider digital ecosystem can give your organisation a competitive edge
What will the data centre of the future look like? One view is that it will be tall - perhaps very tall. Within the next few years, experts say, data centres could be driven by rail-based robotics capable of scaling your entire rack. This means data centre builders won't be limited by horizontal expansion space and could fashion efficient structures that scaled upwards, not just out. Deploying robots could also lead to less downtime, as every aspect of data centre management would be forecast and controlled. And as robots can't see, costly variables like lighting could simply be eliminated.
While we may not have arrived at the robot-driven, 'lights out' data centre of the future quite yet, technology is moving at breakneck speed, putting IT teams under pressure to redefine their data centre strategies.
In the past, it's likely that your organisation built its own data centre, tailored to its needs. Your infrastructure team probably spent most of its time performing routine maintenance and upgrades, and firefighting the end-user problems arising from that centre. But not only do IT staff now have to provide an utterly professional, solid core infrastructure, they also have to deal with their company's need to succeed in an increasingly digital world. High-speed broadband, big data and analytics, mobility and the cloud have become the driving forces behind the rapid evolution of digital businesses. Firms are making huge efficiencies as they master these digital technologies to improve their operations and their marketing effectiveness, seizing the opportunity to alter the value they can bring to customers.
The Internet of Things (IoT) and its potential to bring every object, consumer and activity into the digital realm, is set to vastly multiply the amount of data that businesses and governments process. According to a recent report, by 2020 IoT will drive the creation of more than 25 million apps and 50 trillion gigabytes of data, and see 4 billion people connected to the global network.
If your organisation uses data to create differentiating value, this means no let-up for the IT team - quite the reverse. Technology teams can expect to continue allocating many resources to supporting their enterprise's new digital initiatives, instead of focusing on core IT needs. Organisations won't have a lot of time to act, either, because these changes to a data-saturated, hyper-connected and broadband world are global - the ground is shifting under our feet.
Enter the digital data centre
The need to free up IT teams to focus on areas such as development and innovation has never been more pressing. But what if your data centre provider could help with that? What if you outsourced your data centre requirements to an innovation hub - a ready-made, 'rentable' scalable environment for planning, launching and refining long-term strategies? What if this digital centre directly connected you to partners who shared synergies with your business, so you could get expert support with implementation and guidance on managing infrastructure in convenient and secure locations?
Far-sighted digital businesses are recognising the implications of tapping into data centres that don't just sell power, space and cooling facilities, but have transformed into digital ecosystems with powerful online tools and fast interconnections to data, business partners and essential services. They are realising that by placing themselves at the centre of these ecosystems and mastering new digital relationships with potential partners, they can scale up, achieve advanced agility and shape business outcomes in new ways.
Join the digital centre revolution
What might this look like in practise? A digital data centre that is also a vibrant, connected digital ecosystem should be able to give you access to a huge choice of broadband and mobile networks, internet exchange points, content distribution networks and fixed lines.
You should also be able to quickly and safely migrate some or all of your organisation's workloads across a global network. At the same time, you could take advantage of easy integration with public, private and hybrid clouds.
The benefits could include:
- growing more quickly and with less risk with a proven partner for infrastructure management
- gaining the ability to scale globally by leveraging secure locations in multiple markets
- connecting with a wide range of cloud providers and Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Software as a Service solutions.
Becoming a digital enterprise is no longer simply about becoming more efficient. It is also about operating in a smarter world where doing business looks very different. In this environment, proactive enterprises are letting market-leading specialists - and one day, perhaps even robots - manage their IT infrastructure. This is allowing them to focus on their core business, manage costs and lower risk. Will your organisation be one of them?
Learn more about the future of the Digital Ecosystem at www.digitalcentre2020.com
Ricky Cooper, Vice President (@RickyCoop)