Connectivity and the cloud: a match made in the data centre

But that's not all. It also greatly simplifies components and avoids the need for internal piping and raised flooring, making facilities faster and easier to build and scale out. In addition, it means less major electrical components such as transformers generators and power cabling, thereby conserving resources and reducing infrastructure costs further.

TRP: Do you think the industry is experiencing a skills gap and if so what can be done to plug it?

BG: Ours is a specialised industry with a limited pool of talent. Few universities and colleges offer qualifications or further education programmes, which reflect the unique combination of skills we require.

Most data centre workers, while they may come from related disciplines, simply learn their data-centre craft on the job. While this may work for relatively slow growing industries, it won't help the UK keep pace with current data centre investment.

The UK data centre market is currently the largest in Europe. By the end of 2014, technical raised floor space will reach 650,000 square metres and will continue to grow by 22 percent over the next five years according to a recent report by Tariff Consultancy Limited [TCL], which monitors the European Data Centre market.

More facilities mean more skilled operatives, engineers and managers. We need to address this skills shortage if we are to deliver the level of service data centre users have come to expect.

That means offering specialised graduate programmes, skills boot camps, on-going career development and plenty of opportunity for youngsters to become involved and grow within the data centre environment.

TRP: What do you think 'the next big thing' will be for the data centre industry?

BG: The 'internet of things' (IoT) is really exciting. According to a Cisco IoT infographic, there will be upwards of 50 billion connected devices worldwide by 2020. To be sure, all of these connected devices will generate immense amounts of data all of which will, in one way or another, end up either 'in' or 'passing through' data centres.

Any IoT initiative will require a tailored data centre strategy that balances current needs with future growth and potential applications.

CIO's will, therefore, need to think carefully about their data centre strategy to ensure it provides the flexibility, scalability, security, availability and connectivity that this emerging trend demands.

TRP: Are there any emerging markets that are of note for the data centre industry?

BG: While cloud is the biggest single driver within the marketplace at the moment, it is also enabling many new emerging markets for outsourced data centres, particularly within vertical markets where speed, access and delivery of data is a commercial and competitive imperative.

This includes financial services where international exchanges, brokers, agents and market analysts are seeking better connectivity and latency to bolster their performance.

Gaming, entertainment and media are also potential growth markets as smartphones and tablets create more online touch-points for consumers to access content and services.

Here, connected data centres or 'metro-hubs' will be crucial in offering real-time access and high volumes of streaming required to fulfil consumer demand.

And finally, as confidence in cloud security grows, we will also see an increase from sensitive data markets like healthcare where practices, trusts and care organisations are struggling to cope with the vast swathes of data associated with modern patient practices.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.