November 12, 2012 – Virtualization and the cloud will continue to chip away at traditional data center spending and operations in the year ahead, with a new breed of data center operators making big strides along the way, according to reports from Ovum Research.

Among a flurry of 2013 trend reports, the London-based research and industry analysis firm launched two reports recently on its expectations for data center technology and operators in the coming year. Authors and Ovum analysts Ian Brown and Roy Illsley outlined the high-level evolution of the data center in separate reports.  

The death of the enterprise data center due to the cloud has been greatly exaggerated, Ovum noted in its market forecast. There remains a premium on on-premise data storage due to governance and security demands, as well as legacy operations. On top of that, virtualization technology is expected to continue its maturity in 2013 to better handle production-grade workloads and make on-premise data centers and infrastructure more agile and cost-effective. Ovum anticipates that more enterprise data center operations will be tied to, but not entirely replaced by, cloud deployments, with growing stress put on enterprise networking capabilities.

“[Data centers] in terms of hardware will, in 2013, be challenged by the rise of software-defined networks, much like how server virtualization challenged server hardware ideologies a decade ago. The role of sustainable IT is affecting choices around how and why IT services are delivered. 2013 will see sustainability become more focused on cost saving, and will lead to more efficient internal IT delivery methods such as virtualization, SDNs and the use of converged infrastructure solutions,” wrote Illsley.

The key data center technology developments over the next year are:

  • Slow gains in bring-your-own-technology that is pulling with it interest in the endpoint virtualization market
  • Specialization requirements and tools for SDN
  • Continued interest in environmentally friendly data center strategies
  • Internal data center capacity expanded via hybrid cloud
  • Awareness of the need for interconnected infrastructure at the management level

And the careers around those data center functions will continue a shift in 2013, as well, according to the research firm. Ovum notes that the job description “colocation host” is no longer entirely appropriate for many data center operators. A “new class” of data center operators involved in the construction of enterprise-grade data halls that are rented to enterprises for a range of storage A new range of storage functions – from digital media and social networking to mobile apps and cloud services – is leading to a “new class” of data center operators, Ovum stated.Other key expectations from Brown for data center operators in 2013 are the significant role they will play in avoiding the construction and investment in new facilities.

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