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Anticipating Data Center Market Demand After COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the IT landscape. Organizations have long planned for short term disruptions like natural disasters, but few of them were prepared for the enduring challenges imposed by a pandemic. As companies have scrambled to keep their network services and infrastructure operational during the crisis, many of them have turned to data centers to provide some measure of stability and security

By Matt Donnelly

The Role of Data Centers During the COVID-19 Outbreak
While they may not be getting a ton of headlines, data centers have served as a critical backstop for the sharp increase in online activity over the last few months. They deliver the connectivity, processing, and storage capacity organizations need to transition their employees to a remote working environment and help existing network services to meet increased demand.

There are four areas where data centers have proven especially helpful during the COVID-19 crisis.

RELIABILITY
The sudden spike in online activity has put enormous pressure on networks across a broad range of industries. Streaming media platforms are trying to deliver digital content to a record number of users without compromising quality while eCommerce retailers are working hard to provide a smooth customer experience for online shoppers. At the same time, healthcare organizations are rolling out new telehealth services to provide people with easy access to medical services during the pandemic.

These demands make uptime reliability more important than ever. With multiple redundant systems, efficient power utilization, and disaster recovery capabilities, data centers have provided a stable and secure infrastructure for organizations as they work through the crisis.

SCALABILITY
When organizations made the shift to remote working environments and prepared to meet the growing demand for online services, they needed to scale their infrastructure and network capabilities rapidly. That meant increasing bandwidth capacity and provisioning new services to facilitate a hybrid IT architecture.

As hubs of connectivity, data centers have allowed companies to dramatically increase their network capabilities quickly and smoothly. The combination of remote hands services and direct cloud on-ramps made it possible for them to scale without exposing their IT personnel to danger and long waits to provision and install new equipment.

FLEXIBILITY
Many organizations weren’t prepared to close their offices and have their employees work from home. They either lacked the network capacity or the security measures necessary to accommodate the transition. This left them scrambling to adapt and implement the features needed to facilitate remote work and keep their essential data and applications secure.

Companies already situated in a data center found themselves in an ideal position to adapt to changing circumstances. Whether it was adding new cloud services through a connectivity marketplace, setting up a disaster recovery solution for business continuity, or implementing stronger security measures, data center tenants had the flexibility and resources at their disposal to rapidly secure the services they needed to keep their company on track and on task.

VISIBILITY
Social distancing guidelines have created many unforeseen challenges for IT professionals. For organizations that rely on on-premises infrastructure, keeping those networks up and running has become far more complicated. Procedures for testing and decontamination needed to be put in place, making it much harder for IT personnel to work directly with the equipment that kept networks running.

Data centers that offered intelligent monitoring tools (like vXchnge’s in\site platform) made it easier for companies to maintain visibility into their deployments, allowing them to Monitor power and bandwidth utilization and issue support tickets to remote hands personnel. These monitoring tools made it possible for data centers to provide full transparency to clients without forcing them to expose their employees to potential health risks.

Forecasting the Data Center Market Demands Post-Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic will likely serve as a profound wake-up call for organizations still relying upon outdated solutions for their IT infrastructure. On-premises networks will likely continue their downward trend as companies shift to more flexible cloud or colocation solutions. While many small businesses may turn to the public cloud for their data solutions, those with greater security, uptime, and visibility needs will find colocation data centers to be a far more attractive option.

Given the economic uncertainty of the post-pandemic world, data centers offer a level of flexibility that companies may need to get through difficult times. Outsourcing core IT functions to a data center provider makes it easier for businesses to focus scarce resources on their core competencies and push innovations that will help them win new customers. Intelligent monitoring tools allow companies to “right-size” their networks for maximum efficiency, eliminating server sprawl and providing an accurate picture of bandwidth needs.

Data center customers can still take advantage of the scalable power of cloud computing without locking themselves into restrictive contracts with cloud providers. Should demand for their network services increase, they can easily ramp up capacity and provision additional resources through cloud on-ramps while keeping their essential data and applications safe and secure within their own servers.

Most importantly, the combination of intelligent monitoring tools and remote hands services ensures that organizations will be able to manage their infrastructure effectively in the event of another pandemic. Since data centers can function with minimal outside contact, they are easily secured without compromising performance and efficiency. When it comes to pandemic risk mitigation, data centers will continue to be an ideal solution.

All of these benefits point to a likely increase in data center demand in the post-COVID-19 world. With organizations looking to protect their critical infrastructure from disruption and keep their essential systems running in the event of an emergency, data centers offer the best combination of reliability, scalability, and flexibility. Combined with the transparency provided by the latest innovations in intelligent monitoring, these features will allow data center customers to adapt to rapidly changing demands and overcome unexpected challenges

Matt Donnelly is Account Executive of vXchnge. He can be reached at mdonnelly@vxchnge.com.

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