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Data center construction shrinks as enterprises go hybrid cloud
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

Businesses are continuing their march towards a hybrid cloud future, as the 2021 AFCOM Data Center Report found that on-premises enterprise data center construction is shrinking for the foreseeable future as more businesses turn to cloud and colocation services.

According to the report, 80 percent of IT leaders said their enterprise is not building any new on-premises data centers today, 72 percent said they won’t be building any within the next year, and 62 percent don’t anticipate a need for new data centers within the next three years.

This comes as fewer businesses are “repatriating” workloads that had moved to the cloud back to on-premises, with 60 percent of respondents taking this action today compared to 70 percent in 2020. This indicates that enterprises and cloud vendors are entering a state of maturity where there is greater trust in offloading workloads to the cloud from on-premises as a means of cost-savings and greater efficiency.

That isn’t to say that on-premises data centers are going away, as many enterprises plan to continue running bulk dedicated resources on premises or in colocation facilities for cost savings, compliance, and security reasons.

On-premises data centers also simply have greater storage and computing capacity than ever before, as average data center rack density among respondents has jumped from 5kW to 7kW per rack over the past three years.

IT teams are also using a smarter toolset today than they have in the past that is making both data center and network management more seamless and efficient. Seventy percent of respondents leverage DCIM (data center infrastructure management) solutions today, for instance, which marry with intelligent systems and AR/VR to automate many data center maintenance and management functions.

Enterprise IT teams are also increasingly conscious of the connections between their corporate data centers, their knowledge workers, and the cloud environments supporting workflows across the business. With more and more users (workers and potential customers) accessing network workloads from outside the traditional boundaries of the corporate WAN, these connections are now the critical lines of business. Now more than ever, application performance and workflow access hinges on strong network connectivity, regardless of whether traffic comes from the cloud or a corporate data center.

According to AppNeta’s 2021 Work From Anywhere Outlook, 35 percent of knowledge workers today are frustrated by technology challenges with IT since the pandemic, even though 21 percent of respondents acknowledge that IT may be doing their best. To that end, the issues that were most prevalent among knowledge workers in a Work-From-Anywhere setting involve accessing critical apps, while 37 percent of respondents would like IT’s support with what they perceive are Internet connectivity issues.

The takeaway from all of this data is that the more decentralized an enterprise network becomes, the more stakeholders become involved in delivering business-critical workflows and traffic out to far flung remote users. Regardless of what infrastructure improvements take place in the future, IT will require a more diverse and scalable toolset to deliver on ever-higher employee expectations, regardless of where they are located (or even their ISP).

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Filed Under: industry insights

Tags: repatriating, on premise, digital transformation, colocation, cloud transformation, hybrid cloud, cloud, data center monitoring, network monitoring, network management, data center management, data center

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