The Evolution of the Data Center: What IT Pros Need To Know

Posted by Eaton on February 27, 2020

As digital transformation continues to drive rapid advancement across virtually every industry ── with the Internet of Things (IoT), edge applications and ongoing cloud adoption ushering in a host of new capabilities and services ── organizations that are able to anticipate and plan for what lies ahead have a much greater chance of being successful and prosperous. To help ensure that your organization is prepared for the ever-changing data center landscape, consider some of the most prevalent trends:

1. Goodbye traditional enterprise data center; hello distributed IT. 
The continued migration toward decentralized IT strategies is magnifying the need for organizations to deploy distributed solutions that streamline access to critical data and services. Rather than a large data center housing all IT infrastructure, the distributed IT approach places applications in closer proximity to users, such as inside a network closet or at a nearby remote site. While this framework provides the latency to make real-time data access more achievable, it also poses significant challenges to issues such as power management, forcing organizations to rethink how they safeguard critical data. Because distributed IT relies on the inter-working of systems—some of which don’t have on-premises staff to help monitor and manage—organizations must take a strategic, end-to-end approach to power management and disaster preparedness. While components at the hardware level offer a good starting point, virtualization and network-as-a-service infrastructure are gaining popularity to provide protections across the entire system. As a result, technologies such as remote monitoring and predictive analytics are becoming more sought-after. 

2. Living on the edge. 
Because organizations are choosing to compute and process data where it's being generated, edge computing technologies are continuing to gain momentum. However, the trend is not without its complexities. Because it is imperative to replicate at the edge the same level of security and control required within a traditional data center, organizations must secure power in all sites, as well as be able to remotely manage and automate systems. 

3. Hybrid IT provides silver lining amid cloud concerns. 
A company’s need to maintain control of explosive amounts of data ── coupled with the escalating cost of the cloud and the desire for IT departments to respond quickly to rapidly changing business needs ── has fueled the adoption of hybrid IT. Because certain workloads demand a level of security, compliance and reliability that many believe the cloud cannot deliver, a growing number of organizations are embracing the strategy, which allows some IT workloads to be managed on-premises while others rely on cloud-based services. Because of this, expect the increasing importance of software-defined technology to make cloud orchestration software the next big integration opportunity. 

4. All eyes on Cybersecurity. 
The proliferation of smart, connected devices has left organizations extremely vulnerable to a growing list of cyber threats. Not only do cyber attacks represent a huge concern for IT staffs as they migrate networks off-site, but the ever-expanding number of server-gateway connections and constantly multiplying devices are creating an unprecedented opportunity for hackers and cyber criminals. In fact, cyber fears have not only dramatically slowed the deployment of IoT in recent years, but prompted state governments to take legislative action to demand a higher level of cybersecurity ── with California passing SB-327, a law that makes IoT device companies more responsible for ensuring the privacy and security of the state’s residents. Global safety science organization UL also got into the game, issuing a standard for software cybersecurity for network-connectable devices, UL 2900-1 . IT departments must ensure that their connected technology is secure and resilient. Experts recommend taking a variety of measures to safeguard against cybersecurity threats, such as using a firewall and encrypting information; conducting routine security assessments; regularly updating antivirus software and anti spyware; using advanced email filtering; establishing powerful passwords policies and end point protection; and offering employees cybersecurity awareness training.

5. The changing face of power. 
Regardless of how companies choose to balance their workloads, the need for continuous, clean power remains paramount, as an unexpected outage could result in the loss of critical data. Even more, organizations deploying edge and distributed IT solutions are often seeking yet another advantage: products that afford a “set it and forget it” mentality, where solutions can operate without human intervention. With these changes to the data center, it’s not surprising that there has also been a shift in power protection solutions. For example, lithium-ion batteries are becoming mainstream within the UPS space, as they eliminate replacement and maintenance requirements. In addition to reducing the lifetime total cost of ownership by more than $400, lithium batteries simultaneously facilitate the “set it and forget it” approach. Another evolution sparked by edge computing is the increased demand for highly reliable UPSs , as organizations require small power systems in close proximity to network switches and other devices. Furthermore, the rise of software-defined data center technology has infrastructure operators clamoring for software-defined power solutions, including the ability for operators to administer power distribution units from within software-defined infrastructure management systems. 

As the modern data center continues to evolve, the ability to stay apprised of the latest innovations and issues will be instrumental.. Understanding the issues that are most likely to impact your business and uptime will go a long way toward ensuring its ongoing safety and success.

Tags:  Data CenterBackup PowerSecurity

Posted in: Thought Leadership

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