The world, as we know it, is undergoing a technology (r)evolution with technology serving as the catalyst for business growth and expansion. However, the center of all the frenzied business activity, the data center, is underestimated for the vital role that it plays in supporting the day to day business activities of organizations. In fact, data centers are the lifeline of many of the world’s most critical processes, including those associated with Internet, applications and data storage.
Many activities that users (organizations) engage in on a daily routine basis would be unthinkable without the support of data centers. In the narrative that follows, we would look at some of the advancements made possible by data centers being the hub of all business activities: eCommerce – Online marketplaces powered by data centers
The traditional way of shopping where a customer used to visit a brick and mortar store to purchase things that he required has now given way to making the same purchases online. Yes, eCommerce has arrived and is a thriving industry today.
With more and more people switching to the online medium for buying goods, the number of customers shopping on the various eCommerce portals has grown exponentially. According to Goldman Sachs, India’s ecommerce market is expected to breach the $100-billion mark by FY20, triggered by increasing internet usage, discounting and investment by online retailers. The number of online shoppers in India increased to 35 million in 2014 from 8 million in 2012. It is estimated that online shoppers base in India will grow three times by 2016, and over 50 million new buyers will come from tier I and tier II cities.
With these astounding numbers, it is hard not to imagine what the future would look like. Online marketplaces are powered by data centers, and with the increasing number of customers who shop online, data center support is imperative to ensuring that these marketplaces and services are continually open for business. Thus, data centers are an important part of today’s growing online economy.
Internet of Things (IoT) goes mainstream
Internet of things as concept is rapidly growing, data center support is playing major roll in this. The Internet of Things extends internet connectivity beyond traditional devices like desktop and laptop computers, smartphones and tablets to a diverse range of devices and everyday things that utilize embedded technology to communicate and interact with the external environment, all via the Internet. Extreme Networks reported that last year; the IoT was made up of 7 billion connected devices, and is poised to grow to include more than 40 billion by 2020.
How does this resonate with the data center? The Internet of Things depends on data centers for 100% availability, connectivity and data storage. The underlying common string that connects all IoT devices is connectivity – people are now able to remotely connect through connected mobile applications with security systems, thermostats, cars, electronic appliances, lights in household and commercial environments, alarm clocks, speaker systems, vending machines and more.
Businesses can leverage IoT applications to automate safety tasks (for example, notify authorities when a fire extinguisher in the building is blocked) to performing real-world A/B testing using networked cameras and sensors to detect how customers engage with products.
How does a data center come into the picture? Well, data centers not only are instrumental in providing availability connectivity, but also help in storing the vast amounts of data created by these devices. It will not be incorrect to say that the data center is becoming the modern day railroad – it is bridging how we move and store data.
Data centers are, thus, a vital component of the IoT, enabling the essential data to be stored and transmitted from user applications, to the devices themselves.
On similar lines as the IoT, is the growing concept of Smart Cities. A smart city can be defined as a movement to harness the power of technology for making urban areas more efficient and sustainable. In Smart Cities, information technology will be the principal infrastructure and the basis for providing essential services to residents. There are many technological platforms involved, including but not limited to automated sensor networks and data centers. Though this may sound futuristic, it is now likely to become a reality as the ‘smart cities’ movement unfolds in India.
Frost & Sullivan forecasted that by 2025, there would be 26 smart cities across the globe, making data centers even more essential for those regions.
Data centers will be the major hub of all technological activities and would be instrumental in making the very concept of Smart Cities and IoT functional. They would be the information highways on which data will be transmitted and received. Exciting times are ahead for the data center industry…