2014: Data Center Year in Review

2014
What a ride in 2014

If there’s a short way to sum up data center developments in 2014, it’s this: Moore’s law continued to rule.

The past 12 months provided near-daily proof of how everything IT-related keeps growing exponentially. Cloud-based services keep getting cheaper. Network traffic and digital data volumes keep rising higher. Cyber-security breaches keep coming … ever bigger, bolder and more costly. And there’s no reason to expect any of those trends to reverse course over the next 12 months.

For anyone who uses, manages and depends on data centers and their IT infrastructure, these are interesting times. The year 2014 offered proof positive that the only constant we can rely on is continuing change. Following is a rundown of some of the things that, throughout the year, kept changing the most:

Security

No doubt about it: IT security – or, too often, the lack of it – dominated the headlines in 2014. The year started with a bang (the aftermath of the massive 2013 holiday-season hack of Target) and ended with a couple more (the breach of Sony Pictures’ computer networks, data, emails, employee records and unreleased films, as well as the Christmas Day distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks on Sony’s PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live).

For anyone who works with data, the “Year of the Breach” provided several important lessons, with the key one being: Never take security for granted. Investing in state-of-the-art security precautions is a must, as is constant vigilance. Having a top-level decision-maker in charge of information security – the CISO – is also a good idea being adopted by a growing number of organizations. As one security company executive noted recently, the threats to IT security nowadays are “every day, and everyone.”

Network Traffic

The year 2014 brought the record-breaking launch of Apple’s iPhone 6, along with many more new mobile devices hungry for ever more apps, speed and 24/7 connectivity. It also saw a growing number of wearable computing devices hit the market, as well as massive investments in Internet of Things technologies like the Nest smart thermostat (which became a $3.2 billion Google property in early 2014).

All these connected devices are leading to an accelerating demand for high-speed and mobile network access. Not surprisingly, Google was one of the first to see the opportunity here; it is now rolling out 1-gigabyte-per-second fiber service to a small number of cities across the U.S. Over the past year, other service providers took note, fueling a growing “broadband explosion”in cities like Kansas City, Austin and Provo.

Cloud

Cloud-based storage is “eating the world alive” and rapidly driving service costs to zero, one tech industry insider noted in 2014. From Dropbox to Amazon Web Services, cloud service providers continued to drop prices to the point where they could be measured in pennies per terabyte – a development that was unthinkable 10 years ago.=

While more and more businesses will keep moving their IT services into the cloud, the data center will continue to expand. All those cloud-based services still need to reside on a server somewhere … it’s just that those servers will increasingly be housed in ever-larger data centers run by outsourced service providers rather than by in-house IT teams. As IDC recently pointed out, we are now in the dawn of the mega data center.

Looking Ahead

First described by Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore in 1965, Moore’s Law initially applied only to the number of transistors in a circuit. As the past year’s developments have shown, though, it’s a rule of thumb that fairly approximates the exponential growth in many kinds of IT.

It also describes well recent developments here at Cavern Technologies. From 2012 to 2014, our facilities have doubled in size each year as we work to keep up with the ever-growing needs of our customers. Our latest expansion – 60,000 square feet – was completed in December of 2014, bringing our total footprint to 120,000 square feet of state-of-the-art data center space, all located securely under 125 feet of solid limestone.

Looking ahead, there’s even more growth to come. We already have plans to add another 40,000 square feet of space in 2015, and have more than 700,000 square feet available for future projects beyond that.

“The colocation market remains very strong for Cavern,” says President John Clune. And, based on recent trends, we expect that to continue to hold true for many years to come.

We thank you all for being our customers and partners over the past year, and wish you the best in the year ahead. Happy 2015, everyone!

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