The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated the pace of digital transformation like never before. Projects which were supposed to get completed in years, are now expected to get completed in months. Given the speed at which businesses operate today, it has become imperative for firms to create an IT infrastructure that can scale proportionately to provision increased demand and scale down appropriately when demand reduces. Think of a big billion sale on an e-commerce website or a website catering to online booking of tickets. The pace of demand can fluctuate heavily as business dynamics change and the underlying IT infrastructure is unable to keep up with the demand.
This has accelerated the demand for hyperscale data centers. Hyperscale refers to the capability of an IT system or architecture to scale exponentially and rapidly to respond to demand that is increasingly heavily. Given the nature of digital businesses today, hyperscale data centers are expected to dominate the data center market. A report by Data Bridge Market Research, estimates that the hyperscale data center market size will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 26.93% in the forecast period of 2021 to 2028.
Some of the key enablers or drivers that are powering the growth of hyperscale data centers include:
# The need to scale quickly: In the current times of increased digital demand, hyperscale data centers give enterprises the ability to quickly expand or contract. Hyperscale data centers can scale both horizontally and vertically. Horizontal scaling refers to adding more servers in the network, while vertical scaling refers to adding more CPU or RAM. Hyperscale data centers are custom built, and can handle specific high volume workloads such as genome processing or cancer research. Hyperscale data centers also have distinct characteristics that are different from their traditional counterparts.
# The need for resilience: Given the increased dependence on digital, no enterprise can afford a single moment of downtime. Hyperscale data centers are built by design to avoid any failure at any given node or server. For example, in case a server fails, the application or workload can be moved from one server to another server, without downtime. Due to the modularity, data center operators can replace individual physical components, than the traditional approach of replacing the entire server, which not only increases costs, but also increases the downtime. This approach also gives extreme flexibility in scaling at the physical level, as components can be added modularly.
# The need for saving energy: Hyperscale data centers are setting high performance standards of energy efficiencies. From using the latest technologies such as liquid cooling to using AI for optimizing energy usage, hyperscale data centers are setting the performance benchmarks for the future.
# The need for more automation: Today, more than ever, IT operations teams are being asked to manage complex IT infrastructure. This when coupled with rising volumes of data, makes the task of IT teams more difficult to manage today’s dynamic, constantly changing IT environments. Automation is clearly the need of the hour and automation enabled by AI will play a huge role. Hyperscalers are leading the way in using AI for IT operations, and are increasingly setting the trend that will see AI being embedded in every component of IT infrastructure. Powered by AI, hyperscalers are quickly defining the future of IT infrastructure – from self healing infrastructure to databases that can recover quickly in the event of a failure or networks that can automatically configure and re-configure without any human intervention.
The growth of hyperscale data centers can be seen from the fact that according to research from Synergy Research Group, the total number of large data centers operated by hyperscale providers increased to 597 at the end of 2020, having more than doubled since the end of 2015.
Going forward, hyper scale data centers are expected to dominate data center spending. As businesses continue to shift applications from on-premise to cloud-based infrastructure, hyperscalers will be increasingly preferred thanks to their increased focus on efficiencies and scale.