Preparing For A New (Digital) Reality

The way enterprises create, use, deliver and store data will change sooner than you may think. Our 26-page cover story introduces you to the executives and companies managing the groundbreaking concept of data gravity.


In the Zettabyte Era of today, numbers tell the entire story about the growth of data. Humans generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data on a daily basis [One quintillion is defined as a one followed by 18 zeros]. According to IDC Research, the number of people interacting with data every day is set to grow from 5 billion currently to 6 billion by 2025. That is 75 percent of the world’s population. Research from IDC says that this exponential growth is fueled by data creation from the core, the edge and connected endpoints. What’s more, the number of devices connected to IP networks will be more than three times the global population by 2023 according to Cisco. It is also projected that the number of networked devices (18.4 billion in 2018) will shoot up to more than 29 billion in the next three years.

For a deeper understanding of the scale of these future growth trends, IDC’s research projects that the global datasphere will expand from 45 zettabytes in 2019 to 175 zettabytes by 2025. This enormous growth in data will require enterprises to rethink IT architecture, which will inevitably give rise to a whole new set of challenges.


Later in this article, we’ll get more background from when Dave McCrory coined the term “data gravity” in 2010 as a reference to the way data affects surrounding services and applications. McCrory’s blog post states:

“Consider data as if it were a planet or other object with sufficient mass. As data accumulates (builds mass) there is a greater likelihood that additional services and applications will be attracted to this data. This is the same effect gravity has on objects around a planet. As the mass or density increases, so does the strength of the gravitational pull. As things get closer to the mass, they accelerate toward the mass at an increasingly faster velocity.”

The accumulation of data makes it harder to move. This can cause management complexities and can start to hinder digital transformation. If businesses don’t design their architectures to effectively manage this accumulation of information, data gravity can become the single biggest challenge to scaling digital business.


As the number of users and endpoints that enterprises serve increases, the rates of creation and exchange of data also rise. This growth of interactions and transactions between users and machines creates a need for increased data processing and storage—both structured and unstructured. Although data analytics, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) enable enterprises to embed workflow intelligence, they also fuel a need for additional data aggregation, enrichment and increased data exchange. This compounding effect creates complexities that inhibit digital transformation while also developing particular challenges that traditional backhauled architectures are not ready to fully address.


A Watershed Year

2020 has been a watershed year; one that has accelerated our transformation into a digital society. It will forever leave its mark on the way we live, think and work. The task for IT architects, business strategists and technology leaders will be to ensure that their IT architecture can handle the demands placed on it in a post-COVID world. The massive growth of data has burdened current architectures, and these traditional backhauled infrastructures don’t have the ability to address the data gravity challenges that impede digital transformation. To address this, IT architectures need to be inverted to a data-centric architecture in order to bring users, devices, networks and clouds to the data at global points of presence and at centers of data exchange. To help achieve an optimized IT infrastructure for the digital workplace, Digital Realty developed a Pervasive Data Center Architecture (PDx) that enables enterprises to accelerate deployment and improve the precision of their infrastructure to scale digital business globally.


Effectively addressing data gravity requires a connected community approach among enterprises, connectivity, cloud and content providers. This brings together the core, cloud and edge to underpin a secure, data-centric hybrid IT architecture at global points of business presence deployed in multi-tenant data centers. Digital Realty offers a trusted foundation supported by a connected community approach to enable global coverage and interconnected ecosystems with access to networks, leading cloud and IT providers and global enterprises. Digital Realty is also investing in the development of a unified customer experience that supports the business processes that will accelerate deployment cycles for multi-national enterprises rapidly accelerating towards a single global platform.  


The digital economy is transforming industries by creating new business models, markets, capabilities and efficiencies. This rapidly changing landscape demands a new business architecture—one that is ubiquitous, real-time, intelligent and omnichannel. PlatformDIGITAL® represents the culmination of more than 15 years of innovation by Digital Realty, and was purpose-built for this reality. It is a pervasive global data center platform that integrates the physical and virtual worlds in close proximity to centers of data exchange, interconnected to digital communities of interest and tailored to business needs. PlatformDIGITAL® is a first-of-its-kind global data center platform designed to enable customers to scale digital business by transforming their IT infrastructure to operate on demand and informed by real-time intelligence. PlatformDIGITAL® provides a global data center platform that solves the challenges presented by data gravity via:

  • Bringing users, things, applications, clouds and networks to the data at the centers of data exchange
  • Delivering a trusted foundation to solve the connectivity needs of global coverage, capacity and communities of interest with a single data center provider
  • Tailoring infrastructure deployments and controls matched to business needs irrespective of datacenter size, scale, location, configuration or interconnections
  • Operating deployments as a seamless extension of any global infrastructure with the consistent experience, security and resiliency that business demands
  • Enabling global distributed workflows at centers of data exchange to scale a digital business and a comprehensive multi-cloud strategy