Written by: Eric Shepcaro
The data center market can be viewed from two perspectives: data center providers who operate multi-tenant facilities, and the mission-critical enterprise data centers that power entire organizations. At Telx, we have seen emerging trends in both areas that will affect how the cloud – and its strategic use – continues to evolve.
Data Center Shift: Putting Your Infrastructure to Work
Data center providers are seeing the benefits of partnerships and alliances that help build out industry-specific ecosystems. These ecosystems create larger communities of interest and give data center colocation customers the ability to directly connect to managed service providers, cloud computing providers, and communications services providers that make the most sense for their business. Not too long ago, data centers were flat, static repositories of hardware – but with the innovation of interconnection and the introduction of cloud computing, that approach has changed dramatically. Today, data centers are rich in cloud and network hubs that transform the data center into a dynamic environment, alive with multiple business communities and opportunities that are coming together to drive growth and expansion. The dynamic data center approach means your hardware is doing more than just sitting in a facility somewhere – it’s adding value to your business.
The other spectrum of the data center provider segment is represented by providers who have entered the market in the managed services space as a strategy to evolve their business into the cloud. They are actively embracing cloud technologies and developing products and services based on those cloud technologies with the goal of moving up the stack to evolve into a cloud services provider.
Enterprise Data Centers: Great Expectations
As enterprise IT groups continue to gain a better understanding of cloud technologies, they are moving to differentiate themselves with cloud computing in the orchestration layer of their business. Over the past year, an emerging trend has been a hybrid cloud approach that calls for hosting some applications on the premises, and others in a managed hosting or colocation data center environment, or both, depending on what makes the most sense to the business and user requirements. Consequently, enterprise data centers are using the cloud to reduce IT workload while improving operational efficiency and achieving economies of scale.
Today’s enterprise cloud user has high expectations of their cloud computing experience. While early adopters of cloud services could forgive the occasional glitch or service outage, this sort of issue is virtually unacceptable with the more savvy cloud customer. Cloud and managed service providers are investigating the distributed hybrid cloud approach, such as colocating their cloud nodes in established, strategically-located data centers, to alleviate some of the previous pain points of cloud delivery. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, enterprise cloud users have all too many options if their current cloud provider can’t meet expectations.
Benefits in the Cloud For 2012
With 2011 being the year of the hybrid cloud, we have begun to see increased clarity within the data center space and a better understanding of the difference between true cloud architectures and traditional virtualization. Cloud architectures facilitate an easy-to-manage grid and proximity to users – such as computing across hundreds of devices – whereas virtualization approaches can be difficult and cost prohibitive to deploy. And once deployed, they often cannot match the application speed, performance, and reliability of a cloud-based solution.
As data center providers and enterprises alike continue to recognize the value of a hybrid cloud approach, Telx foresees that cloud technologies will drive some exciting trends and deliver significant benefits to the data center market in 2012, including:
§ Building cloud communities in secure colocation data centers with connectivity to a broad range of networks to simplify expansion into the cloud either in a hybrid approach or a true cloud
§ Enabling more flexibility and scalability for accessing the cloud in colocation data centers through a variety of public, private, and hybrid offerings
§ Delivering a better quality of experience for end users with premium network performance service levels, ensured by flexible and secure colocation data center services
§ Simplifying the cloud for enterprises with “cloud in a box,” a pre-packaged, pre-configured, all-in-one scalable appliance that turns complex cloud deployments into off-the-shelf purchases
§ Customizing approaches to enterprise IT end-user support, such as allowing end users to use their own computing technology in the cloud in order to increase the adoption of portable and virtual desktops, specifically in the mobile world as connectivity speeds improve
§ Accelerating cloud -aware applications that “hook into the cloud” to automate the provisioning and tearing down of resources as business demands require, either in shared colocation environments or in an internal cloud
§ Increasing proximity to users to exceed their expectations for application delivery and performance. With increasing accessibility to digital content comes increasing impatience among users in regard to speed and reliability. The key to driving user satisfaction isn’t the hardware – it’s the application, where it is deployed, and the cloud’s proximity to the users.
Only time will tell what cloud computing in the data center space will look like in five years. At Telx, we believe the most successful data center providers will be those who are part of an established cloud community that supports fast adoption of the latest connectivity technology in a highly redundant, cloud-neutral colocation environment. In turn, the most successful enterprises will continue to embrace the hybrid cloud model for its data centers as a flexible and cost-effective strategy for bringing critical applications closer to users for greater customer satisfaction.
About the Author: Eric Shepcaro is Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Telx, a leading data center and interconnection provider with 17 locations nationwide. Mr. Shepcaro is responsible for leading and directing the strategy, growth and operations of the company. Under his leadership, Telx is a two-time Inc. 5000 company, a Red Herring North America Top 100 Company, and a two-time Crain’s NY Business “Best Companies to Work For” winner.