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What’s next in tech: Modern data center explained

November 28, 2023

Navigate data center modernization with Arrow

Data center modernization

Arrow has teamed up with Vation Ventures to deliver a series of quick videos covering “What’s Next in Tech.” In our first six webinars this year, we broke down the trends impacting security and compliance, FinTech, storage, generative AI, the IT talent shortage and data democratization.

In this webinar, Taylor Grenawalt, director of research and insights at Vation, joins us to dive into “Modern Data Center - Disruption & Decentralization.” This video highlights the technology landscape, key drivers and market perspective.

What is the Modern Data Center?

The modern data center represents the solutions that enable businesses to access, streamline and optimize technological infrastructure and the corresponding processes that improve how IT services are delivered and consumed. It serves as the technological hub that allows organizations to effectively navigate the complexities of digital transformation and advancement.

Comprised of foundational technology such as hybrid cloud environments, software-defined architectures, and advanced computing solutions that are designed to handle increasingly sophisticated and complex tasks, the modern data center empowers businesses to store, manage and process data effectively, while also facilitating scalability, flexibility and security.

Hybrid Cloud Environments

Combining on-premises, private and public cloud resources, hybrid cloud environments enable businesses to balance scalability, cost-effectiveness and flexibility with control, security and customization. Hybrid cloud deployments empower businesses to leverage public cloud resources for variable workloads, while safeguarding sensitive data and mission-critical applications on private infrastructure. This flexibility has become vital in meeting the dynamic needs of today's digital landscape, enabling businesses to adapt and scale their operations rapidly in response to changing market dynamics and demands.

Software-Defined Architectures

Software-defined architectures and models have emerged as a fundamental aspect of the modern data center. Software-defined networking (SDN) and software-defined storage (SDS) bring programmability, automation and centralized control to network and storage infrastructure.

SDN allows administrators to manage and configure network resources dynamically, optimize performance and enhance security. SDS abstracts the underlying physical storage systems, enabling efficient data management, scalability and flexibility across different storage devices.

These software-based architectural approaches to storage, networking and other modern data center operations afford greater agility, resiliency and responsiveness to the evolving technological dynamics.

Computing Processors

In the pursuit of high-performance computing and efficient data management, the modern data center integrates advanced computing solutions, such as central processing units (CPUs), which can execute flexible, versatile and complex computations. Alongside CPUs, data processing units (DPUs) — which are specialized processors designed for data-intensive tasks — provide specific hardware acceleration for network and storage operations.

DPUs offload these operations from the CPU, resulting in improved performance, reduced latency and enhanced efficiency. By utilizing CPUs and DPUs together in the modern data center, businesses can optimize resource allocation, improve overall system performance, and effectively handle the increasing demands of data-intensive workloads, such as AI/ML, big data analytics and high-speed networking.

Trends Driving the Modern Data Center

The following represent some of the primary trends and business benefits that are driving the adoption and advancement of modern data center technologies among businesses.

  • System Disruption and Decentralization

The systematic disruption and decentralization refers to the transformative changes and evolutions taking place in the data center landscape. Traditional data center models are being disrupted by the adoption of cloud computing, enabling organizations to migrate workloads and applications to the cloud and access resources from the cloud, reducing reliance on physical hardware.

Additionally, the trend towards decentralization is driven by application and infrastructure modernization, where legacy systems and assets are updated and replaced with microservices-based, containerized architectures and specialty hardware, such as data processing units (DPUs). This shift distributes computing power and resources across multiple components, enhancing scalability, agility and deployment flexibility. Together, disruption and decentralization are reshaping the modern data center, empowering organizations with greater scalability, flexibility and cost-effectiveness while enabling efficient data management, automation and improved performance.

  • Cloud Transformation Initiatives

Cloud transformation initiatives are driving organizations to embrace the benefits of modern data center solutions, many of which are designed around cloud computing. This trend involves migrating workloads, applications and data to the cloud, either through public, private or hybrid cloud models. By leveraging the scalability, flexibility and cost-effectiveness of cloud infrastructure, businesses can optimize resource allocation, scale operations as needed, and reduce the investment and costs associated with physical hardware.

  • Application & Infrastructure Modernization

Application and infrastructure modernization involves updating and revamping legacy systems, applications, and the underlying infrastructure to align with current technology standards and business needs. The process — which often involves migrating from monolithic architectures to microservices-based or containerized architectures — allows businesses to achieve greater technological scalability, agility and deployment.

Modernizing applications and infrastructure can also facilitate and strengthen modern development practices, such as DevOps and continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD), leading to faster software development cycles, improved time-to-market, and enhanced overall system performance and security.

  • Data Proliferation & Access

Data proliferation and access refers to the exponential growth of data sources and signals, as well as the increasing need for organizations to effectively manage, analyze and derive valuable insights from collected data. Fueled by the spread of digital technologies, connected devices and IoT, modern data center solutions employ advanced storage technologies — such as distributed file systems and object storage — to efficiently store and manage vast amounts of data. Additionally, they may also incorporate advanced accessibility, security and analytic capabilities, including data lakes, encryption, virtualization and real-time analytics, to further improve an organization’s ability to securely leverage data in improving operations and decision-making processes.

  • Automation & Orchestration

Facing resource constraints and a growing list of technological complexities and considerations, businesses are leveraging automation tools to automate routine tasks, workflows and IT processes – minimizing human intervention, reducing human error and improving operational efficiency.

Orchestration takes automation a step further by managing and coordinating complex workflows across different components of the modern data center, such as computing, storage and networking. Supported by market and competitive drivers, modern data center automation and orchestration enables organizations to achieve faster provisioning, enhanced resource utilization, improved scalability and increased agility in response to changing demands.

How Distribution Can Help

To effectively embrace modern data center technologies, organizations can leverage the support of a distributor like Arrow to assist your customers in several key areas:

  1. System mapping and cost modeling: Look at your customers' current systems and infrastructures to understand the technological gaps, capabilities and resource capacity and craft a technology solution to effectively execute the initiative.

  2. Vulnerability assessments: Identify security threats and risks in their technology stack through vulnerability assessments, system reviews and other testing methods. Facilitate new opportunities to implement ancillary security, visibility, monitoring and observability tools and services.  

  3. Continuous evaluation and improvement: Guide you in maintaining a continuous evaluation and improvement process with your customers. Not only will this further the alignment and effectiveness of the implemented solution, but it will also strengthen relationships and afford future engagement and monetization opportunities.


Overall, Arrow can also help you drive further value through the delivery of missing service or product offerings. Alongside bolstering the value proposition of provided solutions, we can also help you craft tailored solutions and financing programs to fit specific customer needs.

Get started with Arrow today!

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