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Why You Won’t Recognize the Data Center of the Future

Tom Christensen Tom Christensen
Global Technology Advisor & Executive Analyst, Hitachi Vantara

March 07, 2022

Although rumors of the demise of the data center are greatly exaggerated, the truth is, you probably won’t recognize it in a few years.

The more that organizations move to the cloud and the edge, the more IT leaders are under pressure to build infrastructures that can improve agility and deliver services closer to customers. That means everything from procurement to management, from on-premises to cloud connectivity, as well as application development are being reimagined and changing the complexion and construction of the traditional data center as we know it.

A recent ESG survey commissioned by Hitachi Vantara highlighted the continuing importance of the data center as a central component behind the push toward modern infrastructures. The emphasis on modernization was borne out by the survey results which found that 43% of enterprises identified infrastructure modernization as one of their top 5 priorities.

Asked to identify the defining aspects of their organization’s strategy for on-premises data center environments in the next three years, survey respondents chose answers that pointed to their desire to provide a modern infrastructure that’s capable of handling the myriad challenges in a fast-changing business world.

These findings resonate with us. In a recent blog, Russell Skingsley, Global Vice President, Technical Sales at Hitachi Vantara, wrote about how infrastructure is evolving, “to be more adapted to data-driven enterprise requirements and this is all about the operational agility of that infrastructure…”

Russell goes on to say, “What people may not fully appreciate is that while computers have become faster and storage has become larger, the key to making data driven decisions is about the ability to provide the easiest access to these resources to the people closest to the business – not necessarily to the people who understand computers the most.”

Radhika Krishnan, our Chief Product Officer, drilled into evolving infrastructure even further in an insightful video blog, extoling the value of the “instant infrastructure,” a concept for delivering infrastructure capabilities as a service to speed procurement, deployment and management.

The Cloud-Like Data Center

Half of the organizations surveyed in the ESG report said improving connectivity between their on-premises data centers and the cloud would be a top priority over the next three years. While close to half also said they were planning to leverage cloud-like models, including consumption pricing for infrastructure, and software-defined technologies as ways to improve performance. An obvious result of these trends will be smaller, nimbler data centers that are fine-tuned meet increasing demands on applications, computing, and storage components.

And let’s face it, as the data center grows more nimble organizations will rely increasingly on the multiple clouds they’re starting to leverage. Unfortunately, as data centers have extended to clouds, their operations have lagged, according to Premkumar Balasubramanian, Senior Vice President and CTO, Digital Solutions at Hitachi Vantara. “[They’ve] been stuck in the traditional world with silos of applications, data, and infrastructure,” he said in a recent blog. “This has led to significant challenges for enterprises in maintaining and operating cloud workloads in the most cost-efficient manner, with high levels of reliability and availability.”

Prem goes on to say that in order to ensure the cloud ecosystem is running workloads exceptionally well, organizations need to modernize their CloudOps.

When asked, what will the data center of the future look like, the answer is unmistakable: smaller, more efficient and more nimble. But perhaps a better question would be, how will it behave? The short answer is that it will be more intelligent and more automated, freeing admins from time-consuming mundane and tedious tasks. It will be more resilient as IoT and automation monitor and mitigate technical issues long before they present a threat. It will be far more interconnected and improve data-driven experiences across the entire enterprise, through the cloud and to the edge.

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Tom Christensen

Tom Christensen

Tom has +30 years' experience in data center modernization, from compute and data infrastructure to hybrid and multicloud, applications, DataOps and big data analytics. He writes extensively about technology and advocates for sustainability and social innovation.