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The data centre market is evolving rapidly, driven by the need for scalability, energy efficiency & digital transformation: Gopi Thangavel, VP & Head – Infrastructure, Projects & Security Operations, Reliance Industries

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The data centre industry is experiencing significant growth and transformation in response to evolving business demands and technological advancements. The market was valued at $48.9 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $105.6 billion by 2026, this growth is driven by increasing pressure from both the business side and internal stakeholders, as well as the need to adapt to changing climates and regulations.

Growing pressure on data centres

The increasing demand from businesses, internal pressure to meet evolving needs, and the impact of factors like climate change contribute to the need for change. One of the primary drivers of data centre growth is the increasing reliance on collaboration tools and technologies. The increasing demand from businesses, internal pressure to meet evolving needs, and the impact of factors like climate change contribute to the need for change. Tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, along with communication and mailing systems, are putting a heavy load on data centres. Meeting service-level agreements and ensuring compliance with regulations like GDPR and industry-specific requirements create challenges for data centre operators.

These tools generate a vast amount of data that needs to be stored, processed, and accessed quickly and efficiently. As a result, data centre loads have seen a significant surge. This trend is expected to continue as remote work and virtual collaboration become more prevalent, necessitating robust and scalable data centre infrastructure.

The focus on empowering users and enhancing user experiences has led to the implementation of service-level agreements (SLAs) and operational-level agreements (OLAs), which pose significant challenges for data centre operators. Meeting high availability requirements, ensuring compliance with regulations like GDPR, and addressing industry-specific standards such as those in the pharma sector have become major concerns for data centres.

Traditional vs modern data centres
The shift from traditional to modern data centres is driven by various factors. This shift is another significant trend in the industry. Traditional data centres often comprise racks filled with servers, with multiple clusters generating significant heat and occupying large spaces. In contrast, modern data centres embrace containerisation, allowing for greater flexibility, scalability, and high availability. Containerised data centres enable rapid deployment, seamless failover, and intelligent management of resources, making them more efficient and adaptable to evolving business needs.

Cloud computing and data centres
Cloud adoption has played a crucial role in the transformation of data centres. The cloud model offers increased flexibility, scalability, and reduced infrastructure management overhead. Organisations are increasingly migrating their operations to the cloud, driven by the need for remote work capabilities and the ability to quickly respond to changing demands. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated this shift, as organisations have had to ensure business continuity while supporting remote workforces. Research firm Gartner predicts that around 80 percent of enterprise data centres will shut down by 2025 as businesses continue to embrace cloud-based solutions. This migration to the cloud has profound implications for data centres, as they need to adapt to changing roles and potentially shift towards providing cloud-based services or partnering with cloud providers.

Considerations for modernising data centres
Energy efficiency is a major focus area for data centre operators. The industry is exploring green energy solutions and implementing measures to reduce power consumption and carbon footprint. Some vendors are deploying green energy sources to power their data centres, contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly operation. Furthermore, the increase in remote work and the changing traffic patterns within data centres highlight the importance of network infrastructure and connectivity. Robust network capabilities, including SD-WAN and high-bandwidth connectivity, are crucial to support the growing demand for data transmission and ensure seamless operations.

Conclusion
Overall, the data centre market is evolving rapidly, driven by the need for scalability, energy efficiency, and digital transformation. Organisations must stay open-minded and adapt to the advancements in technology to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by the changing landscape. Factors such as increasing collaboration, expanding user demands, evolving regulations, and technological advancements are leading to this growth.

The shift towards modern data centres, the adoption of cloud solutions, and the focus on energy efficiency are reshaping the industry. As organisations continue to embrace digital transformation and rely on data-intensive technologies, the role of data centres will remain critical in supporting their operations and enabling seamless connectivity and storage of data.

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