Rajesh Dangi, Chief Digital Officer, NxtGen Datacenter & Cloud Technologies
“Twenty-twenty what have you done”….I got this jingle rhyming to resonate well within my heart, the opportunities and challenges that we all have witnessed during the pandemic and stood the test of time on the tech evangelization and digital transformation are exemplary, so to say… as we start unfolding 2022, the digital world will cherish few new beginnings and few endorsements as the following tech trends will overlap and play along with unfolding possibilities.
- DC Migrations – Captive DC to Cloud Journeys – Cloud Strategies
Gartner predicts “Global Cloud Revenue to Total $474 Billion in 2022, Up from $408 Billion in 2021” that’s a huge upside, the pandemic has really enforced a digital adoption wave leveraging cloud computing as means of transactions, communication and collaboration. The world has changed and the new normal is “The Normal” now.
The year 2022 will certainly see a major shift in digital workloads from captive datacenters to scale-out datacenters preferably into the cloud with a wave of application modernization initiatives coupled with data sovereignty and security at the helm of each technology decision. This was not an easy talk earlier but in the recent past we witnessed many success stories around the same trend…the opportunity further unfolds to optimize the cost, leverage this change and metamorph the digital aspirations. The old and captive datacenters will become participants of the Hybrid-Cloud metaphor and will run their workloads based on case to case basis to keep improving their ROI, geographical reach and scalability; as a result, their majority workloads will migrate to the third party datacenters and public clouds.
- More Power to Cloud – The Cloud-Native Apps
Cloud adoption was not an easy task for many organizations since the decisions were largely dependent on their own dev/engineering team capabilities or dictated by third-party application vendors. The legacy continued till either of them decided to port their applications on cloud-based XaaS models for reasons varying from multi-tenancy, geographical spread, technology consolidation or a simple scale-out need. In reality, it happened… the new age applications are now born in the cloud and consumed ready-made dev/QA/DevOps cloud-based opensource frameworks for faster builds, easier deployments scalable by design to run on lightweight browsers or mobile applications at ease by consumers and enabled remote usage and management. The open-source upstream tools have paved the path to save cost and reskill the workforce to newer concepts and technologies for processing distributed data and business logic on microservices-based API ecosystems by and between clouds and third-party providers such as identity services, payment engines, data archival / repositories, upstream open source binaries and transcoding/streaming media services etc. This is a major trend that will continue to nurture in 2022…
- Distributed Computing & Multi-Cloud
Microservices and serverless functions will continue to prosper and lead the new cloud-native applications and distributed computing strategies. This trend removed the barriers of using specific public clouds and most of these cloud-neutral workloads now run on multiple public clouds across multiple regions/zones and locations. The fundamental tenet of scale-out and agile computing spanning globally across many continents simultaneously was the premise of the cloud-neutral principle, using the code that is portable, using the databases and storage that are distributed and running microservices that provide self-healing redundancy for each microservice enriching “Any device, Any cloud and Anywhere” user experience. Gartner predicts that by 2025, greater than 90% of organizations will pursue a multi-cloud strategy and this key trend will continue to drive new applications and positively impacts our digital wellbeing throughout 2022 and beyond…
- Edge Computing – if you are not on edge, you are wasting space!
Datacenters take time to build and operate, the digital penetration in the rural context is growing and for countries like us, where we have the largest base of mobile users, highest internet penetration and social media usage etc the need for data localization and reach latency becomes a primary barrier. This is just one example of users and applications, with the vast majority of IoT and sensors, upcoming 5G smartphones the need to keep them connected and servicing the relevant content will be a tremendous challenge for the ISPs & Telcos. While a growing number of datacenters clustering into major cities the rural digital enablement and consumption depend on the national telco’s ability to move the data by and between the remote users to central datacenters, eventually this digital divide of demand and supply may choke the internet backbone unless we implement distributed edge computing strategy, the workloads need to get evenly distributed and must run nearer to the users from the Edge Datacenters. The strategy thus hovers around Edge computing and local peering, processing and storage of the content and co-locates the basic cloud and application services on the Edge to reduce latency. Many organizations are charting out their edge strategies and looking to invest for Edge datacenter mobilization, this is becoming the need of an hour and the trend that will mark the future of distributed applications and consumption thereof.
- 5G – Private MEC
5G is not a trend, it’s a revolution that will transform human to human, human to machine and machine to machine interaction/communication replacing the last mile connectivity both in public and private networks, the adoption of 5G will be a trendsetter by cocreation and integrations of various technologies such as Ipv6, Edge Computing, IoT/RAN and Big Data as a single cohesive ecosystem.
With network slicing, multi-tenancy will be addressed to accommodate millions of connected things paving way for connected cars, smart factories home automation etc, with edge transcoding at blistering speed the video content will be delivered enabling media and gaming industries, with private 5G core and MEC ( read, Mobile Edge Compute) we will set forth the direction of Industry 5.0 replacing need for cabling and wiring and even replacing WIFI in the large industrial setups in the remote areas for sure. The datacenters will adopt and scale versatile core coupled with smart edge platforms and deliver significant value in distributed processing and storage requirements of the 5G ecosystem both in public and private domains.
