The UK data centre industry has bucked many trends over the past year. The recession brought a rise in outsourcing as businesses looked to streamline operations and cut capital costs. Content delivery networks (CDNs) also had a substantial impact on the UK data centre industry last year as the use of video has become more widespread in data centre designs.
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Whilst companies are becoming more flexible and interactive, adopting cloud computing and implementing Internet as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, several new, high-profile UK-based data centres have opened across the globe.
So will 2011 prove to be another bumper year for change and innovation in the industry? Here are my predictions for the next 12 months:
1. Cost-effective reliability will become a priority
As clients and customers put more of their business online, reliability has become increasingly important. But, because of the recession and an unstable global economy, there is a reluctance to secure this reliability by increasing the financial investment in a business’s own data centre designs.
Companies realise that maintaining a private, modern, energy-efficient data centre comes at a high cost, and it’s not their core business to be energy-efficient. We are soon going to see a wider range of product and service offers to suit the varied audience.
2. Outsourcing the UK data centre will continue to grow
The global economic condition has been favourable for data centres. While companies are cost conscious in the current climate, they have to make a choice to make or buy, where the decision to outsource data centre services is a good option. In 2011, we will no doubt see an increase in cost-effective products and services for businesses.
It is very expensive to maintain an in-house UK data centre or to refurbish an existing, inefficient data centre design and infrastructure, so we will probably continue to see outsourcing grow in 2011.
3. Cloud solutions will become more important
For many companies, the cloud offers new possibilities for scalability and cost efficiencies. They recognise that UK data centres are able to offer advanced services including IaaS and SaaS, which allow customers to meet requirements without large investments in hardware and data infrastructure.
4. Efficient pricing will improve green IT
Because of the recession, careful budgeting and reliable financials are crucial for businesses in 2011. Energy efficiency products are a “win-win” for your customers by making them far less vulnerable to cost fluctuations, plus, they’ll reduce their exposure to carbon taxes, which many countries are imposing on inefficient energy use. For example, in the UK, the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency scheme is being reformed into a “green tax,” which will affect all UK data centres that consume more than 6 megawatts per year of electricity. This year, we expect more UK regulatory requirements to ensure efficient energy usage in data centres.
Energy efficiency and data centre design can save money in a lot of ways, and people are becoming more aware of the value of energy efficiency.
5. Consumers will become savvier Internet users
As the populace becomes increasingly reliant on the Internet for everyday services, we are seeing a demand for higher residential connectivity speeds. This is likely to encourage the development of CDNs, which are generally hosted in high-volume data centres. These services are designed to meet end users’ demand for streaming video, video on demand and other rich content services requiring an ultra high-speed delivery platform.
6. Future UK data centres will be green
The average power usage effectiveness (PUE) at data centres has become more efficient over the last few years, some with a PUE of 1.2 which is highly efficient. However, the majority of UK data centres are very energy inefficient as they are old buildings, or built in areas where modern energy efficient systems are not available, and therefore often have a PUE over 2.0. Better efficiency is a trend that’s set to continue, and its cost savings will benefit both customers and the industry in 2011.
Eric Boonstra is the managing director of UK service provider EvoSwitch and a contributor to SearchVirtualDatacentre.co.UK.