From the Lab

3, 2, 1… Go! Data Center Trends, Strategies & Challenges

The rapid evolution of enterprise IT is having an enormous impact on data center design and operations. To discuss where the market is headed, Keystone NAP’s Shawn Carey (SVP of Sales & Marketing and co-founder) sat down recently with Datacenter Dynamics and a panel of experts from data center companies around the country. The entire discussion has now been archived for on-demand viewing (requires registration). However, we thought we’d also share some of the highlights here on our blog.

Thanks to Bruce Taylor from Datacenter Dynamics, as well as CEO Jeff Springborn from LightEdge, CEO Peter S. Marin from T5 Data Centers, and vice president Mike M Hagan from Schneider Electric Data Center Solutions for participating on the panel. From their shared insights and our own, here are: 3 customer trends, 2 data center strategies, and 1 big enterprise challenge to watch for heading into 2015.

3.) Customer Trends

Cost is critical, but flexibility is paramount. Several panel participants commented on customer demand for greater modularity and flexibility in data center deployments. Companies don’t want to be locked in to infrastructure they don’t need. Instead, they prefer to buy data center space and services that are customized to the applications they need to run (with room for growth in the future).

Hybrid cloud is here. Companies are growing more and more comfortable with cloud services, but that doesn’t mean they want to turn everything over to Amazon and Microsoft. In order to get the best of both worlds, customers are now demanding data center solutions that allow them to host their own mission-critical applications, but also connect to the cloud for select services and to distribute workflows.

And finally, the middle market is moving out. Of their own data centers, that is. As the infrastructure required to support even standard business operations continues to grow more complex, mid-size businesses have come around to the notion that sometimes it’s best to offload non-core IT systems. In 2015, we’ll start to see more mid-size companies heading to multi-tenant data centers (MTDCs).

2.) Data Center Strategies

To accommodate customer demand for more flexibility, data center experts agree that it’s important to align capital spend with revenue. Several large web companies have already made the move to modular data center build-outs, and going forward, many MTDCs are planning to employ the same strategy. Modularity allows data center companies to recoup investments quickly and pass on that value to customers.

Along similar lines, data center companies are getting more creative about taking advantage of infrastructure while limiting capital costs. Our own Keystone NAP site, for example, allows us to leverage an existing aquifer for more efficient, less expensive cooling. We also use modular KeyBlocks to break down the cost of customer deployments while still taking advantage of our massive power resources.

1.) Big Challenge for the Enterprise

Even with all the technology industry has done to improve IT operations, there are still a number of challenges for enterprise CIOs. And with an accelerated migration to third-party data centers taking place, one in particular stands out. Many companies don’t know how to transition on-premise data systems to an off-site facility. It’s a big job, and it can be difficult to know where to begin. Fortunately, many data centers are stepping up to the plate. Traditional facility services aren’t enough for today’s enterprise customers. Increasingly, data centers must provide more advanced services – including data center migration help – to keep customer operations running smoothly.