Gabriele Sposato, CMO at Aruba S.p.A, explains where the current demand is coming from for data centres and how companies can meet this demand.
1. Tell us, where do you see current demand for data centres coming from?
All manner of companies now rely on data centre services and cloud computing to support and optimise their online applications. Currently, we’re seeing some spikes in demand from e-commerce businesses looking to provide a better online retail experience to their customers. These businesses require a strong and reliable online infrastructure that supports the current surge in demand for online shopping during this current global pandemic crisis.
We’re also seeing increased demand for WordPress plugins that come pre-installed to develop and grow a business’ online presence, such as our own WooCommerce Hosting service. The reason for that is simple. Retailers want a pre-packaged solution that delivers everything in one go, so that they can configure their online shop and start selling immediately. We take care of the back end monitoring, backup and restore, updates and advanced support, basically everything that is needed for security, speed and efficient performance. For those that are new to e-commerce and have been forced to push more on their online activity as more people are forced to stay indoors, we’re also seeing a demand in solutions that allow them to create their own websites, so something such as the SuperSite Professional, a professional tool that allows you to create your own website with e-shop included.
2. What challenges are they currently facing because of this? Are there issues with lack of staff, for example?
Primarily, that kind of businesses are looking for the lowest latency connectivity. This is essential in the case of businesses running online shops, as well as those supporting remote working. A big challenge for us is in reducing that latency for customers looking to host a larger number of shoppers online or viewers during live streaming and the most effective way of doing that.
A big challenge for us, as a business, is making sure that our staff are provided with all possible and necessary tools and methods to support remote working. This has worked really well for us, as we’ve been able to provide all of our staff working in data centres with the necessary tools and measures to continue supporting them. Another bonus is that in IT, work can largely be done remotely, and the benefits of working in such a sector is that most, if not all, work can be performed remotely at all levels. We’ve certainly benefited from this as we’ve been able to very quickly overcome the technological limits related to remote working so it has been possible to successfully adapt to the new situation and continue to do so.
3. What are you doing to overcome these challenges and meet demand?
Currently, we’ve provided all of our employees working remotely with the necessary tools to allow them to continue their day-to-day work. Within the data centres themselves, we’ve taken extra care and attention towards implementing measures that allow us to protect the premises, so for example, cleaning on a daily basis, disinfecting surfaces with special solutions, as well as providing our staff with masks and caring for their wellbeing on a daily basis. We believe that this will allow our employees to continue their shifts, monitor the DC infrastructure and, in general, the facilities. This is similar to what we generally do for the FOC (Facility Operation Centre) and NOC (Network Operation Centre), so essentially, it’s an extension of what we’ve already been doing here.
On the ground itself, we have a minimum essential number of staff who carry out their work flawlessly and follow the national provisions offered by the government, such as maintaining the one/two metres physical distance between people. More crucially, as a business, we have the skills and experience necessary to make the company work even in a different configuration that we’re not used to on a day-to-day basis. That’s why we keep on considering new solutions and tools to meet the possible needs.
4. Are you noticing other trends?
We’re also noticing a trend from companies requesting services related to online identification and certification, such as digital signatures or remote digital signatures, as well as certified electronic email systems, which makes it possible for companies to send emails with legal value equivalent to that of a registered letter with return receipt – we call this PEC. These tools are simplifying the everyday life and procedures, thanks to the digitisation of processes, so we’re seeing that customers and users, in general, are becoming more accustomed to using these services and continue to request them because they are useful to operate remotely and allows normal business workflow operations to run smoothly.