What is causing the demise of enterprise data centres?

Traditional data centres are being eclipsed by cloud data centres, putting them on a trajectory for extinction within the next ten years

Traditional data centres have become a thing of the past, with many people giving them ten years tops before they vanish entirely. What once enjoyed significant growth is now experiencing a decline worldwide. In particular, predictions indicate that the global square footage is going to slide in the coming years.

Many newer organisations aren’t bothering to build data centres at all – but why is this? Where is everybody going?

You may have already guessed it – data centres are losing out to the cloud. To be honest, you can’t blame them either; traditional data centres just cannot help businesses meet their goals today. Mainly, businesses today will want to zero in on their data to get closer to their customers. With this at the forefront of enterprises, organisations have no choice but to abandon data centres.

What does cloud have that data centres don’t?

The shift stems from the far and wide distribution of customer data. Public cloud providers come with huge bandwidth and data centres in multiple geographic locations to heighten protection of your data. This is unlike data centres, which often are on an on-premise hardware and manned by your IT department. For some, this is a perk; it’s nice to have full autonomy over it. However, in some cases, this can hold you back.

For instance, if you are looking to expand your data centre, it’s up to you to configure this. You could build one so that it’s bigger than you need it for now, but you risk wasting money on empty space. Alternatively, you could build one that’s just right, but may struggle in the future. However, with business demands constantly evolving, you don’t want to keep playing Goldilocks. It is important that the systems you have in place are flexible and agile enough to change with the constantly changing expectations.

Of course, as every argument for cloud states, it’s also just a cheaper alternative. Building your data centre from scratch necessitates huge investments in time and money. Cloud, on the other hand, is ready when you are. Not only that, it’s flexible to scale up or down with you as you please. Thus, cloud is a quicker and more future-proof solution.

However, you can’t talk about cloud without mentioning the security-shaped elephant in the room. If you take the cloud route, you have to put all of your trust in the vendor. In particular, if your cloud is spread out among several locations, each one must be protected. The number of access points is pretty harrowing, and all it takes is someone with a hold of your credentials and bad intentions to get to your cloud data.

Overall though, it seems that data centres are very much on their way out. While cloud isn’t perfect, it at least meets with today’s demands in a way that data centres could never.

If you’re interested to know more about data, why not check out this Tech Chat about the modern data experience?