Data has become more valuable than ever before and as a global community we’re creating far more of it than previous generations – indeed more than most previous generations combined. According to independent research organisationSINTEF, a jaw dropping 90% of the world’s data was generated in the last two years alone. More applications, more channels, more users and more rich content means that data has become something of a phenomenon in its own right. Businesses around the world have come to realise how data can drive innovation, uncover insight for competitive advantage and create a more personalised customer experience.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a lot of this data is being stored in data centres supporting private, bespoke and public clouds. According to Cisco’s Global Cloud Index, cloud traffic coming from around the world is the fastest growing component of data centre traffic. Overall, global cloud traffic is expected to grow at a 35 per cent combined annual growth rate from 2012 to 2017, rising from 1.2 zettabytes of annual traffic to 5.3 zettabytes. Overall global data centre traffic is expected to grow to 7.7 zettabytes annually by 2017. To put such huge figures into some context, 7.7 zettabytes equates to one and a half years of continuous online HD music streaming. It's, therefore, not surprising that the majority of companies now describe themselves as being in the 'business of data.'
Data has also become increasingly vital in the quest to personalise services in order to interact with clients and consumers on an individual, rather than on a mass market, basis. The proliferation of social platforms to market goods and garner intelligence is further contributing to this change.
The issue is that the continued creation of such vast volumes of information is leading organisations to fast outgrow their own data centre infrastructure. An article by Baseline reported that enterprises store 80% of all data. To survive and grow they need to consider new alternatives to help boost their data capacity and free up resources. In fact, a report by Bain and Company found that financial services firms are projected to spend $6.4B in Big Data-related hardware, software and services in 2015, growing at a CAGR of 22% through 2020.
It is, therefore, no surprise that many commercial enterprises, governments and financial institutions are looking at how physical locations can be better linked to create 'cloud' style data warehousing. We believe that individual data centres should no longer be seen as the end point for data, but as part of a network-centric philosophy, where data centres are instantaneously linked using high bandwidth connexions.
Encouragingly, corporates are now recognising that data centres are more than just 'where we store our information' and actually form a key part of achieving immediate value from the analytics needed to support their growth strategy and competitive strength. The question for modern businesses is not just, "can we support our data volumes?" but instead, "do we also have the optimised data centre and network credentials to power growth?" The answer may well determine their future success.
More and more, our clients are taking the view that their data centre strategy is central to their business growth and competitive advantage. We couldn't agree more.
Blog post by Bernard Geoghegan, Managing Director, EMEA and Asia Pacific