An optimal greening cloud strategy for DCs relies on variable factors like workload predictability, data protection, information security and network connectivity

This year, uncertainties about the economy and geopolitical climate, as well as evolving regulatory sustainability policies, are driving organizations to look to technology and new consumption models to stay competitive. 

With the Great Reshuffling, firms are already looking at how they replace talent. On top of that, the work-from-home phenomenon means that tech giants can now hire from anywhere.

Teams will also need to recruit talent with differentiated skills sets, which can be difficult amid today’s talent shortage. Further, the lack of skilled professionals and software developers has led to the continuous growth of the low- and no-code applications. Shadow IT has been an issue for decades, and its equivalent in the app space is the whole no-code movement.

Lee Ming Kai, Head of Systems Engineering (APAC), Juniper Networks

When teams build their own applications without going through centralized development organizations, their artisan efforts will quickly expose operational slowness. This will cause firms to want to speed up operations or face existential questions.

The silver lining: being clean and green

The world is dealing with both climate change and an energy crisis. Together with changing government policies, current global trends will further disrupt how products are designed and consumed. 

In the data center (DC) sector, more operators will begin to explore areas like immersion cooling, power efficiency, and potentially the power of AI and ML to improve eco-friendliness and meet carbon emission standards. In an industry that has settled on a fairly narrow set of components, this will be quite a remarkable transformation.

Many operators will also have to invest in more efficient and greener data storage solutions. By adopting a hybrid cloud model, they can tier data storage according to access, latency and performance requirements. Hot storage can be stored on premise closer to users and applications, while cold archival storage can be pushed to greener and more cost-effective public cloud storage.

Gaining sustainability with the Cloud

The promise of the hybrid cloud in data center greening ultimately relies on running the right application workloads within the right environment, assuming organizations can manage both private and public cloud environments seamlessly.

There is no one size fits all approach, and operators will need to evaluate their respective application and operating environments. For example, a cloud native application where the workload is relatively constant and predictable may actually be run more cost effectively on premises rather than in a public cloud. On the other hand, an organization that needs to cater for large spikes in application workloads at unpredictable timings may benefit from re-factoring or designing their application to run primarily on their premises, with the ability to leverage public cloud to supplement computing resources. 

Many firms have moved to the cloud with the expectation that costs would be cheaper by engaging consulting companies or partners to help them lift their existing applications and move them to the cloud. However, it turns out that doing the exact same thing from a different location will not always have the tangible benefits that the firms hope for. Applications that are not cloud-native but are still needed will likely stay where they are, while new applications will be built with a specific hosting location in mind: and they will also largely stay where they are. 

However, the move to the Cloud would have given these firms a taste of how cloud operations can improve workflows, and that will be enough to trigger a general adoption of cloud-like workflows and interfaces in on-premises infrastructure across the board. 

At the end of the day, for any organization to benefit from a hybrid cloud operating model, they need to understand the optimal cloud environment for their circumstances. An optimal cloud environment is determined by the nature of the application as well as other factors such as workload predictability, data protection, information security as well as network connectivity requirements.

Cloud-ready data centers that understand this can rethink and transform their business in the digital landscape to navigate any new and growing obstacles.