Forecasting data center needs is one of the most challenging tasks facing enterprises today. Variables like company shifts, technology innovations and user trends make it nearly impossible for companies to project what their data center requirements will be in one year, let alone in five, 10 or 20.
For this reason, most industry influencers have urged enterprises to err on the side of staying flexible with their data center environments. In the terms of Pitt Turner, Uptime Institute’s Executive Director, that means having the ability to fix and replace components like chillers and UPSs as readily as the tires on a car. With the right flexibility, Turner suggests a data center could even last a company some 20 years longer.
The question is, what should IT leaders be considering to future-proof their infrastructure?
Colocation Driven by Innovation
Data center footprints are shrinking and innovation is sky-rocketing across the enterprise landscape – and IT teams are poised to respond. The advent of concepts like hyperscale and hypercloud give companies the opportunity to take CapEx and IT resources that would have previously been tied up in managing a private data center and repurpose them for more impactful initiatives. As a result, internal IT gets the opportunity to spearhead business innovation from the ground up and networks can make major gains in terms of scalability. Not to mention, this flexibility enables IT to be more strategic with the way they approach their data centers, especially when it comes to moving some applications off-site and others to the cloud.
Interconnection is another factor making off-prem hosting or colocation attractive for enterprises today. By choosing space and power at an off-site, purpose-built facility, enterprises benefit from having a wider selection of carrier and service options as well as more flexibility and leverage in setting terms.
On top of the benefits of having more flexible IT resources and improved interconnection, colocation can equip enterprises with more secure and compliant networking environments. These can be especially valuable for enterprises adopting a hybrid cloud model are undergoing a period of expansion where new applications, data and users are entering the network. Having the opportunity to knit together different networking environments without risking security or compliance is a major advantage for enterprises today.
What else is driving multi-tenant data center/colocation facility adoption?
Reduced churn of noncritical workloads
Disaster recovery needs
Divesting owned data center infrastructure
Avoiding costs of a new site build
Not core business
-- Uptime Institute’s 2016 Data Center Industry Survey
Beyond cost savings, a hidden benefit of colocation and third-party data centers may be the agility it gives internal IT teams. Network requirements continue to increase in sophistication just as business lines are requiring growing levels of transparency. By moving colocation tasks off-site and offloading the responsibility of being the organization’s primary network gatekeeper, IT has a valuable opportunity to reposition themselves as strategic advisors and service providers for internal audiences.
So, what will an enterprise need in a data center need in 20 years? There’s no telling. But it’s safe to say network demands will continue to rise, and the opportunity for IT to be a catalyst of organizational innovation will grow. And colocation may offer teams the bandwidth they need to capitalize on that opportunity.
As the Marketing Director at vXchnge, Blair is responsible for managing every aspect of the growth marketing objective and inbound strategy to grow the brand. Her passion is to find the topics that generate the most conversations.