What does hybrid working mean for data centres?

25 Aug 2021

Image: © Oleksandr Delyk/Stock.adobe.com

As hybrid working seems set to become the norm, Interxion’s Greg Casey looks at the importance of data centres and what’s on the horizon.

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As we look to a life beyond the pandemic, the world of work has and will continue to evolve. While employees still see value in working from a main office at least some of the time, recent Microsoft research found that on average, people would now like to spend approximately one-third of their time outside of the traditional office setting.

People see time spent in the office as a powerful way to maintain bonds with their colleagues. Indeed, 71pc of employees in Ireland worked remotely during the first lockdown, while leaders predict that 45pc of employees will continue to work remotely.

Similarly, leaders expect a different way of working for the foreseeable future. Consider this: in 2019, only a small minority (22pc) of companies had a set remote work policy; now a healthy majority (72pc) do.

Senior executives see the opportunity to maintain productivity gains they’ve experienced, while at the same time improve employee engagement. Microsoft’s research also found that seven in 10 leaders (73pc) reported equal or increased productivity with remote working, and more than half (68pc) saw it as a powerful way to help retain their best workers, higher than the European average of 56pc.

However, as hybrid work and cloud computing evolve, so too will the demands this places on existing and future infrastructure. As our data capacity expands, our storage solutions of this data will have to evolve. This is especially true of the data centres which will see how data is utilised and managed.

Evolving data connectivity

According to Gartner, “Traditional on-premises data centre models must evolve to play a role in modern enterprise information management.” In other words, the evolution of enterprise data centres has permanently changed the role of IT.

At one time, IT’s primary role was to protect an organisation through a controlled, logical set of processes. Now, businesses want rapid access to a vast range of new technologies and services. Hybrid IT is the new normal. Business-driven infrastructures are now simplified and standardised.

IT leaders need to adapt to new technologies and services. Some of these new changes for data centres are rolling in quickly, as businesses rapidly progress into the serverless world. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a catalyst in driving the increased demand for cloud application delivery.

What else can we expect from data centres in the future?

Colocation data centres

The IDC expects that by 2022, more than 90pc of enterprises around the world will rely on a mix of on-premises private clouds, multiple public clouds and legacy platforms to meet their infrastructure needs. The need to put their data ‘in the cloud’ is growing among businesses and data centres need to respond.

The architecture of colocation data centres can rapidly respond to demands that are increasing heavily. These centres offer lower costs, fewer technical staff, exceptional reliability and predictable expenses for businesses.

It takes the pressure off businesses to build a physical data centre themselves, which they usually do not have the resources for. And it places the responsibility in colocation data centres that can provide easier scaling option as the business grows.

Decentralisation and edge computing

As our society becomes more technologically advanced, we are starting to produce data with every device we use in our daily lives. As our society grows, so too does the amount of data and soon it will become economically unviable to continuously transfer data to a centralised location.

This has started to increase the demand in decentralised data centres to process local traffic and in turn, keeps the data closer than before to the end-user applications. According to Gartner, more than 75pc of all enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside of the traditional data centre or cloud by 2025.

Sustainable data centres

With global attention on the impact of the climate crisis, businesses will continue to play a leading role in making progress towards more sustainable practices. It is at the forefront of the data centre industry that innovations in design and management are being made in order to improve the power ratio efficiency between server load and transformer load.

As we see growth in the data centre space and development in their capabilities, we are only getting closer to faster and more seamless connections. Ireland is leading the way in this technology ahead of the rest of Europe, with many companies favouring our temperate climate.

By Greg Casey

Greg Casey is a sales director at Interxion.