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Data Centers and Connectivity: Current and Future Trends

Data centers are mission-critical infrastructure within the larger connectivity universe – a point that’s never been truer than it is today. As our respective families, nations, and companies navigate the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, enterprises are re-thinking their IT strategies, with the overall goal of making their operations more resilient. This process includes a potentially accelerated migration of IT infrastructure to off-premise facilities managed by expert data center providers.

In January, I was honored to moderate a PTC’20 session that featured a distinguished panel of industry influencers discussing current and future trends shaping the data centers and connectivity ecosystem. None of the panelists could anticipate, at the time, the eventual scope of COVID-19, but our discussion resulted in a series of insights that are still applicable and instructive. Among them:

  • M&A activity will continue, led by both strategic buyers and financial investors. The U.S. will continue to be the most active M&A market, and movement elsewhere – including  South America, Asia, EMEA, and Canada – will ramp up.
  • Growth in the data center sector, in recent years, has primarily been driven by the hyperscale business. Enterprises are still in the early stages of their outsourcing plans. As many navigate an increasingly “hybrid” world, leveraging multi-cloud strategies for diverse workloads, experts anticipate a long runway of continued data center growth.
  • Drivers of this growth will include a bevy of technologies that require edge deployments, from 5G to IoT, and gaming to VR/IR.
  • Movement to the edge has just started and will play out in various stages over the next three to five years, driven by the need for proximity to the end user and lower latency.
  • Connectivity – from fiber to SDNs to cross connects – will continue to be a significant part of data center operations, driven by the need for secure passage of mission-critical data.
  • Data center demand will drive a corollary need for increased cost-efficiencies in everything from data center construction to power.

More nuance and detail can be found in the full panel, and I hope you’ll take 40 minutes to view it.