The Implications of Cloud on the Data Center

Globally, the cloud computing market is experiencing a sustained and consistent growth across industries. A Forbes article predicted that the worldwide cloud computing market will grow at a 36% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2016, reaching a market size of $19.5 billion by 2016.

A Cisco Global Cloud Index report, too, has presented some very interesting statistics in this regard. The report states that by 2017 the amount of traffic crossing the Internet and IP WAN networks is projected to reach 1.4 zb per year. However, the amount of traffic crossing the Data Center is already 2.6 zb per year. What’s more, by 2017 the amount of traffic crossing the data center will be tripled to reach 7.7 zb per year. That’s a stunning 25% CAGR. Another very interesting piece of statistic from the same report is that by 2017 the data center alone would be handling 69% of the cloud traffic. These numbers clearly accentuate the fact that not only is the cloud computing market here to stay and evolving together with the data center, but it is also pushing the sales of products and services of data center vendors and service providers.

However, we might just be tempted to examine what’s driving this significant traffic growth?
How does the data center industry meet the growing demands of both the users and the business?

Well, for starters, there could be many reasons:

  • Today the users have access to fresh technologies and ever-expanding choice of gadgets at their fingertips to connect in newer ways possible
  • Every day more content is being created, delivered, and consumed
  • New advances in cloud computing, rapid adoption of cloud architectures, increased virtualization, networking technologies, and automation of cloud data centers
  • Mobility, increased availability of resources, and data center optimization

There is another school of thought that over the years data center vendors have significantly increased their ability to handle higher traffic loads. The data center vendors must get future-ready with strategies that strengthen the cloud computing infrastructure which in turn increases the demand for data centers in the market. A typical data center should be able manage important aspects like data workloads, operating conditions, data protection, security, and the requirements for new storage. However, as these aspects start to take center-stage, organizations will look up to the data center provider to bail out a large part of the IT infrastructure.

The adoption of cloud computing is growing exponentially. This phenomenon is catalyzing a technological push that is driving the evolution of data centers to the next level — everything from the cloud computing architecture to software and control processes is evolving. This paradigm shift is forcing data center operators to adapt to new and emerging technology like never before.

The correlation between a data center and cloud is intertwined – it varies based on usage of the data center or a 3rd party cloud provider. For example, if everything is moved to a public cloud provider such as Amazon or Windows Azure, then it is their data center that needs to expand to support the requirements of the customer’s growth and demands. The same holds true if it’s a private cloud and the growth incurs internally within an organization’s data center.

Data Center Administrators will have to be smart to re-strategize their plans around the fact that with increased usage brings increased energy consumption. They’ll also have to consider that managing a heterogeneous cloud computing environment becomes increasingly complex due to a greater variety of computing resources that are being offered. The admins must strive to be as proactive and agile as possible. They should devise plans on various levels starting with designing intelligent systems from the hardware to the software layer by teaming up with networking, infrastructure and cloud architects. As the dependency on the date center increases, administrators must look devise strategies to deploy new types of automation and orchestration solutions that take care of the entire technology stack.

In summary, it is clear that the cloud, at least for the next few years, is largely dependent on data centers. The work of a typical data center – to provide access to people to do their jobs efficiently – stays the same as the cloud increases it rather than eliminates it.  Any organization that wants to leverage the power of cloud cannot risk ignoring the data center.

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