The need for data centers is rising, but providers must capitalize on the demand and learn how to stand out from competitors. Here are five ways they can do that.
Companies are increasingly looking for ways to show they're committed to eco-friendly practices. Partnering with a green data center could be one way for them to focus on that goal. Brands ranging from Google to Alibaba use sustainable technologies in their facilities to keep the data centers at the proper temperatures or to provide power.
Market research data suggests the global worth of the green data center market will be more than $221 billion by 2022. So, now is the time for data centers to show how they can support a more sustainable future with eco-friendly technologies.
However, data centers need to do more than let customers know about the upgrades. They must explain why the tech they offer is reliable, cutting-edge or otherwise notable compared to technologies not centered on sustainability.
In the case of Alibaba, the company uses water from a nearby lake that flows through tubes to provide a cooling effect for their servers. That approach cuts energy consumption by 80 percent compared to mechanical cooling systems. When prospective clients hear statistics like that, they'll understand the various benefits of eco-friendly methods and be able to apply them to their situations.
When clients think about their data center requirements, availability is almost always high on the list. When customers cannot afford any outages, they typically want setups that allow another facility at a different site to immediately handle the workload if the first one fails.
That's not surprising, since statistics show data center outages cost an average of more than $7,900 per minute. And, that expense has been on the rise, making it exceptionally important for customers to find data centers that will give them the reliability they need to operate smoothly. The expenses associated with outages could be even more extreme on shopping holidays such as Black Friday.
A service-level agreement should include uptime guarantees, and data center providers must ensure their data center infrastructures are well-equipped to meet those promises. That means eliminating single points of failure and having servers distributed across multiple geographic zones as a start. Data center representatives need to emphasize how high availability brings value to clients, too.
The marketing materials for data centers should go into detail about backup systems that are in place, as well. Explaining how those work and why they're reliable could help prospective customers feel confident.
Many data center clients don’t have sufficient on-site staff to maintain their equipment or troubleshoot problems. Then, if things go wrong, prolonged outages could result in adverse effects that bring employees stress and make a businesses’ customers upset. 24x7x365 support, also known as remote hands reduces problematic events.
Because the people who give remote hands support know the data center facilities inside and out, they’ll often spot problems before clients become aware of them. Also, they can respond at any time of the day or night, providing speedy solutions.
Besides reducing downtime, remote hands support brings other crucial business advantages, such as streamlining the installation of new equipment and allowing clients to utilize the talent of any IT team members in different ways.
Clients that do business with third-party data centers know those arrangements mean relinquishing control. But, in other cases, a partnership with an external data center could bring control in another way by helping clients get the information they need to make decisions about deployments and related matters.
More specifically, there’s a growing trend in the data center industry of providers giving clients access to data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools. Companies want to know that data centers are fulfilling their agreements and keeping everything running smoothly.
DCIM interfaces assure clients of those things and supply useful information to support business needs. Some platforms offer temperature readings or real-time power consumption. After gauging the content over time, clients can decide a data center is meeting expectations or if adjustments are necessary.
Customers know data center breaches could haunt them for years after the initial incidents, especially since such attacks cause lost profits, decreased confidence from stakeholders and low morale among employees. That’s why it’s crucial for data centers to maximize their competitiveness by demonstrating how security is an ongoing concern.
Beyond following best practices for cybersecurity, leading data centers keep physical security in mind. They employ access control measures by using card readers, fingerprint scanners or touchpad codes. Cameras also identify if data center workers have circumvented such safeguards and have somehow reached unauthorized areas.
Employee training helps cut down on seemingly harmless practices like tailgating — when a person follows an authorized user through an entryway. There are often cases where that second individual has credential too, but the person in front is trying to save time and prevent them from having to use a swipe card or similar method. This common tactic erodes physical security and makes people see the measures in place as unimportant.
But, when data centers demonstrate how security in all forms is always addressed at those facilities, that commitment could lead to increases in client numbers. Moreover, strong security measures help data centers stand out in a society where data protection shortcomings are frequent but preventable.
Data center competition is fierce. Remaining prominent in the marketplace requires taking time to understand how best to give customers what they need.
It's also essential to ensure a data center's infrastructure is built with the future in mind.
Kayla Matthews writes about data centers and big data for several industry publications, including The Data Center Journal, Data Center Frontier and insideBIGDATA. To read more posts from Kayla, you can follower her personal tech blog at ProductivityBytes.com.