The Data Center Frontier Executive Roundtable features insights from industry executives with lengthy experience in the data center industry. Here’s a look at the insights from Randy Rowland of Cyxtera.
Randy Rowland leads Cyxtera’s global data center services business, and is responsible for all aspects including strategy, business management, operations, product development and evangelism. Since February 2013, Rowland has served as a Partner of Medina Capital, identifying companies with disruptive technologies and providing the portfolio with guidance on strategic initiatives. From December 2011 to February 2013, Rowland served as Senior Director of Cloud Platform Services at VMware where he led key initiatives to evolve VMware’s “as a Service” strategy focused primarily on Cloud Foundry and vCloud Services. From 2007 through August 2011, Rowland was a Senior Vice President of Product Development of Terremark, guiding the company into the emerging cloud computing industry by leading the development and launch of Terremark’s Enterprise Cloud service offering. From August 1999 until the time it was acquired by Terremark in 2007, Mr. Rowland was responsible for Product Development and Sales Engineering at Data Return. Rowland received his Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Distribution from Texas A&M University.
Here’s the full text of Randy Rowland’s insights from our Executive Roundtable:
Data Center Frontier: What is the one trend you believe will be most significant in shaping the data center industry in 2019, and why?
Randy Rowland: In 2019, the most significant trend shaping the industry will be the on-demand data center. Enterprises will continue their move beyond enterprise data centers in their race to deliver hybrid IT “as a service.” As a result, IT leaders will look for more viable alternatives to support workloads not fit for cloud. To keep pace with this demand, enterprises will look to data center providers for a way to balance agility with control, such as the ability to provision software-defined connectivity and dedicated hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). The on-demand data center will also need to provide quick and easy access to a diverse ecosystem of network and service providers.
Data Center Frontier: As the data center industry continues to grow, finding and developing staff is a challenge. What are the key steps to ensuring quality staffing into the future? What’s the appropriate role of automation (and even AI) in scaling?
Randy Rowland: Operations staff quality and expertise are often key criterion in the selection of a data center provider. Our commitment to innovation has helped us retain our team of highly experienced engineers, many of whom have cultivated strong relationships with customers over years working in the same data center facilities. Automation and machine learning can play a valuable role in a many ways. Using automation, we’re able to optimize energy efficiency by regulating temperature and humidity controls. It can also help improve staff productivity by quickly establishing the root cause of an event, and direct and prioritize recovery activities. Automation and machine learning may even predict events before they occur, enabling staff to take more preventative measures.
Data Center Frontier: Data center geography continues to be a hot topic. What markets will be strongest in 2019, and why? What are the up-and-coming markets that may make headlines in 2019?
Randy Rowland: Our core metro regional markets, including Dallas, New York, London, Phoenix, Chicago, the Bay Area and Northern Virginia, continue to see strong demand. Beyond just having a strong presence in one or two key markets, we’re seeing increased demand from customers for a single provider that can address their needs with a diverse global footprint across multiple geographies. In addition to presence in core markets, we plan to expand into new markets based on demand from our customers. Our continued commitment to grow and maintain a diverse connectivity ecosystem can also help global enterprises transcend dependencies on geographic proximity.
Data Center Frontier: Security remains a priority for customers. How are security issues being considered in the data center design and product offerings for service providers? Will this change in 2019?
Randy Rowland: Your perimeter isn’t limited to a physical data center location, it could be anywhere, and needs to be secured everywhere. In fact, the greater risk of theft in a data center isn’t through the front door, it’s over the network. In 2019, to maximize uptime and availability and ensure data, infrastructure and networks are protected, customers will expect data center providers that can address the entire spectrum of physical and cyber security. To effectively defend against both physical and cyber threats, data center providers need to take a holistic approach to IT infrastructure security ’s defined around people, their roles in the organization, and access to only those resources they need to perform their job.