Data centres are the backbone of modern IT infrastructure, responsible for the deployment of cloud platforms, video conferencing and online services.
The number of centres has grown in recent years, driven by the ever-increasing demand for infrastructure. In fact, the most recent IBISWorld snapshot found that Australian data centre growth from 2010-15 stood at 9.1 per cent, and revenue at $601 million.
This isn't taking into account the growth of data centres in other countries across the globe, where expansion is higher still. Developing economies are seeing rapid uptake of IT services, following the lead of western nations that adopted the new technologies in recent years.
However, there could be a limit on this growth, if new third platform predictions from the International Data Corporation (IDC) are to be believed.
What is the third platform?
The third platform of IT is a term that groups together cloud computing, mobile technologies, Big Data and social endeavours into what's set to be the next stage of IT operations.
The IDC claims that this platform is where IT is heading over the next few years, succeeding earlier growth in the first two platforms: data centres and internet technology. Third platform growth is predicted to impact both IT providers and businesses.
How is it impacting data centres?
It's also set to impact data centre expansion, and is actually having an effect now. The IDC estimated in a November 2014 report that the total number of global data centres would peak at 8.6 million in 2017, and subsequently decline slowly.
A drop off in the number of data centre server rooms and internal server closets is predicted to lead the decline, with standard data centres remaining largely unaffected. These are commonly the facilities run by companies to provide new cloud services.
Growth of these more standard data centres will result in space increasing globally from 1.58 billion square feet in 2013 to 1.94 billion square feet in 2018.
This shift from onsite IT service management to hosted alternatives will mean a change in provider expectations, as companies seek consistent data centre services. This is those that can scale to the needs of the business and reliably deliver services.
"Over the next five years, a majority of organisations will stop managing their own infrastructure," said Richard L Villars, a vice president at the IDC.
"They will make greater use of on-premise and hosted managed services for their existing IT assets, and turn to dedicated and shared cloud offerings in service provider data centers for new services."
He went on to explain how providers will rapidly begin to grow their data centre operations, remodelling, building and acquiring new facilities to meet demand.
Third platform growth is dependant on larger data centres, as many companies will be unable to manage cloud platforms onsite.
As use of the third platform grows, smaller data centre setups within companies will decline.
Shifting to a new mode of operations
The third platform of IT represents a turnaround from traditional IT operations, and coupled with data centre changes businesses will need to prepare to implement the new services.
One of the biggest changes is certainly going to be the shift in how services are acquired and managed, as providers take over the brunt of data centre operations.
Shifting to this new mode of operations may seem difficult, but it can be made substantially easier with the use of a capable framework, such as PRINCE2 from ALC Training.
This framework means it's simple for a company to institute a large change, and manage the entire process – something that's often difficult to achieve using traditional project management tools.
To find out where PRINCE2 courses are available, and the necessary steps to gain certification, speak to the expert team at ALC Training today.