The state of the industry

A yearly update on data center trends, challenges, and opportunities

Change is one thing the mission critical industry has never lacked, but, it’s safe to say the COVID-19 pandemic ramped up the rate at which it’s taking place. So, what does that mean for the digital transformation, cybersecurity, sustainability, workforce development, the edge, and the cloud? And, what about cryptocurrency, quantum computing, AI, machine learning, AR/VR, and the metaverse?

If you’re thinking, “Wow, that’s a lot of questions,” then you’re absolutely right. What’s more is there are a lot of guesses floating around out there as to what the answers really are.

Mission Critical has been listening to both sides of the equation, and this article sums up the key elements of the formula.

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Critical infrastructure 
The Cyber Priority, a research report exploring the state of cybersecurity in the energy sector, finds that more than four-fifths of professionals working in the power, renewables, and oil and gas sectors believe a cyberattack on the industry is likely to cause operational shutdowns (85%) and damage to energy assets and critical infrastructure (84%). Three quarters (74%) expect an attack to harm the environment while more than half (57%) anticipate it will cause loss of life.

"Energy companies have been tackling IT security for several decades. However, securing operational technology (OT) — the computing and communications systems that manage, monitor, and control industrial operations — is a more recent and increasingly urgent challenge for the sector."

Trond Solberg, managing director of cybersecurity for DNV 

Read more here.

Ukrainian-Russian War 
After the conflict broke out, U.S. cybersecurity agencies reported an 800% increase in cyberattacks over a 48-hour period. Additionally, President Joe Biden warns that a flood of major cyberattacks may be on the way that could detrimentally affect American companies. Due to this, Biden and U.S. Homeland Security are urging enterprises to secure their systems and data now.

"While the digitization of business processes has helped organizations reduce operational costs and increase efficiency, cybercriminals can more readily exploit company system vulnerabilities and gain access to sensitive data. More than ever, it’s critical that companies prepare to handle and resolve potential security attacks that can be detrimental to their customer and partner relationships, business growth, and overall operations."

Ray Meiring, CEO and co-founder of QorusDocs 

Read more here.

Dark web 
A new study by NordVPN analyzed one of the dark web markets that has illegally sold more than 720,000 items and data pieces for a total of $17.3 million. Prices for American items or pieces of data varied from 99 cents to $342. The most expensive merchandise was bank account login data, which had an average price of $90. This is 15 times more than the cheapest category — U.S. payment card data — which had an average price of $6.

Among the items found globally were passports, personal IDs, driving licenses, email, payment card data, mobile phone numbers, online accounts, bank account logins, crypto accounts, and more.

"This one market is just the tip of an iceberg. There are over 30,000 websites on the dark web at the moment. Keep in mind that only 4% of the entire internet belongs to the surface web that is available to any user online. The market that was analyzed in our case study was chosen because it was used by some big hacker groups in the past, such as the one involved in AT&T data theft in August of last year."

— Adrianus Warmenhoven, cybersecurity expert at NordVPN

Read more here.

Workforce Development

Remote work
"This shift to the cloud affects the industry in two primary ways; increased demand for data center services and decreased available workforce. As more businesses move to the cloud, data center service providers are seeing a corresponding increase in demand for their services due to the growth of the world's digital infrastructure and an increase in remote working. We live in a digital era and with the rise of cloud computing, IoT, data centers play an increasingly critical role in society. With more use, comes greater demand for infrastructure."

— Steve Scott, CEO of Datalec Precision.

Read more here.

"There is a transition from vCIO as a role to a solution — an approach that can help managed services providers (MSPs) transform a relationship from the technical to the strategic and operational. An effective vCIO solution allows MSPs to analyze technical environments, establish standards, make business recommendations, track feedback, and — most importantly — develop custom, strategic road maps geared to a company."

— Gary Pica, founder and president of TruMethods, a Kaseya company

Read more here.


"While data center use is growing, so too is cloud-based data storage. Originally, it was expected that cloud-only storage would diminish the need for physical data centers. However, it now seems that hybrid designs that combine cloud services and physical locations are shaping the future. While the cloud will not end the need for data centers, it will alter how they are designed, built, and used."

— Paraic Morrissey, resident manager for RLB’s New York office.

Read more here.

“2021 was a key year for data strategy with the shift away from third-party cookies, uptake of machine learning, and COVID-19 all forcing companies to seek new ways of better understanding and engaging with customers in the digital age. In 2022, data privacy rules and regulations will continue to be key in shaping how customer data is used, but demand for easily accessible rich behavioral data, plus the staff and modern data stacks to make use of it, will take center stage.”

—  Alex Dean, co-founder and CEO, Snowplow

Read more here.


"Data released in November 2021 by the International Energy Agency shows the industry has done a tremendous job of serving needs without consuming more power. It’s a verified and impressive fact we can be proud of. And it’s time that we, as an industry, get a little more vocal about our accomplishments."

— Chris Crosby, founder and CEO of Compass Datacenters

Read more here.

"As data centers continue to take a central role in people’s lives, the need to offset the energy they consume will become more imperative. Thankfully, data center operators will soon have the opportunity to not only accomplish this but also engage with the electrical grid in a way that helps accelerate the integration of renewable energy sources. “Grid-interactive” data center solutions will provide the critical enabling technology to help data centers become not only power users but also an asset for the grid. Harnessing this technology with the innovation in energy storage will help data center operators optimize energy usage, reduce the cost of energy through demand response integration, support the grid to enable greater adoption of renewables, and advance their organizations’ sustainability objectives."

— Janne Paananen, technology manager for critical power solutions organization at Eaton EMEA
— Ehsan Nasr, Ph.D, P.Eng. SMIEEE, senior infrastructure engineer and technical lead for data center advanced development, cloud operation, and innovation at Microsoft.

Read more here.

"In addition to being environmentally friendly and safe, CRAC systems using CO 2 as a refrigerant can save on energy and costs, improve system efficiency, and make better use of available space with the reduced size of the components. These sustainable and cost-effective systems are a possible solution to phasing out refrigerants with significant global warming potential, like hydrofluorocarbons, and now is the time to make the change."

— Seth Chicos, data center sales manager at Carnot Refrigeration.

Read more here.

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Amy Al-Katib

Amy Al-Katib, CDCDP, is editor-in-chief of Mission Critical magazine. She is a member of 7x24 Exchange Intl., ASIS Intl., BICSI, iMasons, the International Society of Philosophical Enquiry, and Mensa. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University and a certificate in STEM/computer science from New York University. She is currently enrolled in the Master's of Science Cybersecurity program at NYU. Reach her at

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