Today we continue our Data Center Executive Roundtable, a quarterly feature showcasing the insights of thought leaders on the state of the data center industry, and where it is headed. In today’s discussion, our panel of experienced data center executives – Rick Crutchley from Iron Mountain, Intel Software’s Jeff Klaus, David Richards from Chatsworth Products, Randy Rowland of Cyxtera Technologies, EdgeConneX CMO Phillip Marangella, and James Leach of RagingWire Data Centers – discuss the shift of enterprise IT workloads into third-party cloud platforms and colo facilities.
The conversation is moderated by Rich Miller, the founder and editor of Data Center Frontier.
Data Center Frontier: The shift of enterprise IT workloads into third-party cloud platforms and colo facilities appears to be continuing. What strategies and services are proving most useful in working with enterprises in this transition?
James Leach: Increasingly we are hearing from our customers that would like us to include data center deployment services as part of their colocation solution. They want these services to be local, onsite, and consultative. Local is important because skills, available talent, and pricing can vary widely from market to market. You want to hire a data center deployment firm that knows the local suppliers and sub-contractors, and can optimize this mix for the project’s success.
Onsite is about having experience and knowledge of the actual data center facility and its staff. For example, each facility can have nuances regarding shipping and receiving, install timeframes, power and cooling systems, security, and telecommunications.
Finally, you want a service provider that is consultative, takes ownership of the project and is an excellent listener and problem solver. Data center projects typically have unique customer requirements that must be discussed and addressed.
Rick Crutchley: Migration service capabilities are proving to be useful in working with enterprises in this transition. Regardless of size, migration can be painful for organizations, especially in the case of moving a legacy/enterprise application or infrastructure from one place to another. Requested capabilities range from the transport of hardware to a 360-degree migration solution that includes application exploration and preparation, along with dependency mapping and other consulting services.
Providing multiple options for customers to connect and integrate with their cloud environments is essential, as hybrid IT is a top concern for today’s enterprise. Colocation providers offer SDN/cloud exchanges, on-ramps, and traditional carrier-based connectivity to hyperscale clouds as well as other niche cloud offerings.
Compliance support is another critical component depending on the type of customer. At Iron Mountain, we offer an industry-leading compliance program where we assist customers in preparing for audits and risk mitigation. For public sector organizations, financials, healthcare, the Fortune 500, and numerous others, enterprise applications are laden with PII, PHI, financial data and other protected data sets that must be stored and transferred according to regulations.
Phillip Marangella: The cloud continues to be a major driver of the Edge as CSP’s look to place more cloud on-ramps, applications and compute in locations as proximate to end users as possible, thus ensuring an optimal quality of service and experience because of the lowered latency, improved performance and increased security of deploying near their customers.
Meanwhile, the need to collaborate with network, storage, security and managed service providers that can help provide integrated, hybrid and multi-cloud solutions are also key benefits to enterprises in local markets and mitigates many of the cloud adoption impediments. The goal is to bring the cloud to the enterprise, rather than the enterprise to the cloud and provide a localized end-end solution customers.
Randy Rowland: While IT workload migration continues in full force, many of our enterprise customers are reevaluating their decision to move certain workloads from their on-premise data center to the cloud. As the high cost to operate steady-state workloads in the cloud has proven out, many workloads are not built for a cloud-first strategy. Other workloads can’t move to the cloud for reasons of security and control. Yet the pressure on IT organizations to quickly and cost-effectively stand up new infrastructure has never been greater.
Enterprises, service providers and systems integrators looking to ease the transition to hybrid IT should look for data center providers that offer an on-demand approach to interconnection and dedicated infrastructure, such as that which Cyxtera has pioneered with our CXD platform. Our customers leverage CXD as their cloud-first alternative for workloads that need the speed and agility of cloud combined with the control and compliance of colocation.
First and foremost, on-demand colocation streamlines how organizations interconnect and expand their existing colocation and cloud environments. 451 Research refers to this as “software-programmable interconnection”: the ability to provision and consume cross-connects, IP transit, and metro networks in near real time. Network security compliance can be vetted at the platform level, which adds to the agility and ease with which additional workloads can migrate into colocation.
Our customers are seeing 25-50% lower total cost of ownership when they provision dedicated infrastructure in a consumption-based model, rather than traditional design to peak over a 3 to 5-year capacity plan. On-demand provisioning also helps minimize the impact of tech refreshes as enterprises can leverage the latest hyper-converged and bare metal infrastructure available when and where they need it.
David Richards: Recent reports state that hyperscale data centers are supporting these efforts in the background by providing repurposed equipment to open up the research and development (R&D) process as the race to commissioning ramps up globally.
This will eventually pay dividends to the hyperscale providers who will be positioned to control the excess demand that is predicted to follow.
Jeff Klaus: It’s always going to be a function of cost, and accessibility. Adding new features is great but there is so much change now it’s hard to set a strategy around an area of practice.
I would say security is always top of mind and legislation. Enabling cloud consumers with tools to ensure compliance with the various government and corporate entities is always a winner.
NEXT: Will powerful new AI hardware bring changes in data center design?
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