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As digital transformation gains momentum, organizations will be paying more attention to their IT investment strategies in support of the changes needed to ensure their competitive advantage. 

The biggest trend we're predicting is infrastructure modernization, as organizations are now reevaluating where they are on their public cloud journey versus what they have on-premises. We'll also touch on solutions that are gaining traction when it comes to providing organizations with more flexibility and how data centers are being looked at as a possible source to go green. 

Here are nine trends that we believe will shape the data center space in 2022. 

Infrastructure modernization

At the start of the pandemic, many organizations raced to the public cloud to take advantage of the cloud's self-service/on-demand capabilities, enabling them to quickly scale and adapt to changing needs, while their on-premises infrastructure took a backseat due to limited access to the physical data center. 

While these organizations were successful in getting up and running in the public cloud, optimizing workloads for the public cloud requires far more planning than many expected. Many discovered that some applications that moved over are best suited long-term for an on-premises data center, while others require significant architectural rework to ensure they're '"cloud capable" and optimized for the public cloud. Further, many organizations uncovered significant support constraints as existing teams lacked the needed public cloud expertise. With the additional experience gained over the past few years, most organizations are recalibrating their overall IT strategy. 

For workloads remaining on-premises, organizations must invest and modernize their infrastructure to ensure application performance, availability and efficiency. 

Private cloud 

While many organizations' move to the public cloud may not have panned out for all applications due to cost, compliance or supportability considerations, there were absolutely advantages that they enjoyed including self-service, agility and scale. 

IT organizations will be looking to marry the best of public cloud with the advantages of on-premises data center environments when building out private clouds for their customers

Infrastructure Automation 

Automation allows organizations to quickly accommodate change while improving security and enabling cost and process optimization. According to Gartner, "By 2025, 70 percent of organizations will complement continuous delivery of applications with continuous infrastructure automation to improve business agility. Furthermore, 60 percent of I&O (infrastructure and operations) teams will use AI-augmented automation across enterprises, enabling greater IT productivity, agility and scalability."*

To stay ahead, successful organizations will move from a tactical, ad hoc automation framework to a more strategic and holistic approach to drive digital transformation and realize enterprise-wide benefits.

Cyber recovery

In 2021, 37 percent of all businesses and organizations were hit by ransomware. With ransomware attacks continuing to increase, organizations will develop a strong cyber resilience strategy that enables them to anticipate, withstand, recover and adapt to ransomware and other malware attacks. 

While organizations need to address all aspects of cyber resilience, most will prioritize recovery in the coming year to ensure business resilience in the face of an attack. These organizations will build out cyber vaults that sit separate from their production environments, allowing them to recover and run entire applications and their associated data and services from the vault. 

DevOps & container platforms

As organizations look to switch from traditional software development practices to an agile "DevOps" model, they will need to provide robust infrastructure platforms that empower developers to deliver services, applications and projects at high velocity.

Container platforms provide a solid foundation to enable innovation and productivity from developers and will reduce costs when properly implemented. Done correctly, these platforms allow developers to code once, and then deploy in multiple environments, whether on-premises or in the cloud. 

High-performance architectures 

As the world continues to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning applications (AI and ML), we're predicting that organizations will invest more heavily in parallelized advanced technologies to support these infrastructure-hungry use cases, which we're referring to as high-performance architectures (HPA)

For organizations looking to quickly assemble and reassemble infrastructure in support of high-performance applications and workloads, composable disaggregated infrastructure is often used in concert with HPA to drive better infrastructure efficiency. For example, an organization can compose infrastructure during the day to support VDI workloads, and then quickly recompose that infrastructure to support AI/ML training needs overnight.

Edge & 5G

As 5G, and its ability to serve up lots of data, becomes available in more places, organizations are reimagining the types of services that can be delivered to their consumers. 

Many emerging services, including self-driving vehicles and remote surgery, rely on real-time information and intelligence. And because these services require real-time data processing, organizations need to deploy IT closer to the end consumer. 

To be able to do so, edge solutions push advanced technology capabilities as close as possible to the end-user to enable real-time service experiences; in effect, organizations will be deploying and supporting miniature data centers at the "edge."

Hardware-as-a-service consumption models

Cloud consumption models are influencing how traditional infrastructure is purchased and consumed. "Hardware-as-a-service" is and will continue to grow as organizations look for more agility. These models range from alternative purchasing vehicles all the way to a fully managed "infrastructure as a service" experience. 

Organizations may leverage this model if they prioritize operational expenditures over capital expenditures, as this is oftentimes a finance vs. technology conversation. Others, particularly those that have unpredictable and often changing workload needs, may be looking for enhanced flexibility to scale on their own terms. The hardware-as-a-service model can also be ideal for organizations looking to smooth out large purchases every 3-5 years, as is typical in traditional IT purchasing.

Data center sustainability 

Data centers are not typically known for being environmentally friendly due to the energy required to power and cool equipment. This year, and in the coming years, more organizations will commit to reducing their carbon footprint and work to build or refresh their data centers in a more sustainable way.   

This might mean looking at alternative forms of energy to power the data centers, investing in more energy-efficient infrastructure equipment or leveraging solutions that optimize efficiency. Data center sustainability will find its way into the decision-making process as climate change comes to the forefront of the technology industry. 


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