Digital Infrastructure Trends in 2021

The pandemic had a large impact on critical infrastructure providers and revealed the importance of digital across a wide range of industries and activities. With that in the background, the team from the Uptime Institute provided their thoughts about current developments in mission critical digital infrastructure, including five trends to be on the lookout for 2021: Accountability, Smarter Data Centers, Edge Computing, Sustainability and Innovation.

As organizations send more of their data, storage, and processing to the cloud, including mission critical services, they are in some cases losing the high standards of their own Data Centers. Outsourcing means giving up some control and in some cases may not be transparent. The organization itself, not the provider, is responsible for the data, as well as direct and reputational costs, in the event of a loss or breach. SLAs don’t make you whole. This year, there will be a focus on accountability from those who manage, or deal, with data.

Smarter, Darker Data Centers
At the beginning of 2020, there was already a move toward remote monitoring and automation of Data Centers—to reduce staff to deal with staffing shortages and crises like extreme weather events. According to Uptime, half of IT Data Center managers have difficulty hiring qualified staff. The arrival of the pandemic highlighted the need to have a more remote approach to operations and management of even large Data Centers. Implementing a remote, data driven approach is more than simply putting in the technology—it’s an iterative process involving AI, testing and human effort to build a trusted system.

Edge computing is not a monolith, it is a network of networks that grows based on demand and organizational requirements. To be truly effective, organizations need to tap into an Edge ecosystem of suppliers, who can support diverse and complex deployments and exploit software-defined networks. As demand increases, there will be more smaller Data Centers, as well. The Edge is not a destination; it is an evolution of putting computing power as close to the end user as possible.

In the past ten years, there have been 1,900 pieces of climate change regulation enacted. 2021 will be an important year. For Data Centers, which are significant energy consumers, thinking about energy efficiency and sustainability is not just about recycling and reporting for corporate sustainability reports. The past twelve months have highlighted the critical need to deal effectively with climate change—this will lead to mandatory compliance, either through legislation or supply chain pressure.

New technologies are poised to find their way into Data Centers, if they haven’t already, and will change the very nature of how these critical facilities operate.

  • Storage class memory has ramifications for server performance, storage strategies and power management
  • Silicon phototonics is anticipated to revolutionize server and Data Center design
  • ARM servers lead the way in low-powered compute engines
  • Software-defined power will virtualize power assets and change the entire relationship with power and energy

As you think about these trends, and what 2021 will bring for your data center, Data Specialties can help. Whether it is building out new Edge facilities or a Modular Data Center, delivering improved energy efficiency, or consulting with you to help understand how to take advantage of new innovations, DSI can help. Contact us today to learn how you can follow these trends in your own mission critical facility. Contact DSI