Technological business world has nothing in common with the word “slowdown” which appeared much towards business, the economy and society in 2020. Leaders in the world of IT expect an acceleration of digital transformation – a trend that gained a whole new level of prominence after digital services became the single thing keeping the society from unraveling. Edge computing infrastructure expands, remote management becomes essential, and data center investment flows into emerging markets. They will be important trends shaping the industry in 2021.
The world’s computing infrastructure is getting ever more distributed. Edge data centers will augment the infrastructure, placing their tentacles in more and more places, closer to more and more people. The key sectors driving this growth are enterprises, telecommunications companies, and cloud providers, and the primary applications promoting the growth are video content delivery, industrial automation, and network function virtualization. Omdia, a global technology research company, estimates that the number of servers deployed at the edge will grow from just north of 2.5 million in 2020 to about 3 million in 2021, and in 2024 their number will reach 5 million.
The pandemic has brought into sharp focus the need for better technology for managing data center infrastructure remotely. About half of companies plan to invest in remote monitoring and control tools for their data centers. And they will prefer to use these tools as cloud-based software subscriptions. This presents an opportunity for colocation providers to accelerate their own digital transformation by investing in remote management tools for their customers.
Secondary data center markets have been on the rise. There’s still growth in the top markets, such as Northern Virginia, Silicon Valley, London, Frankfurt, and Singapore, but companies are now spending a lot more money to expand computing infrastructure in places like Chicago, Columbus, Ohio, Milan, Madrid, and Cyberjaya. Hyperscale cloud platforms tend to lead expansion in such markets, followed by data center providers. While it may at first glance appear to be a logical progression after years of investment in data center construction in the core markets, the reality is far beyond it. It’s all about the combination of application requirements, local business incentives, and physical constraints in the top markets that is driving this new pattern of growth.