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Big, Bigger, Biggest: The Hyperscale Data Center Evolution

The data center industry is seeing the rapid growth of hyperscale data centers as it experiencesBig, Bigger, Biggest: The Hyperscale Data Center Evolution massive pressure to process exponential increases in data. In the latest research from Technavio, the hyperscale data center market is expected to register a CAGR of over 21 percent during 2020-2024, with growth focused primarily on this continent. The report states: “The North America region will account for the highest incremental growth during the forecast period due to the construction of green data centers, the growing use of free cooling techniques, and infrastructure innovation.”

The implications of this data center trend affect the entire tech industry. A digital revolution is being accelerated and compressed by the coronavirus and other factors. But—the question remains—is hyperscale here to stay? We do know that the biggest players in tech and IT are going all-in.

Below, we will explore the factors pushing hyperscale into the future. These include the demands of the cloud, the explosion of the “digital workplace,” and the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. All are playing their roles in cementing hyperscale IT infrastructure in place for many years to come.

Hyperscale data centers (and hyperscale colocation data centers) are the largest public cloud providers on the planet. Their popularity can be directly attributed to three central factors, which have entirely reshaped the IT infrastructure landscape.

  1. A surge in overall cloud growth
  2. The booming “digital workplace”
  3. The COVID-19 pandemic (which also accelerated cloud growth well beyond expectations)

Moving to the Cloud

Big, Bigger, Biggest: The Hyperscale Data Center Evolution

All graphs in this article are courtesy of the IBM Strategic Update 2020

Movement to the cloud (whether to a public, private, hybrid, or multicloud setup) is a global and irrefutable trend in public IT infrastructure. The annual 2020 Global PKI and IoT Trends Study shows 44 percent of IT security professionals see cloud-based services as a driver for public key infrastructure (PKI) application deployment. In addition, public cloud compute offerings from the four largest cloud providers more than doubled between June 2019 and September 2020.

As an example, IBM recently announced a company split to embrace hybrid cloud—what they refer to as a “$1 trillion market opportunity.” The IT infrastructure services unit, currently referred to as NewCorp, is being spun off to make room for both hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence tech growth. There is a high demand for both remote software and hardware services for vendors, which is why cloud now underpins the majority of digital activity by both individuals and businesses.

Hyperscale and the Digital Workplace

Big, Bigger, Biggest: The Hyperscale Data Center Evolution

The digital “home office” boom also pushes the data center hyperscaling trend. Rather than push people back to the office, companies are recognizing the cost savings of downsizing and allowing many to stay home. A recent study from MIT and Stanford shows that nearly half of all workers are all now doing their jobs remotely. Those employees need to stay connected to the workplace at all times via multiple channels and devices. Virtual conferencing, social networks, and differentiated user experiences also require quick and seamless connectivity. Thus, Microsoft’s “hybrid workplace” is the way of the future—and data center infrastructure must keep up. 

COVID-19 and Data Center Growth

This is not the first time data centers have had to continue operations during difficult times. But the pandemic has resulted in the acceleration, not slowdown, of IT infrastructure expansion. It has made data centers and the work done within them even more relevant. Cloud access opens up new opportunities for businesses and can ensure continuity in a dicey economic climate. Data centers are the highest-performing property sector as other industries falter. 

Steady Hyperscale Data Center Growth

Big, Bigger, Biggest: The Hyperscale Data Center Evolution

Hyperscale DCs are being built consistently and quickly across the world. The biggest names in tech are working to do so responsibly—Google, Facebook, Amazon, and others are investing in renewable energy sources in tandem with new construction. Modular structures and pre-fabrication also play a big role in the construction of even the biggest data centers to counter disruption in global manufacturing supply chains.

Hyperscale data centers also help to rectify another issue—the increasing skills shortage in the industry. Fewer employees will be needed to oversee larger facilities and many will be able to do their jobs remotely.

Cloud growth may eventually slow (although we don’t see that happening soon) and we eagerly await a post-pandemic world. But the scope of services delivered by hyperscale data centers will remain relevant for a long time. That’s why they are more than a trend; they are the future. The ServerLIFT TechLift Blog is dedicated to covering this and other trends and developments in the IT industry; read more here.

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