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What’s the role of the data centre in the next generation of digital business models?

Posted by on November 16, 2017

Gartner has published its ‘Top 10 strategic technology trends for 2018’ and as always, it’s an interesting read, highlighting the anticipated evolution set to disrupt all industries over the coming years.

Technology will be embedded in everything in the digital business of the future, and as emphasised in the report these will become more closely aligned in what Gartner has coined the “intelligent digital mesh”.

And the firm is right. From the initial hype around cloud services to the smart intelligence we gain from data analysis, technology is set to improve every aspect of future business strategies. IDC predicts by 2021, at least 50 per cent of global GDP will be digitised and by 2020, investors will use platform/ecosystem, data value, and customer engagement metrics as valuation factors for all enterprises.


Connectivity for our intelligent digital mesh will be pivotal to take advantage of technology. According to Cisco – annual global IP traffic will reach 3.3ZB (zetabytes) per year by 2021, or 278EB (exabytes) per month.

To cope with this increased traffic, edge computing is set to soar in 2018. Edge computing refers to the process of pushing applications and data to the logical edge of a network to free up the main source. Edge data centres are being built closer to the end user in order to take the strain off the main data centres and overcome connectivity, latency and bandwidth challenges.

The role of the data centre then is to provide a fool proof platform for business data and companies must ensure their infrastructure is built with a solid localisation strategy in mind to cope with a continued increase. Ultimately, connectivity is key and there is no time for downtime.

Management and security

We will also need to ensure intelligent apps, “things” and all IoT devices are properly managed and secured – whichever platform they are developed on. Gartner says 8.4 billion connected “things” will be in use in 2017, up 31 per cent from 2016.

In order to keep up with this explosion of devices, the data created needs to be managed within a secure infrastructure to avoid disastrous consequences such as data leakage and hacking. IoT and intelligent devices can bring endless opportunities to a business, but the data must be securely managed from its source – the next generation data centre.


Alongside this increase in demand from enterprise, there will be development in technologies that support cloud and edge computing. By 2020, 60 per cent of all enterprises will have fully articulated an organisation-wide digital transformation (DX) platform strategy, and will be in the process of implementing that strategy as the new IT core for competing in the digital economy. Rapid increases in processing power will make cloud projects even cheaper, while technologies currently limited to supercomputing will make it into the mainstream.

To prepare for the future, organisations must invest in infrastructure which offers the flexibility to adapt to these changing business needs. IDC has predicted that by 2020, 90 per cent of large enterprises will generate revenue from data-as-a-service from the sale of raw data, derived metrics, insights, and recommendations – up from nearly 50 per cent in 2017.

Alongside industry predictions, Gartner’s digital business strategy is an approach which cannot not be ignored. However, what is important is to generate the right infrastructure, connectivity and management to enable these technologies to flourish – and be used effectively. The role of the data centre in the next generation of digital business models is therefore to provide a strong platform for our intelligent digital mesh and help businesses to get the most out of their technology investment.