Trends for the year ahead for Data Centers and Beyond

The beginning of a new year is always exciting. Industry experts begin to gauge which of their predictions look like they might become a reality, and which may take some more time to develop. This year in particular is an interesting one, as we can start to take stock of some of the shifting trajectories the pandemic introduced in 2020. As we journey forward into a new year, what will 2021 bring? Here are some trends we expect to see as ones to watch.

Content is Still King But Revamping Network Architectures Reigns Supreme

CDNs are driving major demand for bandwidth and connectivity. These organizations are seeking fast, reliable and high-capacity connections on the edge. Essentially, we are seeing a lot of demand for the types of connections you would normally find in major cities, but now the demand has shifted to the smaller municipalities. Thanks to 5G, more devices than ever are online and creating traffic. And with the data produced by video and cloud applications only increasing, service and network providers need to ensure they continue to revamp networks to provide high quality of service and low latency for end users. Data centers will want to focus on local and edge peering in Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets, rather than provide backhaul to major hubs to cut down distance and hops across networks. This will allow them to keep costs low while remaining scalable and efficient in the face of the never-ending dilemma of rapidly increasing workloads and the desire for fast, reliable service. We have already observed the beginning of this trend, but 2021 should see a major uptick in the need for greater capacity capabilities.

The Evolution of the Enterprise-Owned Data Center

The enterprise-owned data center has been undergoing an evolution, and this will only continue in 2021. The hybrid cloud will continue to be a major focus within the data center industry. But how exactly will that affect enterprise-owned data centers? As customers continue to demand cloud connectivity, they will begin to migrate away from data centers that they operate and manage. Cloud migrations come with a surge in data and the need to manage different kinds of traffic on your network, which is often too daunting for a single enterprise data center to manage. These significant shifts in IT infrastructure requirements will need additional network capacity and physical space, which can get very costly very quickly. Strategic partnerships with carrier-neutral facilities will be the enterprise data center’s saving grace in 2021, as they will allow them more control over their expanded IT infrastructure than the public cloud does, making hybrid cloud a major trend for the year ahead.

Colocation in 2021

For colocation, a key initiative for the year ahead will be building a vibrant carrier-cloud ecosystem within their facilities. Gone are the days when data centers can provide value to their customers simply by providing cloud and colo; to be a good partner for your customers you need to have content and peering options as well. Colo providers should constantly be looking into new partnerships to bring them through 2021in order to better anticipate their customers’ needs, both now and in the future. Your customers will thank you for growing with them, instead of only offering services that benefit them in the immediate term. As customers continue seeking out a rich and varied ecosystem rather than a colo with a couple of connectivity options, data centers should anticipate this demand and form strategic partnerships now. Focusing on educating their customers on some more ‘advanced’ provisions like major cloud providers and IX’s they may have access to will allow them to build trust with partners and customers.

How We’ve Been Preparing

At 1623 Farnam, we have been preparing for these trends to best serve our customers in 2021 and beyond. Last year, we focused on onramp partners to support hyperscalers in the region and focusing on regional partnerships to bring more diversity into our ecosystem. This year, we are focusing on large multinational integrators to support larger clients along with completing our $40 million expansion we embarked on last year. We plan to continue investing in our facility to bring our clients the most efficient service we can with state-of-the-art technologies. We also plan to continue curating our increasingly diverse ecosystem, which currently includes direct and redundant access to many major cloud providers including Megaport and Google, as well as access to our dedicated IX, Omaha IX. Omaha, once known as the gateway to the western frontier (and for having good steaks), has now evolved into a hotspot for connectivity with robust onramps to the cloud and high capacity interconnections to reach across the globe. As Omaha continues to become a more attractive location for data centers, cloud and network providers, we will continue to expand our partnerships both within Nebraska and beyond.

We are also continuing our efforts to bring on large carriers and fostering strong relationships with all of our service providers, telecom carriers, customers and beyond. One of our biggest focuses is having a close familiarity with all our customers so that we can have a thorough understanding of their needs in order to provide the best solutions for them. We understand that as time goes on, the amount of data we all create and process skyrockets. We are dedicated to ensuring we can support the movement and processing of this data as needed by our customers. 

We are so proud of the way we navigated the challenges and uncertainties of 2020, and we look forward to an impactful year ahead. From new partnerships to new capabilities and features in our facility, we are confident 2021 will be another banner year.