For my money, there is no better source of information about the colocation industry than those who work for colo providers. Analyst reports and the trade press absolutely have their place, but I’ve always valued most the opinions of those who are in the trenches every day, with skin in the game, trying to make it all work.
That’s why it is quite interesting to hear the unvarnished points of view of eight influential leaders who are intimately involved with the colocation business in a series of videos that Schneider Electric recently released.
It is striking to me how consistent their views are with our recently released report, “Opportunities and threats for colocation providers around the globe.” That report was based on a roundtable discussion we had late last year with a group of more than 30 global colocation providers – while at one time, there may have been large discrepancies in the challenges faced in North America vs the rest of the world, this series of videos confirms that the world is indeed getting much smaller. Interestingly, this video series goes it one further by adding an eighth trend, namely interconnectivity.
Watch the videos and you’ll soon see why we added that trend: it’s named by a number of subjects as a crucial aspect of many of the other seven trends, including edge computing and cloud computing.
In fact, in watching the videos, it struck me how many of the megatrends are interrelated.
In the discussion of edge computing, for example, you’ll hear Hugh Carspecken, CEO at DartPoints, talk about how latency is a driver toward the edge computing trend. But he also talks about how edge changes the way infrastructure is deployed, and increases the importance of interconnectivity among applications – which requires speedy interconnectivity both within the data center and with other data centers and service providers.
Cloud computing, of course, has likewise always relied on highly available, reliability interconnectivity, a point that Andy Stewart, Chief Strategy Officer at TierPoint makes clear. Other trends he discusses include increased demand for colocation services from Internet Giants and the rapid growth of cloud in general.
“We’re having to speed up investments in areas we weren’t planning to just 2 years ago,” he says. Previously, the company was focused on connecting its facilities to cloud providers like Azure and Amazon Web Services. Now it is providing services to those giants.
That quickly changing landscape is also having an effect on data center design, says Kevin Dalton, Vice President of Engineering at Digital Realty. The demand for cloud services is translating to demand for larger and larger data centers. To keep up, his company is making more use of prefabricated data center modules for electrical and mechanical infrastructure. The approach not only enables the company to build data centers faster, but with better quality, he says – because the modules are built in a factory with better quality control as opposed from assembling the components in the field.
The Internet of Things (IoT) and big data are also drivers behind the need for larger data centers, says Doug Adams, President at RagingWire. He argues the demand is creating the need for large “at-scale” data centers of 15MW or greater that offer economies of scale that smaller data centers can’t match. That enables companies like his to more cost-effectively offer data center services to large customers – including the Internet Giants.
Big data also comes up in the discussion about data center infrastructure management (DCIM). Craig McKesson, Executive Vice President of Enterprise Services at T5 Data Centers, says big data is at the core of DCIM, which is all about taking in all sorts of data and analyzing it to make smarter decisions about data center operations and management.
The good news is that, thanks to companies like his, DCIM is getting easier to use. T5 offers customers a DCIM service, based on Schneider Electric StruxureWare offering. Users of the service can get real-time information on data center power utilization, cooling and the like from their handheld devices – wherever they may be.
These are just a few of the highlights I took away from the series of eight videos. Check them out for yourself and I’m sure you’ll come up with some of your own.