Throughout the nation, the number of traditional data centers has been on a consistent incline since 2009. However, that’s all changing now. Experts say that after peaking at roughly 8.6 million data centers in 2017, that number is now dropping. The driving factor? The migration from smaller, in-house IT centers to data centers operated by larger service providers – DevOps, if you will.
DevOps is a software development methodology that combines software development with information technology operations. The goal of DevOps is to shorten the systems development life cycle while also delivering features, fixes, and updates frequently in close alignment with business objectives.
So, while the physical number of traditional data centers will decrease, aggregate data center capacity will continue to grow via the use of DevOps.
The DevOps Deal
Agile development shortens development times by increasing communication between the development team and business stakeholders. But software projects aren’t done when the last line of code is written and the last test case is passed.
Applications still need to be packaged for release, deployed into production, monitored for problems, and enhanced with bug fixes and new features.
Those post-development tasks take too long and delay getting new business functionality to users. DevOps brings the agile focus on communication and collaboration between developers and the operations team, giving the post-code software process the same responsiveness that the coding process has.
We’re looking at a sort of cloud adoption, here. Consolidation is also playing a role, as are new approaches to computing. New firms are adopting “cloud first” strategies. As they grow into larger organizations, the data center is never created because the software development and IT operations are handed over to an expert DevOps hub.
The Modern Shift
Currently, the role of the corporate data is changing as well. In the past, corporate data centers solely supported operations. Today, they have a variety of functions, including: testing new business models; the development and implementation of new products and process, and retaining long-term customers.
Because a data center must support a variety of functions in order to compete, its infrastructure must continuously change. This is harder to accomplish for smaller data centers, which is why, again, they are disappearing. Today’s DevOps centers need to be flexible, dependable, and easily scalable.
The shift to DevOps centers provides organizations with the infrastructure needed to adapt to a variety of different needs. It’s predicted that over the next five years, most organizations will stop managing their own data centers. This will lead to a higher demand for larger service providers. In fact, by next year, experts predict that DevOps will account for 72.6 percent of all service provider data center construction projects.
Automation is the New Standard
DevOps, cloud navigation, and continuous integration mean more frequent deployment to production. The only way to manage that without overworking your staff is by automating the processes. That’s why the worldwide infrastructure automation market is expected to reach more than $65 billion by 2020.
It should go without saying that a good IT department automates repetitive tasks. Ironically, many teams get so caught up automating the business tasks that they forget to automate the technical ones. This is why automation must be considered pro-actively. It should be moved from the “nice to have” list to the requirements list. Automation lowers the risk of human error, and as a result teams are less likely to miss a step when deploying changes across a data center.
The Power of Technology
The other major efficiency factor would be the availability of the Internet. The areas of the country that have the larger internet types are becoming attractive to organizations, because more and more data is being pushed through the cloud. Keeping the latency acceptable requires thicker internet pipes.
Furthermore, if you have a bunch of small operations like transactions, social networking or things of that nature, those are just single point and clicks and can fly over small internet pipes, whereas DevOps/cloud services require a database to send a large packet through the Internet. The latter requires an increased level of connectivity and larger internet pipes, which is another driving factor in the shift to larger, DevOps IT service providers.
The need for flexible, dependable and faster technology has created the shift from smaller to larger data centers. While the initial number of data centers is decreasing, virtualization and the cloud are becoming the new standard among data centers to extend value and scale.
The Future of IT
We see all the above as a positive transformation. These new technologies and the new DevOps approach work well together; in fact, they need each other.
By using tools to support DevOps, and by using DevOps to let the development and operations teams work together more, businesses can achieve the same agility in their IT infrastructure teams as they have in their development teams.
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Information Transport Solutions, Inc. (ITS), a Uniti Company, is a full-service provider of technology solutions.
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