Data Center Trends to Know in 2023

Posted May 19, 2023 by Sayers 

Is your current data center model meeting the needs of your organization? Knowing what trends will impact your data center can help you reevaluate your infrastructure and sharpen your strategy.

As you consider what’s relevant for your data center, here’s what’s happening in the areas of compute, storage, hybrid cloud, business continuity, and disaster recovery.

Compute Trends Include Server Consolidation And Multi-Vendor Data Centers

Questions to consider for your data center include how much processing power and memory you need to run applications, and how many core systems will meet those requirements.

As core processor vendors such as AMD are increasing core counts up to 128, server consolidation becomes a viable option. Consolidation reduces energy consumption and carbon footprint as well as licensing costs for host servers.

Looking beyond the core, organizations are bringing more power to their remote edge networks. This shift places computing capacity and data processing closer to edge devices such as smartphones, wearable devices, and IoT sensors. As the effect of digital transformation on the enterprise drives computing to the edge, Gartner predicts:

By 2025, more than 50% of enterprise-critical data will be created and processed outside the data center or cloud.

Another area affecting compute in the data center is the supply chain. Supply chain issues have led some organizations to expand their choice of vendors so they can meet their business requirements. Organizations with multiple platforms from different vendors need to choose the right management suite of tools for single-pane-of-glass manageability, ease of automation, and firmware upgrades.

Unstructured Data Growth And Ransomware Drive Data Center Storage Needs 

According to Statista, the volume of data created, captured, copied, and consumed worldwide is projected to exceed 180 zettabytes by 2025. Most of that is rapidly growing unstructured data that’s not stored in a structured database format, such as machine-generated data gathered from sensors, websites, and applications.

Stephen Johnson, Solutions Architect, says,

“Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems used in managing daily business operations are getting more granular in what data they’re storing. It’s going to keep compiling and compiling, and organizations need help managing all their unstructured data.”

Tools such as Hitachi’s Pentaho business intelligence system help blend structured and unstructured data for data integration, reporting, and analysis. 

On the security front, concerns about ransomware have led more companies to increase their data center storage to deal with the threat. When the speed of recovery is critical, all-flash storage solutions such as Pure Storage’s FlashBlade for long-term storage are a good choice for backups.

“A ransomware attack is a disaster,” says Kevin Finch, Sayers Senior Business Continuity Architect. “You need the right tools in place to deal with it, including enough storage for an indelible copy of your data. You easily could need to roll back 21 days on your data to recover from a ransomware attack and pull things back to the time before you got infected.”

Take A Cloud-Smart Approach With Hybrid Cloud

For many organizations, their public cloud journey begins as a first step with a hybrid cloud approach for back-up purposes, replicating their on-premise array into an object store in public cloud.

Other organizations might follow with a cloud-first strategy to take advantage of the speed and predictability of cloud computing, moving all new applications and infrastructure to the cloud. Mark McCully, Sayers Senior Solutions Architect, recommends instead a cloud-smart approach that considers which data and applications should actually be in the cloud versus on-premise. McCully says:

“Instead of cloud-first, we realized we need to be cloud-smart. Not everything makes financial sense or performance sense to be in the cloud, depending on what your data gravity journey is.”

Data gravity – the idea that as datasets become larger they tend to attract more applications and services – can make it more difficult to move large, on-premise databases to the cloud. The performance of some applications can suffer if you move them further from the data.

McCully says, “We’re talking with customers to determine where they are in their cloud journey, help them discover which vendors can do storage or compute in both public and private environments, and also doing some data protection in the hybrid environment. It’s important to understand the technologies and how they work from the data protection standpoint.”

Some organizations are choosing a hybrid cloud environment to consolidate backup and recovery solutions. But do the math on virtual private cloud pricing, since the pennies add up when you’re moving a petabyte of data. Finch also advises:

“Make sure you’ve done the math on how long it will take you to recover from the cloud back to your local data center, or vice versa. Bandwidth can be a huge limiting factor if you’re trying to recover a petabyte of data. Instead of hours, that could take days depending on how big your pipe is.”

Other organizations are moving beyond hybrid cloud and giving up their data centers altogether. FedEx announced they’re moving from their current hybrid cloud model to a “zero data center, zero mainframe environment” based in the cloud, which they expect to achieve $400 million in annual savings.

Business Continuity And Disaster Recovery Impact Data Center Strategy

Organizations that don’t want to double their data center infrastructure to be able to recover from a disaster are turning to hybrid cloud or cloud as storage options for recovery. 

Business continuity and disaster recovery not only have implications for storage but also spotlight the increasing number of regulations facing many industries including banking, financial services, and healthcare.

“New regulations are coming down the pipe all the time,” Finch says. “For example, the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022, signed into law in March 2022, requires businesses to report to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within 72 hours if they get hit by a ransomware attack. If they actually pay a ransom, they have to report the payment within 24 hours.”

A health check for any organization should include an assessment of program maturity for business continuity and disaster recovery. “Many organizations haven’t thought about how mature their BC or DR programs are, and whether they’re close to best practices in terms of processes and governance,” Finch says. 

Using a Business Impact Analysis to understand the business impact of a disaster such as a ransomware attack helps organizations make decisions about their data center and cloud strategies. 

“Ransomware is a big deal,” Finch says. “If you don’t have a good DR plan in place, you’re not going to be able to recover from it.” 

Questions? Contact us at Sayers today to learn more about data center trends and how they relate to your business.


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