Customers consider a lot of factors before choosing a colocation provider such as security, support, uptime and cost. But a recent study showed customers are also putting a premium on the sort of access they can get from a colo to other network providers, including cloud and “as-a-service” providers.
For its study, 451 Research surveyed 450 colocation buyers worldwide, those responsible for advising or directly choosing colocation services. One question asked respondents to rate the importance of a variety of factors when selecting a colocation provider. You can read the full report here.
Users Value Colocation Connectivity to Other Providers
More than four out of five (81%) decision-makers said network choice and capacity, including direct connections to partners and public clouds, were either important or extremely important to them. That put the connectivity issue on par with cost and on-site remote-hands or white glove support in terms of importance. Only 24×7 security scored higher, with 85% deeming it important.
The issue speaks to the trend toward hybrid IT strategies that enterprises and smaller companies are increasingly deploying, where there is a mix of IT equipment and applications they operate but turn to cloud, SaaS and service providers for others.
Of course, some or all of the IT infrastructure that companies operate on their own may be in a colocation provider’s facility. So, to the extent a colocation provider wants to attract hybrid IT customers, it’s advised that they find alternatives that accommodate buyer needs.
Considering Colocation Cloud Options
Another 451 Research report, “2018 Trends in Multi-Tenant Datacenters,” states that “data center providers will need a cloud strategy.” However, providers have few options when it comes to the cloud.
One is to offer large-scale wholesale data center space for lease to SaaS, cloud and managed service providers. That will naturally make it simple for enterprise customers to connect to those providers, although choice may be limited.
Another, better option in my view, is to become an interconnection hub. As the 451 Research report says “Connectivity to cloud, SaaS and managed service providers is becoming increasingly important. As enterprises increasingly adopt hybrid approaches, leasing space in facilities that enable connections to multiple providers rapidly and cost effectively can be a key element of their IT strategies.”
That reminded me of a talk I heard late last year by Ross Winser, research director at Gartner, at the International Colo Club meeting in London. He showed a slide with a primary data center in the middle, surrounded by about a dozen other sites that are all involved in enterprise IT service delivery. They include a disaster recovery site, public cloud, colocation provider, a second data center, various “as-a-service” sites (DRaaS, SaaS and PaaS), branch offices and branch micro data centers.
His point was colocation providers may have a hand in helping to support many if not all of those sites.
Counter Complexity with Advanced Management
I agree with Winser and 451 Research, but would argue that such interconnections are going to add to the complexity that already exists within colocation provider data centers. To help streamline it, providers should consider advanced management tools, such as Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure for Cloud and Service Providers.
EcoStruxure takes advantage of Internet of Things technology to collect data from all sorts of connected devices and infrastructure in a data center, including UPSs, PDUs, power and cooling systems. To further optimize the infrastructure performance and mitigate risk, customers can also consider leveraging a cloud-based software like our Data Center Management as a Service (DMaaS).
Learn what other insights 451 Research garnered from colocation customers, download the free report, “Customer Insight: Future-proofing your colocation business.” No matter what path you choose to take to best serve your customers, you can turn to tools like EcoStruxure to ensure you run your data centers reliably and cost-effectively.