Join the cloud! And what’s going to happen to the data centre?

The data centre is the heart of a company’s IT infrastructure. But this status is also not immune to the digital transformation. Following a precise analysis, companies now have to decide whether or not they wish to continue exclusively with services from their own data centres or to upgrade their IT structures with cloud solutions.

In the age of cloud computing and unified communications, opinions differ on whether company-owned data centres are at all important any more. The importance of next-generation IT is always an issue in this context: Is it in any way possible for a company to work in a profitable and future-orientated manner without – at least partially – shifting data to the cloud and without unobstructed communications via global networks?

What’s decisive for a company’s economic efficiency is that it must be possible to precisely forecast the capacities needed to maintain or expand the company’s own data centre. After all, investing in a new data centre usually ties up capital for around 20 years. However, if a study by IT service supplier Colt is to be believed, companies find it particularly difficult to estimate their own requirements. According to this study, 64 percent of companies in Germany made mistakes when planning capacity in the past one to two years.

As a result, a large part of resources in data centres was left unused. The average utilisation rate for data centres is today only between six and twelve percent. That being said, this is set to change dramatically in the years to come. According to the Data Center 2025 poll by Emerson Network Power, data centre utilisation will increase to over 60 percent in less than ten years.

What’s decisive here is to link existing on-premises infrastructure with state-of-the-art offers. Companies will increasingly differentiate between which processes they want to handle in the public, private or hybrid cloud and where adding external service providers makes more sense than expanding their own data centres. The economic benefits are the main attraction, because an obsolete infrastructure costs companies more, with a view to both maintaining and controlling the infrastructure, than flexible pay-per-use services. Furthermore, changing to new trends like mobile business is being made difficult.

Conclusion: According to the Cisco Cloud Index, cloud services today already account for around 46 percent of the workload of German data centres – and the trend is rising. That being said, the company-owned data centre will continue to survive. For those in charge of IT, it is important to combine a state-of-the-art stationary data centre with a specific mix of cloud services.

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Author: Andre Kiehne

Director Solution Sales, Microsoft Germany GmbH

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