March 24, 2021

It’s been just over a year now since the coronavirus-inspired COVID-19 began to slowly but irresistibly shut down civilization across most of the world, creating scenarios that the past few generations of humans in western culture have never experienced or even thought possible. From the closing of all public institutions, forced home schooling, and the crippling of the massive entertainment and restaurant industries to the deaths of over 500,000 humans in just the United States alone as well as the shuttering of numerous small businesses that simply were not flexible enough to do business in a truly digital world for the last year – we can agree with a famous rock band who also would have been left gig-less for the past 12 months – “What a long strange trip it’s been.”

It hasn’t been all Doom and Gloom, however. Internet-based businesses have thrived, along with delivery services such as DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats. Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services have become indispensable to home-bound individuals and families, which is just about everyone, everywhere – at least in the Western hemisphere. People have developed new hobbies, and families have become closer and more tight-knit from all that time spent living, learning, laughing and quarreling together. And Zoom, which was once just a conferencing system used largely by telecommuting workers and for conference calls with clients cross-country, became the major tool for staying in-touch with both family & friends as well as with workmates. Indeed, in April of 2020, it was reported that Zoom users had spiked from 10 million in December of 2019 to 200 million in March of 2020 – and that was just as the pandemic was starting.

The Internet is the “It” Tech Right Now

Understandably, the Internet and IT were meant for a time like a 21st century pandemic. High-speed communications and the conveyance of data without having to touch or breath on another human are very good qualities for a technology when you don’t want to spread a virus that is communicable by respiration. Thanks to Cloud-based (read: data centers) SaaS and file-sharing & storage capabilities, more and more individuals and entire companies are discovering the joys and conveniences of abandoning their brick-and-mortar desks & offices for work-at-home (or anywhere) opportunities. How has this played-out for data centers themselves and the ongoing need for data migrations and relocations?

An October 2020 article from CRN reported an anticipated 10 percent decrease in data center spending due to the pandemic, to be more than made up for in a booming 2021.  According to the reporting, “Despite dismal data center infrastructure spending this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent restricted cash flows, IT research firm Gartner expects a huge rebound starting in 2021 … Global lockdowns from COVID-19 will prevent more than 60 percent of planned new facilities construction in 2020 … However, Gartner expects larger enterprise data center sites that have “hit pause temporarily” to resume expansion plans later this year or in early 2021 … Gartner says the data center infrastructure market will grow year over year through 2024 … It is key to note that giant public cloud providers like AWS, Microsoft and Google are continuing to spend billions on data center hardware and software in 2020 with no major spending disruptions due to COVID-19.” Please read the full article from CRN here.

Echoing these prophetic undertones, Data Center Knowledge also anticipates a big boom in data center spending for equipment and data center migrations, as the COVID-19 pandemic retreats and the business world settles into a new kind of normal. The C-19 virus, just as it requires a human immune system to become stronger in order to battle it, is causing a jump in digital transformation, as companies are forced to adapt and evolve in order to stay in business in a largely online work world.

Quoting the article from DCK, “New research from IDC on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic confirms enterprises are accelerating their migration out of their on-premises data centers choosing to colocate their IT operations in a third party, multitenant data centers … According to IDC, ‘The pandemic created a business necessity for increasing technology investment and accelerating digital transformation timetables,’ said Meredith Whalen, Chief Research Officer at IDC. ‘What we are learning is that many of these initiatives that started as ways to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 have become permanent roadmap requirements for Future Enterprise’s success in the digital economy‘ … Respondents cited post-pandemic concerns about COVID-19 creating new limitations and risks associated with on-premise data centers … In contrast, multitenant data centers are built and managed to deliver maximum uptime, reliable power, strong security and a plethora of connectivity options.  Outsourcing colocation to these facilities removes the risk and expense of handling all of these requirements by the enterprise and frees capital and operating expenses to flow to support the enterprise’s digital strategy.” Please read the complete Data Center Knowledge article here.

While Altus Technologies Corporation shares the frustrations and even the grief of those individuals and business who have lost loved ones, associates and even companies to this dreadful virus over the past year, we are encouraged at the many stories and accounts of individuals and enterprises doing remarkable things to help their fellow man, and at the promise of many data center migrations and relocations yet to come as we serve our clients faithfully and intelligently in the coming years.

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