- Emerging Tech – AI/ML, IoT to NFTs
In 2022, Datacenters will also witness a large scale upside on the usage of emerging technologies such as AR/VR, AI/ML, Data Analytics and IoT/RAN deployments. These technologies will drive the need for high performing to compute accelerators ( Read, CPU, GPU and FPGAs) and NVMe / in Memory storage for agility and speed of data retrieval etc as the fundamental infrastructure enablers at core and edge. With the adoption of NFTs ( Read, Non-Fungible Tokens) and API based workflows, this trend solidifies into various business models and payment sub-systems transforming the way we trade and transact.
The use of artificial intelligence and real-time data insights will further penetrate our day to day ‘things’ and ‘transactions’ within. The hyper-automation is the new terminology that identifies organisations employing AI-enabled robotic processes but goes way beyond RPA to integrate digital technologies like IoT, AI/ML, Data Science to improve their operations at every level of the business as well as enrich customer satisfaction. Smart factories, Smart Cities and Smart Homes will be connected to edge datacenters via IPv6 over 5G and ensure reliable service mesh, over the top upgrades and enable datacenter interconnects as well. The digital transformation success stories will surprise many with faster and easier adoption of emerging technologies they always desired but had resource and technology limitations so far. 2022 will set the pace of innovation and establish a few more technology testimonials for the kitty.
- Green Datacentres – net-zero carbon aspirations.
The largescale processing, storage and always-on mode of the connected world will have a significant impact on the datacenters, most of them are already gearing up to transform their net-zero carbon aspirations into reality, although we did see that happening in the immediate future at least for next few years, 2022 will certainly pave way for commitments and realization of the green datacenter strategies. Coupled along with multiple advanced cloud technologies to optimize and virtualize workloads into containers of serverless functions, encourage pay to peruse and on-demand scale up and scale down workloads to optimize the power utilization, use of renewable energy, low TDP servers with high-efficiency processors, SSD drives for storage, use of LED lights within the facilities etc are driving the power-saving initiatives. Such strategies spanning across all the process, people and technology angles will help us achieve our goal of net-zero carbon emissions and remain relevant through 2022.
- Data Archival & Cloud Backups
Although the primary use of datacenters was to run the applications and store the relevant data, the definition has evolved into a metaphor that now revolves around the data. The growth of voice, video, transactional and meta-data are all being put to use more than ever under the helm of Data Science. In the compliance part ranging from the ISO 27k certification to PDP, GDPR statutes and other regulations will keep evolving the definition around use and misuse of data and further protection of the data using backups and data archival strategies.
The volume of data being processed and stored is growing as the archival capacities expand via cloud tiering the remote backup copies for redundancy complimenting business continuity in case of disasters. The ability to remotely manage and restore your backups including code, configuration and content will no longer be a challenge since in 2022 most of the datacenters will be ready to offer this as an On-Demand Managed Service driven by AIOPs/RPA tools, cloud-based Unified storage along with associated skills as a bundled offering.
- Data Protection & Localization
The current pandemic led to more endpoints than ever before being used for remote work purposes and cited to deal with high numbers of false positives and monitoring alerts as the canvas of the threat landscape widens. Simultaneously the need for data protection from fast-changing technologies, the role of processors and regulatory perspective is evident with the new PDP bill and the importance of data protection officer is poised to grow in a strategic way in 2022 since the responsibilities of DPOs now extend beyond traditional IT to encompass a holistic view of the use of technologies, end to end data privacy, information security, and compliance aspects.
The Compliance and data sovereignty issues will continue to rise as global organizations now have to respect local laws for data storing and get smart about the context and consent around that content. These legal requirements will force data center providers to look at their internal processes and augment new tools and technologies to monitor and de-risk the underlying infrastructure from any threats and vulnerabilities causing any unwarranted business exposure, although datacenters will have limited visibility into client data due to logical workload isolation and segregation of duties wrt infrastructure management, the datacenters and cloud providers must entail confidence and compliance to statutes and regulations towards sovereign cloud principles like never before.
- Price Performance – a key indicator
With the advent of datacenters expanding their reach with growing numbers for geographical presence, improving productivity counters and overall performance, a key indicator of price performance is an essential trend to watch, as per Wikipedia, in economics and engineering, the price-performance ratio refers to a product’s ability to deliver performance, of any sort, for its price. The products with a lower price/performance ratio are more desirable, thus there is an eminent need to keep vigilant on the datacenter and cloud services that are quick to deliver/deploy but become white elephants on the practical cost front. For example, Cloud Storage is declared cheap but the cost of data retrieval is skyrocketing as the user data footprint grows and soon becomes unviable on the economic front. Many public cloud users are now realising the lock-in due to the embedded cloud code in their applications and the cost associated with data movement between various cloud services or even the application modules built separately, on the other hand, the use of faster processors require lesser CPUs compared to older platforms. Few datacenters keep offering CPUs at lower pricing but required you to buy more CPUs since the platform is old thus impacting the bottom-line, such parameters are hidden and impacts business adversely thus the price performance is a key indicator that needs to be kept in mind to ensure comparing right parameters before subscription, cost of service implementation, the ongoing cost of support/engineering activates and thus overall TCO when it comes to datacenter and cloud services, this will continue to be a tight rope walk in 2022 and beyond.
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