Data storage is an intangible component of the technological landscape, but is often unnoticed. As the unsung hero of the tech world, it’s the core infrastructure that is key to maintaining web operations. It has also been estimated to be worth over $77.5 Billion by 2022 (according to Markets and Markets).

Most of us are aware the impact that the cloud and AI have made on how we look at data, but we rarely talk about how these developments impact data centers. Not long ago, data centers were the primary locations for shared information. Today, however, data centers’ value proposition are evolving. While the data center isn’t going to become obsolete anytime soon, it’s definitely growing and shifting with tech, making it one of the most dynamic areas. Here’s why:

The Cloud’s Takeover

Over the past decade, the cloud has found itself overshadowing almost the entire data hosting industry. According to a survey by Spiceworks, over 93% of organizations use some form of cloud-based storage. While that statistic seems high, it doesn’t necessarily mean that 93% of data is stored on a cloud; some companies still store sensitive information on other hosting platforms. Although, given the intuitive and accessible design and cost-effectiveness, it’s easy to see why it’s a dominating choice for a lot of our data storage needs.

Beyond just its affordability, the cloud offers teams the opportunity to collaborate in a variety of ways. Not only do cloud platforms offer immediate access to people anywhere they go, but it also enables individuals to access and update information in real-time without any lag. Additionally, the cloud is growing to implement more seamless integrations of API’s and other tools, which means it will only become even more aligned with people’s personal and professional livelihoods. Cloud capabilities have set a foundation that have transformed, not just data storage, but how that data interacts with other pieces of data.

When Data Talks

With the advancements in storage, data centers are additionally becoming much smarter and self-sufficient. According to David Wang, CEO of Wave2Wave Solutions, AI is one area that has greatly benefitted from data storage advancements. With current storage systems, IT technicians can identify problems and potential threats quicker and make updates accordingly. Even though some predict that AI will eventually overtake jobs in IT, another important point that Wang, along with many other thought leaders, doesn’t believe AI robots will take on the same characteristics and capabilities necessary to managing IT programs.

Another application driven by the development of AI is the advancement of data compression industry. Just this past April, Google created the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), a chip that runs deep neural networks to power image recognition, machine translation, and internet search. Rather than setting up data centers to process their machine learning efforts, the chip can tap into deep neural networks that are much more efficient and effective. While the possibility of this technology might mean that data centers could shrink in size, it does not mean that they will become entirely self-sufficient.

Moving Forward

For data centers to adapt to growing trends, they need to start taking a crack at establishing a plan that addresses digital transformation, as Sunbird DCIM points out. Essentially, digital transformation refers to the progression of supporting factors at data centers. For example, improving upon customer service (including streamlining your communication efforts), as well as leveraging the data that already exists within your system to make smarter decisions, are necessary enhancements that must be achieved for organizations to truly harness the power of data center.

Data centers are never going away; they’re too ingrained in the technological landscape to ever be replaced by robots, clouds, or even machine learning entirely. However, the world of data is experiencing a period of growth and evolution that the tech world has never seen. The faster data centers can progress, the more opportunities there are for other technological systems and development to take advantage of enhanced data storage. Data centers fuel progress and, luckily, data centers themselves are in the midst of a progressive period.