Often hidden in plain sight, data centers are the stepping stone of our internet. They store, communicate, and transport the information we produce every single day. The more data we create, the more significant data centers become. As per a recent research by IDC, over 175 zettabytes of data will be generated by 2025 and data centers will play a vital role in the ingestion, computation, storage, and management of information.
This data explosion is increasing the demand for storage capacities. As the world has moved to a digital arena, people are continuously on their mobile devices and are generating humongous volumes of data. This paradigm shift has compelled data centers to scale up from the size of a room to the size of a commercial tower. Now, it has gone much beyond with data farms, to accommodate and store the increased amount of data. Besides, storage, modern data centers are also sprucing up to handle more services. They are more connected than ever and can meet the needs of the contemporary business world. New solutions have emerged around data center architecture that can bring competitive advantages to users through more optimized performance. Data centers have now become critical components of a modern IT infrastructure.
While data centers serve one of the most significant purposes of the IT infrastructure, operating them has been a big challenge in the past. A data center is affected by many environmental factors that add inevitable complexities. A data center operator needs to take care of the cooling needs of data centers as well as maintain correct levels of air and humidity in the storage spaces. These challenges are tiresome for an enterprise to manage. With advances in cloud technology and specialized service providers adding unique capabilities, enterprises are increasingly opting for cloud-based shared storage space managed by third-party experts who could be better equipped to counter these problems.
Let’s look at the advantages of adopting a cloud-based data center:
1. Cost effective – When enterprises opt for cloud-based data center, they have to pay no maintenance costs. Since they are using the hardware from the cloud provider’s data center, they don’t need to maintain hardware at all. They don’t need to pay for physical set up of the data center, plus the hardware, upgrade, staff, power, and facility management and maintenance costs. They also don’t require large IT teams to handle their cloud-based data center. This drastically brings down the capex as well as opex expenditure.
2. Data security – One of the major concerns of every business, regardless of size and industry, is the security of its data. Every day, we wake up to the news of data breaches causing devastating damages to a company’s revenue, customer service, and most importantly its reputation. In a cloud-based data center, the service provider conducts regular penetration testing and provides a baseline protection for the platform and the data that is being stored. They implement security measures such as authentication, access control and encryption and empower enterprises to further add additional layers of security to bolster their data protection.
3. Scale as per need – In a traditional data center, enterprises need to plan the capacity well in advance to purchase the hardware. This restricts the flexibility to accommodate fluctuations in the workload. Cloud-based data centers are ideal for businesses with growing or fluctuating bandwidth demands. They allow businesses to increase the capacity as per the increased demand without making significant investment in the physical infrastructure. This level of agility can give businesses a real edge over competitors.
4. Mobility – This advantage has turned out to be a life saver in a COVID – 19 affected world. A cloud-based data center is easily accessible via smartphones and devices with security credentials to support remote working model. The stored data can be retrieved, recovered, or processed with just a couple of clicks. This enables employees to carry out their work on-the-go, 24/7, via any device, in any corner of the world while they are connected to the internet. Furthermore, in a cloud-based data center, all the upgrades and updates are done automatically, off-sight by the service providers. This saves time and team effort in maintaining the systems, thereby tremendously reducing the IT team workloads.
5. Disaster recovery – Data loss is nothing less than a nightmare for any organization. Cloud-based data centers ensure that data is always available with quick back-up. Such data centers provide quick data recovery for all kinds of emergency scenarios — from natural disasters to power cuts. If enterprises are choosing to rely on traditional on-premises approach, all their data will be stored locally, on office computers. Despite their best efforts, computers can malfunction for various reasons — from malware and virus attacks, to hardware deterioration. However, if enterprises migrate their data to the cloud, it can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection.