By Simon Driver, Head of Data Centre Sales

Data Centre Evolution

The data centre sector has been through extraordinary changes over the last 20 years and shows no sign of slowing down. According to Gartner, spending on global data centre infrastructure is expected to increase 6 per cent in 2021 from 2020, despite a 10.3 per cent decline last year because of cash flow constraints during the pandemic. Overall, it is expected to grow year-on-year through to 2024.

This data centre evolution certainly tallies with our experience. In the Indigo data centre division, we’ve been busy despite lockdown, largely because our highly distributed support model proved relatively immune to the impact of Covid. We run and manage the business out of our Network Operations Centre in Wales, but our workforce is made up of global engineers, experts in their field, part of a talent network initially developed by Belcom247, which was acquired by Indigo in 2017.

cabling technician for data centres

What worked for us didn’t work for everybody during Covid restrictions. A lot of installation and upgrades were put on hold because engineers were not allowed to travel. Indigo clients won out because our people are in the field and local. While access to facilities was more restricted, our on-site work was able to continue with new hygiene and sterilisation protocols to keep staff safe.

We were not only available for one-off fit-outs, we were able to carry on working on several projects for multinationals, installing infrastructure in facilities from Europe to the Asia Pacific. For long-standing clients it was business as usual, carrying out anywhere between 20 and 100 jobs a month for each customer from Sydney to Virginia.

 

 

Spike in demand

There was a lot of demand for technical upgrades because of a huge spike in traffic. Remember that data centres house the network, storage and compute equipment that powers the digital economy, the cloud solutions, eCommerce platforms and streaming services that enabled many businesses to function during lockdown and consumers to carry on shopping and entertaining themselves.

Managed services are a core part of what we do and kept us particularly busy during the pandemic. The Indigo NOC provides a single point of contact, 24x7x365, if any issues arise. We pride ourselves on preventative maintenance and recommend regular site inspections to avoid big issues. But if something does arise we have our global rapid response team to quickly put it right.

The ‘rack and stack’ element of data centre services is quite commoditised at this stage, so it’s specialised expertise in areas like power feeds and PoPs (points-of-presence) that sets us apart, along with a capacity to evolve with market needs. Colocation is still a core business for data centres – enterprises using third-party facilities to host their IT equipment – but the impact of hyperscale public cloud providers like Amazon, Microsoft and Google has been huge and something we have embraced.

engineer at a data centre

Operating at the edge

Many enterprise customers now have multicloud strategies and use data centres as interconnectivity hubs to integrate and orchestrate IT services. They may have multiple data centres in different territories to stay on the right of data regulations. Some will add private clouds to the mix, built on hyperconverged infrastructure that emulates the scale and agility of public clouds.

Our customer base covers the entire ecosystem, from the data centres themselves to enterprise customers and cloud providers. We also work with equipment vendor and telcos. We keep up to speed with new products, staying one step ahead of the technology curve. Right now, the growing demand for IoT services and the nascent 5G technology are on our roadmap.

These new technologies are going to have a big impact on data centres and we are currently developing propositions around them. Expect a shift away from centralised computing as micro data centres emerge to capture data that might not be much more than a box in a street. Needless to say, Indigo will be there on the frontline of innovation, just as we always have been. Use cases and technology may change, but the demand for our unique experience and expertise never goes away.

Find out more about our data centre services.

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