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17.06.2014

Effect of Smartphones on Data Centres

What is the effect of mobile devices on data centres?

There is a high chance you are reading this blog on a smart phone or a tablet. Mobile devices have been a growth industry for a number of years now. Although smartphones have enjoyed the lion’s share of mobile internet traffic, they have now been surpassed by tablets. Mobile devices are now estimated to account for 8% of all internet traffic.

Internet users in the UK are the most likely to surf using a tablet with a substantial 12.2% of the nation’s mobile traffic share, exceeding that of the US and Canada with 9.1% and 8.7% respectively.

Source: Adobe Digital Index

With the market on a sharp incline, the usage of mobile devices and cloud computing is a relationship that needs some consideration. Many end-users do not consider how the cloud works or where their data is saved. They take the cloud analogy at face value, but the data is there somewhere, floating around in the ether. This is the marketing win for the data market. Users do not need to know where their data is being stored so long as the trust bond is there between them and their provider. Recently there was an issue for Vodafone customers due to a breach in their network security on a server in Germany. The issue was resolved and service resumed, but if a telecoms giant like Vodafone can experience a problem to that magnitude, it could equally happen anywhere.

What does this mean for the data centre?

Each of the mobile providers have vast datacentres housing the data, photos, emails and subscribed apps that each of their millions of users rely on every day. The amount of traffic zipping through the channels must surely have a connectivity impact. Larger data centres must innovate not only to minimise their energy footprint, but to rebuff the malware and security attacks they face. As technology moves on at rapid speed, the advent of mobile tech such as Google Glass may also add further impact to the data traffic by using predominantly rich data. While observations are mainly focused on the personal data and social interactions, adding enterprise-driven ‘big data’ on a global scale will have an enormous impact on the market.

Nobody has a full understanding yet of how big this market will become. As companies choose their data partners, the infrastructure will be required to increase, as will the number of quality locations with connectivity hubs to ensure the speeds, signal and capacity can accommodate the traffic.London, Manchester and Edinburgh are understandably the main hubs at present, however further hubs may be required as services spread through the country. Managing regional data centre partners is certainly higher in the minds of CIOs after the adverse weather conditions and terror threats in recent times.

The key to the future is flexibility

The key to moving into the future with the growth in smartphone and tablet usage is to think flexibly. Projecting expected growth and building in line with one vision of bigger external datacentre provision will only provide constraints. Moving forward, business leaders should contemplate the data market as a duel approach. Considering innovation internally while maintaining cloud capacity would ensure that the continuity of data is maintained using security proportionate to the threats of malware, terror and acts of force majeure.

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