The Roadmap: The Evolving Data Center Infrastructure and Operations for the Future

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Today’s resilient operations are demanding actionable information close to the point of use. They require agile computing solutions with low latency and high reliability. This trend means that more data will be generated and processed in increasingly distributed locations. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2025, more than half of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside of traditional data centers and the cloud.

The question is, with all this data being processed outside of a traditional data center facility, how does this impact data center solutions and staffing in these remote environments? I recently came across a Gartner release which states that 75 percent of Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) leaders are unprepared with the skills, behaviors and cultural presence needed over the next 2 – 3 years. This is an alarming statistic but one that can be overcome with vision, pragmatic solutions, and a plan.

team meeting planning data center infrastructure

To deliver on the idea that “infrastructure is everywhere”, Gartner recommends that I&O leaders consider four factors.

1) Data Center Infrastructure Must be Agile to Meet Hybrid Requirements

A key for I&O leaders will be to manage what Gartner calls a ‘sprawl of diversity’ such as a hybrid environments which may consist of owner-operated and colocation data centers, multicloud and platform-as-a-service (PaaS). With this agile data center infrastructure, I&O leaders must be willing to roll-up their sleeves and act as product managers of these services to ensure they are helping to build their businesses in the long term.

2) Be Nimble: Adopt a Service Orientation

While infrastructure does not drive business value directly, it can save money and enable people to do so. By 2025, Gartner predicts that a whopping 70 percent of organizations that do not adopt a service orientation will not be able to support their businesses. To handle this challenge, I&O must engage with their customers and channel to understand their needs. Then, working with software developers and product manufacturers, deliver services that foster tenants’ business agility and growth.

3) Adapt to the Shifting Boundaries of Digitalization

Digital transformation is a game changer that I&O leaders need to manage as well. Applications and piles of data are enabling change and boundaries are shifting as blurred lines, caused by digital business, are merging the physical and digital into a new paradigm. In a very short time, Gartner says that 75 percent of enterprise data will be processed outside of traditional data centers in edge locations. As more things become connected, the data center will no longer be the center of data.

With this move to the edge, consumers will expect a more immersive and personal digital experience. Leaders will need to ensure the right people, process, and infrastructure are in place to handle latency, the cost of bandwidth, privacy and regulatory requirements and the requirement for local autonomy when connections fail. This push will drive and expand the boundary of enterprise infrastructure all the way to the edge. The challenge will be to manage those facilities, ensuring their availability and security with minimal intervention.

4) Enhance the Human-Side of Data Center Operations

The talent shortage in the data center market is a reality that many of us have witnessed first-hand. To meet present and future demand for mission-critical workers, companies need a better talent strategy.

One such strategy highlighted by Gartner is to create more robust IT career paths which provide experiences across multiple technology domains versus remaining in a siloed domain. This will enable a broader understanding of the IT portfolio in a business context, bringing collective intelligence and thought diversity to prepare teams to meet the emerging demands of digital business. “The new I&O worker profile will embrace versatile skills and experiences rather than reward a narrow focus on one technical specialty,” said Kris van Riper, managing vice president at Gartner.

This approach helps both the organization and employees by increasing employee satisfaction and retention. Employees gain insights and skills and don’t feel stuck in one position or function.

Securing Your Future with the Right Data Center Infrastructure

Wherever your company is in today’s evolving IT environment, you must be driving towards an agile, efficient, and digital data center infrastructure to be well equipped for the road ahead. Learn more about Schneider Electric’s solutions for advanced data center solutions, design/build and operations.

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