What lies ahead for the data center industry? In a continuing series, we will provide you an overview of the themes that will shape the data center in 2021 and beyond.
The Enterprise Adapts to a Changed IT Landscape
Data center infrastructure has been the driving force in the rise of the digital economy. That was never more apparent than in 2020, when cloud technology enabled society to retool to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend will continue in 2021, as the world slowly defines the contours of the “next normal” in its battle with COVID-19. It is an enormous challenge, and an enormous opportunity and digital infrastructure will be central to this transition.
The unpredictable nature of the pandemic is clear in the emergence of a fast-spreading new variant of COVID-19, which has complicated strategies for vaccination and recovery. The new reality is that flexibility, adaptability and resiliency are the business attributes that will matter most. Many organizations are not yet wired for this.
The pandemic-driven IT modernization is a continuation of the enterprise shift from on-premises legacy IT to more agile cloud technologies in third-party data centers. This has been a long, gradual process, but the pandemic has provided a “seismic jolt” to these efforts, according to IDC. In most cases, the answer will be more cloud computing.
"Cloud in all its permutations will play ever greater, and even dominant, roles across the IT industry for the foreseeable future. By the end of 2021, based on lessons learned in the pandemic, most enterprises will put a mechanism in place to accelerate their shift to cloud-centric digital infrastructure and application services twice as fast as before the pandemic."
In 2020, this translated into massive demand for hyperscale capacity, but a more mixed picture for enterprise IT investment, as some companies spent cautiously in pandemic mode. Postponing IT transformation projects won’t be an option in 2021, as companies adjust their IT roadmaps to compete in a shifting business landscape.
The pandemic has placed a premium on flexibility, which will accelerate the ongoing shift to new architectures and software-defined, programmable infrastructures. Organizations that have been studying these opportunities will need to act or risk being left behind.
"2021 will bring an accelerated adoption of cloud-native technologies across virtually every layer of the infrastructure stack, as well as for digital infrastructure orchestration from the edge to multicloud. Anything that can be automated should be automated through software. Digital growth and acceleration are here to stay, and with that realization comes the need for digital leaders to embrace the technologies and trends that will give their organizations a clear advantage."
(Free Resource from Data Center Frontier White Paper Library}