Hyperscale: The Future of the Data Centre
As our demand for data keeps growing at a rapid pace, the ‘Hyperscale’ data centre is set to dominate the industry.
It was not too long ago that data was the property of corporations and governments. They kept our records and information and sent us copies of our data in the post. Our data footprint was minimal.
Thanks to the digital revolution, that’s all changed. Since the 1950s when American Airlines and IBM developed a passenger reservations system which was considered one of the first data centres, to the world’s largest data centre – the $3 billion China Telecom data centre – we are awash with data.
According to Forbes, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created each day and over the last two years, 90% of all the data on earth was created.
While a certain amount of this data is created by devices which are clearly digital in nature, such as our smartphones and laptops, there is an increasing amount of data coming through former analogue devices, such as streaming Netflix and YouTube on your television.
Data analytics company Domo estimate that by 2020 for every person on earth, 1.7 MB of data will be created every second.
Data Centre 1.0
Broadly speaking, the traditional data centre was a ‘siloed’ model which was based on its own hardware and physical servers. They are restricted by the performance of their IT setup, but also by their physical size.
When you reached your data limit, there was nothing you could do except buy more servers. And if you did not have the space to install the servers, you had to expand your data centre or move location, which is always a tricky proposition.
In many ways, it was like owning an old fashioned computer. Your computer could only read and write to itself, and the nearest thing to the cloud was a floppy disk.
Data Centre 2.0 – the Cloud
While the smaller ‘siloed’ data centre hasn’t gone away, the cloud and virtualisation have connected them. What this means for data centre owners is that when more space is required, they don’t have to buy more servers, but spill over to another data centre.
With this model, companies can still own their data centres, and if their data requirements are predictable – and the costs are agreeable – then this type of enterprise data centre will still operate.
Data Centre 3.0 – the Hyperscale
However, the emergence of the hyperscale data centre is having a significant effect on these data centres. A hyperscale data centre has the ability to scale appropriately as demand increases and can seamlessly add memory, networking and storage resources.
For example, if there was a 25% increase in people streaming Netflix overnight, the company would probably be able to take such demand within their hyperscale data centre. The same could not be said of regular companies.
Hyperscale data centres are, for the most part, the reserve of the so-called ‘Fangs’ – Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google. While much of their data requirements stem from the obvious activities of their users, from online searching to uploading pictures to Facebook, what is really affecting the traditional data centre model is how Amazon and Google, among others, offer cloud services.
Recently, the US Defense Department put out to tender a $10 billion cloud computing contract, which is tipped to go to Amazon. Likewise, the UK news provider News International shut down 60 data centres and moved its requirements to Amazon too.
According to Cisco, hyperscale data centres will represent 53% of all installed data centre servers by 2021, while by the same year 94% of workloads and ‘compute instances’ will be processed by cloud data centres, with only 6% being processed by traditional data centres.
Overall, the data stored in data centres will nearly quintuple by 2021 to reach 1.3 ZB.
IT Asset Disposition (ITAD)
The emergence of the hyperscale data centre has coincided with regulatory changes governing IT asset disposition providers (ITAD).
In recent years, legislation such as the EU’s WEEE Directive governing e-waste, along with GDPR data legislation have made it imperative for companies to choose certified ITAD providers.
As more companies are moving to the cloud, it is vital that their old data centres are decommissioned in line with this growing amount of regulation. Also, a certified ITAD provider can off-set some of your costs by re-selling old IT parts as ‘new’ supply equivalents.
For the most part, the hype surrounding hyperscale data centres is true, and they are the IT logical step for many companies. However, before decommissioning your data centre, be sure to engage the services of a certified ITAD provider to ensure a seamless transition.