It’s January, which means it’s that time of the year where IT organizations dust off their crystal ball and attempt to make grand predictions about which technology or solution is set to take the industry by storm. While no one at datacenters.com has the gift of precognition, we are constantly tracking the trends that matter most to our users. After reviewing the analytics for 2021, we have a pretty solid understanding of the solutions and technologies that were in most demand and which niche products surged late in the year, perhaps signaling an area of growth in the year to come if trends continue.
We’ve identified several themes that are set to play a large role in the direction the data center industry takes in 2022. Many of the themes deal with similar issue. The underlying theme of many of the trends deal with handling growth and how to scale efficiently. Below is a high level breakdown of each theme set to dominate the industry this year. We’ll spend more time throughout the year digging into each one in more detail.
Automation in the Data Center
Data centers have long been highly automated environments. The digital transformation has led to the proliferation of environmental sensors in racks and servers which allow organizations to track many critical aspects of their infrastructure utilizing software. This philosophy has expanded beyond typical infrastructure management to include automation solutions that integrate artificial intelligence.
Data center automation allows for the routine day to day activities of a facility to be completely managed and executed without humans. These tasks include scheduling, monitoring, general maintenance, and application delivery. These solutions allow for the data center management team to focus more of their attention and time on mission critical tasks. Solutions that allow data center operators to focus on client facing activities will continue to be in high demand throughout the year.
AI Becomes More Widespread
Artificial Intelligence is one of the primary tools in facility automation as it holds a great deal of promise for automating infrastructure so that it requires less human touch to remain functional. The end game is creating an environment where data center workers are deeply integrated with technology automation, each making the others job easier, as opposed to the technology replacing the worker.
Google has utilized AI to assist with managing the cooling systems in their data centers, allowing for real time updates on changes in weather or workloads so that the system can allocate resources to particular areas of the facility as needed. AI is also commonly used to monitor emergency backup generators by examining the machinery at a microscopic level with sound and video, sending alerts to human staff when a defect or change in functioning is detected. Based on our interactions with data center providers this past year, machine learning software which focuses on maximizing the efficiency of a data centers hardware will remain a point of emphasis.
M&A Deals Will Continue to Shatter Records
Private Equity Firms are taking over the data center market. The last few years have all shown the same thing in regards to data center investment: the market is being bought up by firms forming joint ventures with some of the largest publicly traded data center providers in the world.
The last year continued to show us that private equity firms view data centers as one of the best ways to make money. The underlying strategy they’ve had in most of these groundbreaking deals is to pump funding into existing data center providers so that the acquired company can increase their market share, thus creating a healthy ROI for investors. We can expect the valuations of these types of funding deals and acquisitions to increase over time as data center services become more and more essential.
Multicloud Solutions Gain Popularity
Multi-cloud systems are becoming increasingly popular, and this trend shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
As organizations try to accommodate the cloud infrastructure of the companies they buy, multicloud may not be a strategy but rather a predicament in which an organization has found itself in. This issue is a regular occurrence following the merging of two companies whose differing cloud environments inadvertently create a multi vendor cloud strategy overnight. One organization may utilize Amazon web services while the other has Google Cloud, and just like that the main goal of the IT department shifts to bridging the gap between these two services.
Whatever brought an organization from a single cloud provider to multiple clouds, the prevalence of cloud providers, and the proprietary software that comes along with it, will mean that more and more organizations will have to integrate a multicloud solution into their IT budget.
Marketplace Adoption Reaches New Heights
eCommerce has become a vital part of our collective buying habits throughout the last two decades. Enterprises can leverage these new habits by utilizing an eCommerce platform and strategy that allows customers to shop how and when they want.
This is especially true for enterprise IT management teams who typically have a lot on their plate. Given the technology available to organizations today, there’s no reason a client shouldn’t be able to find pricing and procure colocation space or cloud storage resources at the click of a button and on their own time. If a business can provide this option for its consumers, they will appeal to a broader array of clients who are all looking for a convenient and flexible experience.
As the market increasingly shifts to the digital marketplace, building a solid eCommerce platform can give organizations the ability to remain relevant in a shifting market. Whether it’s purchasing colocation or cloud solutions, IT decision makers are no different than an other consumer in that they want to see transparent pricing available for solutions that can be purchased with the click of a button.