With the demand for big data continuing to challenge companies to evolve, many are seeking solutions through edge computing, micro data centers, colocation centers, and other innovations, according to various industry reports.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most significant factor driving demand, according to a recent Forbes article written by Kurt Dykema of Twisthink, a business strategy consulting firm. “With the development of mobile, cloud and security technologies, the internet of things (IoT) has become a mega trend,” Dykema said.
The statistics behind experts’ assertions that IoT could mark the next Industrial Revolution are impressive. Here are just a few predictions.
- The McKinsey Institute estimates the total IoT market size will hit $3.7 billion in 2020, up from $900 million in 2015.
- Bain & Company projects that revenue from overall IoT-related sales, including parts, software and solutions, could surpass $470 billion by 2020.
- General Electric predicts that investments in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will exceed $60 trillion during the next 15 years.
- Gartner projects that IoT devices will climb to a total of 50 billion by 2020, up from 20 billion. That demand will also drive the need for edge computing..
Those type of changes in the industry has led to numerous trends in the data center industry, including edge computing, colocation and innovative solutions. Here are a few of the trends you should be keeping an eye on.
Considered a direct outcome of growing interest in IoT, edge computing provides an alternative to cloud computing — providing a way for companies to meet consumers demand to have access on the “edge.”
As hard as it is to believe that the cloud could be facing competition, venture capitalists are betting on it because of the increasing interest in “edge” devices like driverless vehicles and drones that require self-contained computing capabilities.
“A large portion of computation that gets done in the cloud today will return to the edge,” said Peter Levine, general partner for Andreesen Horowitz. Levine was speaking at a recent CIO Network event sponsored by Wall Street Journal. He described a driverless car as a “data center on wheels.”
Because of the need for speedy computing — which is critical in avoiding crashes and being able to stop for traffic signs, edge computing is considered more reliable than cloud computing, Levine pointed out.
Edge computing also is considered preferable to cloud computing in manufacturing, in some cases, because of the need to prevent product defects.
Industry forecasters are also talking about mobile edge computing (MEC), which is defined as a platform that enhances user knowledge that allows you to deploy services inside the radio access network (RAN). It supports application developers and content suppliers by delivering an IT service and cloud computing environment, according to an article in Digital Journal.
The promising aspect of this alternative is the ability to have an exclusive mobile capability without increasing demand on a company’s network structure. It also enhances service quality as demanded by today’s applications.
Micro data centers, colocation
Companies will increasingly shift from the legacy data centers — moving toward flexible, agile data centers, micro data centers and colocation, according to various experts. It’s inevitable in response to shifting demands.
The variations in data centers include micro data centers that are owned by companies, but smaller in size and deployed in various locations. They will also operate largely in the cloud.
Outsourcing to colocation is another option for companies to quickly meet increased demands for capacity and flexibility — scaling as needed to meet shifts in demands. According to 451 Research’s Datacenter Market Sizing Forecast Model, the colocation market has grown 11 percent since 2015 and is expected to continue to grow for at least the next year.
A newly released report by IDC also noted that the demand for colocation will not subside any time soon — indicating that they will still grow in popularity alongside hyperscale and wholesale data centers. According to Greg McCulloch, CEO of Aegis Data, the scalability offered by colocation facilities gives companies the environment they need to quickly grow their IT infrastructure.
“The influence of hyperscalers in the data centre market is increasing by the year, but this won’t hinder the growth of colocation facilities,” McCulloch said in an article for Information Age.
Companies are also seeking solutions through innovative technologies, including analytics/business intelligence and cybersecurity, according to the Society for Information Management (SIM) survey.
The report revealed that “innovation” is considered a top priority among 4,500 IT managers and CIOs who responded to the survey. It rose to the fourth most cited top concern for IT in 2015 — up from eighth most important management consideration in 2014.
The 2016 study also revealed that senior IT leadership is increasingly consumer-focused, said Leon Kappelman, lead researcher for the study. “Senior IT leadership is focusing their attention and resources on being more pragmatic, holistic and business customer-focused,” he said. “This is a very important and positive change, which bodes well for the whole economy.”
“New entrants include IT agility and IT credibility, replacing velocity of business and technology change. This signals a very realistic and pragmatic change and is likely to result in significant improvements to IT and its ability to enable the business.”
The 2016 study also cited a widely held consensus that a shortage of employees with IT skills was a top concern — a trend that has been consistent since the study was first initiated about 40 years ago.