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Anyone that knows me is well aware of my addiction to technology. On a personal side, I tend to be a very early adopter of technology—from phones, to gaming consoles, streaming devices, and more. And on the business side, let’s just say that our NOC takes things a little too far. And I’m okay with both sides of that proverbial coin. I like my toys, and I like our customers and team members to benefit from the right equipment to ensure business keeps running—because that is our business.

However, there is a darker side to the toys that keep our global society all happy and in business—the ever-present concept of ever-growing data. Now, first I’m not complaining. In fact, data is a wonderfully powerful tool. However, there is an impact that we all suffer from whether it’s personal or business, and that is the need for constant upgrading and additions of new gear to accommodate data.

For instance, let’s look at the consumer side first as it leads directly back to business IT infrastructure. Here’s a far too common story: A close friend of mine is married with two teenagers at home. Just recently he was forced to invest in an enterprise-grade router for his home. Now, why would a guy with a wife and two kids living in suburbia need such a thing? Let’s do the math.

In his house every person has a laptop; in fact, he has two. Then there are four tablets, four phones, five Apple TVs, a Wi-fi enabled smart thermostat, a smart alarm system, and a few other IoT devices rounding out the collection. The result? In all, he has 28 devices on his network at all times. Now, remember the teenagers? At any given time he also has anywhere from one to six or more “guests” almost every weekend—and they show up with phones, tablets, laptops, etc. See where this is going?

In fact, a recent study from just last year showed the average American household had up to 13 networked devices and connections per person. Sounds outrageous? Before jumping to conclusions, do a quick inventory and check on yourself—I’ll bet you’re not far off.

Now, what does this all mean for businesses? Everyday my company peers under the hood of countless companies to ensure their infrastructure keeps running. And with that I have seen two very distinct scenarios play out that continue to dominate the business world. First, the amount of infrastructure growth is like nothing I have ever experienced. The need for new gear to accommodate an as-a-service economy is nothing short of mind blowing. 

Second, the increased need for up-time as it pertains to IT infrastructure. Now, I’m not saying that in the past businesses didn’t care about downtime—it’s always been there. After all, if you’re not making money, you’re losing money. However, in every aspect of daily life, business or personal (these seem to bleed into one), the pressure on business to keep everything running seamlessly 24/7 is at an all-time high.

Knowing that your business’s infrastructure in turn keeps other people in business as they too must also stay operational 24/7 for their own customers, and so on, is a far heavier weight to bear in 2019 than ever before. 

And what is the cause of all of this? Simply put, it’s data. Every single business function now resides on data that is growing exponentially every second. From the teenagers in my friend’s house accessing social media, games, school, music, and so on, to the businesses that connect to the world to deliver services, access online tools and applications, to IoT devices in manufacturing and shipping that monitor productivity—it’s all got to go somewhere, for some purpose. 

In the end, that data—and all things digital transformation related—is the cause and effect of infrastructure growth, and the need for zero unplanned downtime. Now, the real question becomes: Where does it all end? Until that is answered, ensuring that your business stays up and running at all times is paramount.