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Data Center Networking Trends to Watch in 2022

Updated on March 30, 2022
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Data center networking plays a critical role in enterprise network management. In the last decade, data centers have witnessed a great deal of technological disruption that came with significant advancements and a major influence on the wider enterprise IT markets.

A quick look at the past couple of years shows a steady shift from on-premises data centers to the cloud. Edge computing followed closely, then debates on virtualization vs. containerization and cloud-native computing.

Innovation in the sector is now driving new trends or improving on the existing ones, and industry leaders are leaving nothing to chance. To catch up with them, you need to gear up and take note of key market developments. Below, we’ve rounded up the three data center networking trends to watch in 2022.

The Rise of Data Center As-A-Service

In a bid to offer high-value services to consumers, industry leaders in servers, storage, and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) have taken the lead in deploying data center as-a-service. This trend will only accelerate as more consumers show preference to the flexible, pay-per-use consumption model that will help eliminate the hidden costs common with many public cloud providers.

Dell Technologies, for instance, launched Apex, their flagship as-a-service offering, in 2021, changing the way channel partners interact with and sell Dell products and services – from PCs servers to storage. Today, several other data center companies are shifting to as-a-service enterprises to offer a better cloud experience around control, cost, and simplicity.

The other benefit of data center as-a-service or why it’s becoming more popular is the ability to scale up or scale down based on the customer’s hosting needs. By democratizing data center resources, the as-a-service model balances cost, performance, and flexibility, and it’s undoubtedly a trend worth keeping an eye on.

components of DCaaS

The Emergence of 400G and 800G

2021 saw accelerated adoption of 200 Gb/s and 400 Gb/s switches, and the trend is just getting started. Thanks to the rapid shift to the cloud during the pandemic, top cloud service providers like Amazon and Google have been driving up the demand for high-speed switching gear. Today, tier two and three cloud providers are also embracing 200 Gb/s and 400 Gb/s switches to cut cost per bit at the system level while keeping up with the forerunners.

And while most data centers are yet to deploy these two high-speed switches, industry analysts hint that Google could be deploying the 800 Gb/s switches this year. This is largely driven by the availability of 800G optics and the need to further maximize cost reduction per port. The continued rise of 5G, next-gen virtualization, and cloud-native applications are also driving this upward trend in switch upgrades that every hyperscaler wants to be a part of.

The Demand for Edge Computing Continues

After the recent wave of digital transformation landed many organizations in the cloud, some enterprises realized that sending all the data to a centralized server for processing may be costly, time-consuming, and ineffective, especially with time-sensitive applications. This has seen many companies default to edge computing, where most of the data generated are processed near the network’s edge. The demand for edge computing is also seeing a huge boost from 5G buildouts. The benefits are reduced bandwidth requirements, low latency, and better data management and governance.

According to a recent market report, the edge computing market will grow from $36.5 billion in 2021 to an estimated $87.3 billion by 2026, representing a CAGR of 19% during the forecast period. This huge trend in the networking sector has already seen several enterprises IT leaders like Dell Technologies, HP, & IBM provide edge computing products and services. Similarly, tech giants like AWS and Google have entered the space, now selling distributed cloud edge.

Conclusion

The data center networking market is set to witness a great deal of disruption in the coming years, and those ready to embrace these trends will set themselves up for success. The huge investments flowing into the various IT sectors are indicative of the shifting consumer demands and the new technologies that promise value to all the market players. The three trends above aren’t exhaustive but are definitely the most significant moving forward.

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