With technological advances and the arrival of 5G on the horizon, data providers are looking to make some changes in both the way they approach data storage and where they store it. One major component of this change is the increase in the popularity of cloud computing. Here’s what you need to know about cloud computing and the future of data centers.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing delivers computing services on demand over the internet. The services can run the gamut from consumer services like phone storage backup to larger companies hosting data and applications. For example, Netflix uses cloud computing to run its video streaming and business systems. For companies that can’t afford their own data centers — and even those who can — cloud computing is a popular, pay-as-you-go alternative. Experts estimate that cloud computing hardware accounts for over one third of all IT spending worldwide.      

Cloud computing vs. traditional data centers

Although the cloud computing data may be processed in a location irrelevant to the end users, we know that data infrastructure must physically live somewhere. How do cloud computing data centers compare to traditional data centers? Essentially, every aspect of a traditional data center needs to advance exponentially. Cloud data centers — or what many are calling “hyperscale” data centers — must have a much higher level of automation and security, with higher capacity and easier management capabilities.

According to Cisco, 94% of workloads and compute instances will be processed by cloud data centers by 2021, leaving only 6% to be processed by traditional data centers.

The rise of edge computing

In the past, most cloud computing data centers were built in rural areas, but that’s starting to change. As we near the arrival of 5G, many data centers are being moved closer to consumers in an effort to reduce latency — the lag time between when data is sent and when it is received — as the number of connected devices increases each year. This trend is referred to as “edge computing,” and it can bring a number of new opportunities for both consumer and business applications, like video streaming, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and artificial intelligence (AI).

What cloud computing means for the cabling industry

Predicted infrastructure growth due to increased bandwidth requirements is no surprise to the cabling industry. After all, experts have been predicting 5G for years now. This shift to cloud computing, however, is one to note. These hyperscale data centers may require a handful of large-scale projects rather than many smaller projects. And the trend toward edge computing may see the location of these projects shifting from rural areas into more suburban ones.

Regardless of what the future holds, it’s best to be prepared. Take a look at this article on options for preparing for the future.