A recent report from Uptime Institute forecasts that most data center owners and operators will move to make their operations more resilient in the future – a decision spurred not only by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic but also a desire to be ready to meet the impact of any future such event.

The August 6 report from Uptime Institute Executive Director of Research Andy Lawrence also finds that data center customers – including governments – along with regulators and IT clients “will increasingly seek reassurance that data centers are designed and operated to maintain availability throughout any future pandemics.”

The report notes that its findings are based in part on the assumption that in the planning of most data center operators, “COVID-19 will almost certainly not be the last pandemic – and it may only be one of many.” It continues, “Operators, therefore, are not making all these changes in response to COVID-19, but in anticipation of future pandemics.”

On the operations front, the report says that most data center owners and operators expect the broader trend toward workforces operating remotely to continue, and that data centers plan to operate with smaller on-site staffs. Along those lines, the report also foresees more investment by data centers in remote monitoring/management and automation.

At a macro level, the Uptime Institute report forecasts no “big shift” to either public cloud or edge computing because of the pandemic, but does say the pandemic is likely to accelerate pre-existing trends that favor movement to cloud and edge computing.

“The COVID-19 pandemic will leave a lasting mark on the world and on most industries and businesses,” the report says. “Working patterns and behaviors may change forever, and with this, the infrastructure that supports them.”

“One of the clear lessons of the pandemic is that critical infrastructure is just that: critical,” the report concludes. “Without remotely delivered services, the overall impact of the pandemic to most businesses would have been far worse.”

“As the world emerges from one pandemic but goes on to yellow alert for another, those operating critical infrastructure are now in the front line, having to plan for and incorporate the necessary capabilities, capacities and resiliency to ride through forthcoming emergencies – even if they never occur,” the report says.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.