DATA CENTRES: The Global Data Centre Boom and What It Means for Developing Nations

By Ben Basson
November 24, 2020

In today’s digital world, data centres are becoming an essential part of modern life. With more than seven billion Internet-connected devices around the world – every day – data is being used for research, social media, internet banking, online trading, online shopping etc. reaffirming the crucial role data centres play in both our working and private lives from now, into the future.

The importance of – and our reliance on – data centres, was put into sharp focus earlier this year with the outbreak of the Coronavirus, which introduced terms such as ‘working from home’ and ‘social distancing’ to the modern lexicon.

As public workplaces, trains, offices, restaurants and large cities became quiet, the flow of data not only hummed, but went into overdrive.

While remote working was progressively on the rise pre-COVID, the pandemic and the lockdowns that followed catapulted the trend into the world’s greatest work-from-home (WFH) experiment – all of which would not be possible without proper data and internet infrastructures, i.e. data centres.

Data centres have certainly been put to the test during COVID-19, cementing their place as an essential service by successfully facilitating working, learning, exercising, grocery shopping, socialising, attending doctor’s appointments, attending church, and being entertained – all virtually, from the comfort of our own home.

COVID has meant that we, as a society, have tested and realised the effectiveness and benefits of doing most things virtually. At the risk of sounding theatrical, this highlights something that every generation learns: the world never stays the same and it is always changing.

Earlier this year, Facebook indicated plans to shift towards a more remote workforce as a long-term trend. Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told staff it was “aggressively opening up remote hiring”. Zuckerberg expects half of its workforce to do their jobs outside Facebook’s offices over the next five to 10 years.

As offices gradually re-open after COVID-19 lockdowns, more employers are looking at new ways of working. This follows moves by other Silicon Valley tech firms, including Twitter, which said employees can work from home “forever” if they wish.

But where does this data centre traffic originate?

To continue reading the rest of this article, please read it in Issue 115 of the SubTel Forum Magazine on page 28 or on our archive site here.