As the world moved online seemingly overnight in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the criticality of data centers and the unrelenting reliance on them across all walks of life became an enduring storyline of the crisis. This reality will manifest in new ways in 2021 as the data center and the information ecosystem orbiting it emerge from the pandemic with a fourth utility criticality, complete with all the expectations and responsibilities that implies. This is among the emerging 2021 data center trends identified by experts from Vertiv.
Data centers have long been held to high availability standards, but the shift toward utility-like status will be noticeable in two ways. First, those high expectations for network availability will extend deep into rural and remote areas, bringing critical applications to more of the population. This will increase pressure on data centers to maintain connectivity even at the outer edges of their networks. Second, any distinction between availability and connectivity will be erased, as the ability to ensure and protect connections across increasingly distributed hybrid networks becomes as much of a requirement as any traditional measure of data center uptime.
“Data centers have been moving toward public utility-type status for some time, but the pandemic has crystalized the need to establish the kinds of official guardrails that have been commonplace across other utilities,” said Gary Niederpruem, chief strategy and development officer for Vertiv. “This isn’t just about working from home, although that is part of it. More importantly, it is about supporting the digital economy in its most mission-critical forms, which include increased reliance on telemedicine and health, enhanced e-commerce, and global telecommunications and mass media.”
The pandemic effectively established a new baseline for digital infrastructure as the industry adjusts to and eventually moves beyond the global shutdown. Against this backdrop, Vertiv’s experts identified several other emerging trends to watch in 2021. They are:
“Recovery requires a change in mindset for most organizations,” said John-David Lovelock, distinguished research vice president at Gartner, in a recent statement. “There is no bouncing back. There needs to be a reset focused on moving forward.”
“India is undergoing a dramatic digital shift as a result of the current pandemic. Organizations and governments are automating several business processes in order to ensure business continuity while operating remotely. With disrupted supply chains, increased data loads as a result of the lockdowns, and new remote working models, it is imperative for companies to be equipped with the right kind of digital infrastructure capable of supporting and growing business operations. As we progress into a new year, businesses will need to build more resilient processes that are backed by strong new-age technology, to ensure they are more insulated and prepared in the event of another global crisis,” said A.S. Prasad – general manager, product & marketing, Vertiv India.