The data centre industry is growing fast. By the time 2018 comes around, the colocation market alone will achieve a global value of $33.2 billion (£27.1 billion) and almost 180 million sq ft in operational floor space, according to 451 Research.
And the industry isn’t just growing – it’s evolving, too. Today’s cloud and cloud reseller-dominated market is almost unrecognisable from a decade or two ago, when colocation ruled and terms like cloud, IoT and big data didn’t even register. With that in mind, here are our top four data centre predictions for 2017.
1. Massive growth in the cloud and IoT
A massive surge in cloud traffic will leave traditional data centre growth (meaning non-virtualised workloads) in the dust, according to Cisco. The networking giant predicted in November that 92% of workloads will be processed in the cloud by 2020, and only 8% will be processed on non-virtual infrastructure. We can expect to see this shift accelerate in 2017 as more firms in regulated industries switch to cloud, leaving behind long-standing prejudices against it.
To some degree, we should also expect to see an increase in colocation and cloud IaaS adoption as software developers and IT service providers look to create new cloud-based services – such as SaaS tools – for their own customers.
2. The rise of the hybrid cloud
Hybrid cloud adoption will continue to increase through 2017, according to Gartner. The research firm said in September: “The increased use of multiple public cloud providers [in 2017], plus growth in various types of private cloud services, will create a multicloud environment in most enterprises and a need to coordinate cloud usage using hybrid scenarios.”
However, it also pointed out that many organisations aren’t currently planning to use hybrid cloud due to integration challenges, application incompatibilities and lack of vendor support – suggesting there’s an unmet need for providers that can help their customers with the practical planning and implementation of hybrid IT.
3. Colocation customers will downscale
As more organisations turn to the cloud and virtual infrastructure, there will be an increase in colocation customers with smaller data centre footprints.
Organisations that downscale in this way should be wary of the impact this may have on their relationship with their colocation provider. For some data centres at the lower end of the market, it’s simply not cost-effective to work with customers that have smaller rack space requirements.
4. Continued consolidation
M&A activity in the data centre industry has been in overdrive for years now, and this trend of consolidation looks set to continue through 2017. This activity is a sign of a healthy market but can also have unwanted effects on service levels, and savvy customers will treat it with caution when making new data centre sourcing decisions.
For example, an independently run data centre may offer better security than one owned by a big-name provider, as the key decision-makers will be present on-site and able to provide a more personal and hands-on service to their most security-conscious customers.