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Distribution and Distance in the Evolving Data Center

By: Kaylie Gyarmathy on April 22, 2015

Companies aren't afraid to build. That's the word from Data Center Dynamics, reporting on a recent Research and Markets study which predicts that by 2019 data center construction will be worth more than $22 billion. In large part, the rise in data traffic and storage needs are driving this need for more data center space but as noted by Tech Target, the pendulum is now swinging away from consolidated to distributed data centers—how does your business find balance in this evolving market?

The Fault in Our Servers

Tech Target calls out 10 specific changes in the evolving data center industry. Number eight on the list is that large-server data centers are being replaced with smaller, distributed sites. Why? In part, this is being done to limit the chances of disastrous faults—even if one site fails, others can pick up the slack. In addition, the distributed model focuses on speed of content delivery by utilizing multiple sites close to large urban centers; when the problem of distance is eliminated, latency becomes a non-issue.

This trend explains much of the recent growth seen in the colocation data center market. Businesses considering a new build must now think about location, staffing and potential life span before dollar one is ever spent; while market forces continue to drive the expansion of physical data centers, it's best to view this as momentum from the last big push toward consolidation. As companies struggle to meet increasing bandwidth and storage requirements, expect the number of colo builds to outstrip the amount of single-purpose server rooms.

Knowing is Half the Battle

Another factor in the distributed data center push? Scarcity of IT skills. Cloud computing, Big Data, and virtualized server management are not standard skill sets, and in many cases the need for on-demand, 24/7 support clashes with more traditional notions of IT oversight and control. In fact, a recent survey found that 1 in every 3 cloud managers does not have adequate training for the job. One option is to cross-train and retrain in-house as a way to improve IT efficacy, but especially for small and midsize businesses both the time and budgetary constraints make this an uphill battle.

As a result, many companies now choose to outsource some portion of their IT management to trusted third parties. Ultimately, what matters is what's important for your bottom line. Some businesses prefer to contract out cloud management, while others prefer the benefits of colocation: Power, security, and carrier-neutral connections are provided, allowing IT staff the ideal balance of control over their own hardware and the freedom to innovate.

Construction of consolidated data centers remains a significant driver of market growth but smaller, multi-client facilities are on the rise as a way to balance the need for low latency and improved fault tolerance. Simply put? Going small on distance and big on distribution offers a solid foundation for the evolving data center.

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