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To safeguard against disruption we must think hyperscale

19th August 2020
Lanna Cooper

Today’s global businesses are stepping up their cloud and IoT adoption to achieve never-before-seen levels of connectivity. It is the role of data centre providers to stay ahead of the technological curve and ensure the huge demands of modern IT infrastructure are met.

Guest blog written by Hiroshige Sugihara - Head of APAC, Colt DCS

This doesn’t just mean meeting capacity requirements; modern data centre customers expect a high degree of flexibility and absolute reliability.

Therefore, if operators are to stay ahead of the pack, customer service and collaboration should not just be 'a nice to have', it must be at the centre of every service we provide.

An explosion in growth

When it comes to providing data centre services for the modern enterprise, hyperscale is the name of the game. Meeting business demand requires data centre facilities to grow as customers grow and this means data centres are now larger than ever.

Only a few years ago we were referring to capacity requirements for customers in kilowatts. These days we are seeing customer data demand exceeding the 20MW range as large businesses demand faster and more complex cloud and IoT services. The current demand levels we are seeing are only set to grow bigger with analyst firm Gartner predicting that there will be as many as 5.8 billion enterprise and automotive endpoints by the end of 2020.

This means hyperscale facilities need to be able to rapidly increase capacity for customers, whilst also ensuring they are operating at peak efficiency at all times. Operators who fail to incorporate scalability into their product roadmaps risk falling behind and losing enterprise customers to data centre providers that are better suited to their needs. 

Safeguarding against disruption

As we think about where the hyperscale data centre industry is headed, it is important to consider the impact COVID-19 has had. Despite the disruption we have seen the past few months, the demand for connectivity has not slowed down.

In fact, it is only accelerating further, as more employees continue to work from home and businesses focus on cloud migration as a part of their backup plans in case of another wave of shutdowns. No matter what the future may hold, data centre providers who wish to retain customers must be dedicated to supporting businesses through these momentous shifts.

This not only requires increased scalability and physical capacity, but also means operators must have the correct management and security protocols in place to ensure facilities can cope with the increased load. A data centre is only as effective as its operator, so when we take into account the sheer physical and virtual size of a hyperscale facility catering for multiple 20MW customers, staffing and management expertise is crucial for ensuring smooth operations.

This means increased staffing and enhanced management systems to proactively anticipate and diagnose infrastructure and network issues to avoid damaging down-time.

We must think globally

Despite the disruptions we have seen in the past few months, the hyperscale data centre market has continued to grow. So far this year, there has already been 26 new hyperscale builds across the globe.

With so much demand for connectivity, competition amongst operators is only set to become fiercer as firms vie for contracts with the ever-growing list of enterprises operating in established and emerging hubs across the globe. The APAC market in particular is one to watch with revenue expected to reach $32bn by 2023.

As we have seen previously in markets such as Europe and the US, the most successful data centre operators in emerging markets will not only be the ones that enter the region first, but also the ones that are able prove themselves to be capable of meeting current and future customer requirements.

Sustainability is coming into focus

Climate change is one of the most important challenges faced by the world today. As a power intensive industry, the data centre sector does hold a significant responsibility in continually looking to develop more environmentally friendly practices.

Environmental responsibility requires us to continuously rethink the way we design and operate data centre facilities. All the while, we must strike a synergy between sustainability and business goals if companies are to keep up with capacity demands and remain competitive.

Continued hyperscale expansion presents operators with a real opportunity to boost sustainability goals through new builds. This way data centre firms can address sustainability and efficiency from the very beginning, incorporating efficiency measures from the planning and design stages, right the way through to construction and operation. We must strive for absolute efficiency across all areas of our facility life cycles and it is much easier to do so with new facilities rather than by retrofitting older data centres.

However, if the industry is to reach the worthy goal of 100% sustainability, we must also invest in alternative energy sources such as solar and hydro-electric power. Procurement of green renewable energy is key to drastic reductions in the industry’s carbon footprint.

So far, this year has been disruptive, challenging and rewarding all in one. Despite the difficulties we have faced, the future is still looking bright for hyperscale operators across the globe. If we can be certain of anything at the moment, it is that the world is set to become more connected than ever before.

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