Data Centres, making it all possible

As all the conversations around IT today seem to focus largely on the cloud it would be easy to forget how important the role of the data centre remains. Whether you've already migrated files, application workloads and test environments to the cloud, or you're managing everything on premise, it's data centres - yours or the cloud provider's - that make everything possible. While the humble data centre may not be the hottest conversation topic today it remains a foundation of any successful IT initiative.

Why data centres are so relevant today

Whether you're engaging with IT as a business owner or a consumer, it's data centres that make everything possible, from high security storage to streaming films. Despite the enormous buzz around cloud computing, demand for colocation in European data centres hit all-time highs this year (according to research by CBRE). This development makes a lot of sense - while cloud computing means that businesses don't need to maintain their own data centres, that doesn't remove the need for them altogether.

Not all data centres are the same

Perhaps you're maintaining your own data centre - or you're effectively using the data centre of a cloud provider. Either way, it's important to acknowledge that not all data centres are the same and you need to be aware of the opportunities and limitations of those that you have access to. Faster components and higher capacities can be impressive but may be stalled if different components of the data centre don't work well together. It's crucial to continue asking the key questions - for example, when it comes to your own data centre do you have the hardware in place to keep up with competitors who have migrated to the cloud. And, if you're using a cloud provider, are you getting the best from what they have to offer?

The impact of analytics

The current trend towards analytics is being amplified by the potential that exists in combining analytics and machine learning. Applying this combination to big data sets can be completely transformative for businesses - but it puts a lot of pressure on data centres, particularly at the point where storage meets compute. In future only the best equipped data centres may be able to cope.

The influence of edge computing

The idea of de-centralised data centres is also transforming the way that we use this resource. Edge computing, as this is also known, effectively puts computational power closer to the edge of your network where data is being collected. This can serve to minimise time that is wasted moving data between data centres and end points. Such an approach has involved innovation, for example evolving data centres, deploying miniature versions that are resilient in a hostile environment.

The new hardware

As the demands on data centres are changing so too is the hardware available to construct them. Frequently now this hardware is being designed for this type of new high intensity workload and low-latency is a key goal. Some of the newest hardware has been created with DRAM-level speeds so that data analytics workloads can be performed in-memory.

Data centres have always been central to IT and will remain so, regardless of how popular cloud computing becomes. Given the evolution taking place in the world of data centres, even more could be possible in the years to come.

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