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How Consumer Demand Is Driving the Core-to-Cloud-to-Edge Data Center Model and Other Industry Trends

Peter A. Panfil, Vice President of Global Power, Vertiv •

One thing that’s clear — whether looking back at past innovations in the data center or looking ahead to what’s next — demand drives activity.

The desire to reduce in-house IT responsibilities led to the introduction and rapid proliferation of colocation and cloud services. The need to get computing closer to the end-user spawned the more recent move toward distributed networks with IT resources at the edge. The industry hasn’t always been able to predict these changes. They have been and continue to be a reaction to consumer demand.

With the demand for data at an all-time high, data center owners and operators are likely feeling some stress to keep up. What might help ease that pressure is hearing what those imbedded in the industry are seeing and expecting.

Steve Madara and I recently joined Dana Gardner on the BriefingsDirect podcast to discuss how the data center ecosystem is evolving with organizations increasingly opting for a diverse mix of IT facilities to meet the specific needs of their business. We analyzed this and several other 2020 data center trends identified by Vertiv experts.

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Steve and I spoke with Dana about how the rush to the cloud that defined the last decade is stabilizing even as the edge is exploding. A new equilibrium is emerging, with reconfigured enterprise data centers at the core of hybrid networks that seamlessly integrate with public and private cloud capabilities and mission-critical edge resources.

Again, this wasn’t part of some industry-wide master plan. It is the natural next step for the industry as it meets the demand for massive data management and low-latency computing to support advanced applications such as artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G. We call it the core-to-cloud-to-edge model.

We also discussed the increasing emphasis on speed across the industry. As I told Dana, the new reality is not that the big will eat the small; it’s that the fast will eat the slow.

Speed comes up in every conversation with our customers, although the ways they prioritize speed vary. Most are concerned with latency and the rate at which their networks can transmit data. Others are focused on speed of deployment and the ability of equipment providers to meet their needs, whenever and wherever they need support. And some emphasize time-to-revenue and that balance between initial cost and optimal asset utilization.

Finally, we shared thoughts on emerging battery technologies like lithium-ion, high-performance, high-density computing, and the various ways data centers around the globe are sharing innovations and embracing normalized designs.


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