By Nathan Sykes

The cloud is gaining popularity with consumers and enterprises alike, and for a good reason. It’s a highly convenient, efficient and relatively secure framework for data storage. Just about everyone is embracing the cloud with open arms except data center operators and employees.

Cloud-based services are outpacing modern data centers in many ways. According to the latest research from Cisco, cloud computing is set to replace the traditional data center model by 2021. With new users embracing the cloud in record numbers, it has a clear and significant role in the future. However, modern data centers are struggling to find their niche in today’s cloud environments.

How Are Data Centers Responding?

The private data center model provides one possible solution and a viable alternative to cloud computing. Although traditional data centers are at serious risk of being phased out over the coming months and years, facilities that offer private or hybrid cloud access could see new and increased interest.

Several factors contribute to the longevity of private and hybrid cloud models, including:

  • Greater versatility. The cloud is fully compatible with recent breakthroughs like software-defined networking and hyper-converged infrastructure, as well as new developments in flash storage.
  • The need for increased privacy and security. Data security and privacy are major concerns in the 21st century. Many embrace the private data center and its cloud service due to the enhanced confidentiality it provides.

While it’s clear that the cloud will not lead to the demise of data centers altogether, it is forcing them to adapt and evolve much sooner than they expected. In some cases, this results in the company transitioning to the hyper-scale data center model.

What Is a Hyper-Scale Data Center?

Customers who stick with public data centers will likely see an influx of hyper-scale data centers. This includes some of the largest names in the tech industry, including Alibaba, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM, Microsoft and more.

In the simplest terms, a hyper-scale data center is nothing more than a facility that’s beefed up to meet the most demanding applications. There are also some technical criteria that must be met to warrant the hyper-scale label.

How Are Data Center Employees Responding?

Data center operators who embrace private or hybrid services will likely survive the next few years, but what about industry employees?

Larger facilities maintain full-time rosters that contain hundreds of employees — and a single company might boast dozens of data centers. With the industry moving toward increased automation and virtualization — through the cloud and other means — many employees are concerned about their jobs.

Proactive employees who are motivated to keep their jobs will also have to adapt. There are numerous ways to do this, including:

  • Learning new skills. In many ways, the workforce is aging. As baby boomers enter retirement age, they take all their skills and knowledge with them. It’s up to the younger generations to learn these traits and progress through the ranks of their company, whether it’s a data center or something else entirely.
  • Utilizing data to improve performance. The average data center has more information than it can even handle. Young and novice employees can use this data to support advanced diagnostics, troubleshooting and market trend analyses. Not only will they gain recognition from their managers, but they’ll also improve their knowledge and performance.

Individual employees respond in different ways. The increased automation in modern data centers might lead some to pursue a career change, but the most successful workers always find a way to evolve and adapt.

Why Is Society Using the Cloud?

To survive, modern data centers need to answer one important question: Why is society using the cloud in such high numbers? While experts used to think it was due to cost-efficiency, this is no longer the case. Today, consumers and enterprises are flocking to the cloud for its flexibility, accessibility and security. Data centers that can meet these needs, either through the cloud or localized services, will likely succeed far longer than those who fail to adjust.

About the Author

Nathan Sykes writes about business technologies on his blog, Finding an Outlet. To read his latest articles, follow him on Twitter @nathansykestech.