5 Steps to Embrace the Data Center of 2016

With 2015 rapidly coming to an end and 2016 on the horizon, it’s once again the time of year where organizations evaluate their current state of people, process and tools. A significant proportion of their time will be spent determining what is working and what might need to change, especially within IT operations, to support an ever evolving IT landscape. More specifically, as companies are experiencing rapid business growth, their data usage patterns tend to change. These changing patterns are putting increasing pressure on IT, with the pressure squarely placed on the Technical executives who must work to keep their data centers and colocation strategy aligned with the business needs.
High throughput platforms and applications, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud storage, and simply put, overall data usage, are all growing exponentially each year. This means in order to survive; companies must have their data stored in a facility that can support these new patterns. IT executives should be looking for Data-Center-as-a-Service (DCaaS) built on a solid Software-defined-data-Center (SddC) platform. Choosing the right data center is a critical decision that IT leaders need to make in order to support and enhance business growth not only in 2016, but also for years thereafter.
To get a big-picture perspective as to what will make a data center most relevant in 2016 and beyond, I spoke with 15 data center managers and a Chief Technology Officer of a leading, “Edge” colocation services provider. Here are the 5 steps IT decision makers should consider when planning for 2016:
Step 1: Update data center energy and cooling technologies.
More and more people are using mobile and web-based applications to automate everyday tasks. This is just one example of how usage and design requirements are growing and changing. As a result, high throughput compute platforms are making their way into data centers! These compact machines require more energy, which means a data center with up to date cooling techniques is crucial. Cold Aisle Containment pod deployments are becoming a standard in data center design. The Uptime Institute reports that 72% of data center operators and IT practitioners use over 5,000 servers with hot/cold aisle containment, while 53% use under 1,000 servers with hot/cold aisle containment.
Stay ahead of the game and make sure your data center has the proper energy, and cooling strategies to keep your cabinets up and running properly.
Step 2: Ensure you’re in the right place.
Location. Location. Location.
In the past, it has made the most sense to utilize a data center in a centralized part of the world or, a “hub”. However, producers, developers and executives are now finding themselves leveraging a federated model when it comes to data centers – meaning they are relying on a higher number of strategically located data centers rather than solely relying on said hub.
When you think about it, the federated model makes much more sense because, rather than storing a massive amount of data in a few select data centers, by moving data and applications to “the Edge” in second-tier markets, data can be closer to the consumer to reduce latencies and perform at higher rates.
Take a moment to think about where your data is stored. Is it in a location that is close enough for you to serve your customers locally and reach more businesses and consumers in more markets?
Step 3: Consider peace of mind, all the time.
Service is king, and it seems everything these days is transitioning to an “as-a-service” type model. It doesn’t have to be any different for data centers! Enter: Data Center-as-a-Service (DCaaS).
Customers are increasingly finding value in utilizing a data center environment that has support from an accomplished on-site technical team, a local representative and 24x7x365 monitoring. This combination expedites process, saving customer’s time and money. With a team on your side at all times to protect and secure your data, CTOs are able to work with confidence, knowing their data is in great hands. CTOs should all consider this type of model to attain (if even for a few moments) peace of mind.
Step 4: Fly as high as the cloud.
The cloud is here to stay. Cloud-based businesses increasingly rely on colocation providers to support their large data storage needs.
By 2020, IDC found that 40 percent of data in the digital universe will be “touched” by the cloud, meaning either stored, perhaps temporarily, or processed in some way. And with the digital universe doubling every two years, we’ll see cloud capabilities as a major requirement in data centers for most customers going forward in 2016 and beyond.
In the past, the word on the street was that the cloud had the potential to “kill” the data center. But in reality, this is far from the truth. The key here is that data center management teams need to ensure they are focusing their efforts on condensing design, in order to support increased usage from cloud-based companies and stay a contender in the market.
Step 5: Embrace higher density with open arms.
We have come to the conclusion that, with respect to the future, the higher the density the better. We are seeing more and more requests for high-density and super high-density cabinets.
Taking a step back to consider this case, it makes complete sense. With the Internet becoming more accessible, the Internet of Things is growing and data is ever-present. Servers must be able to handle the increasing demand of power, cooling and network. Servers with higher densities allow customers to quickly scale their business and maximize profits. So when analyzing your data center’s capabilities, ensure it is able to handle various applications of all densities.
At this point, it’s safe to say we all know that data usage is not going to slow down. With this knowledge, it’s time for tech executives and IT decision makers to think about their data centers and consider partnering with a secure and reliable data center who values these services and benefits: updating cooling design, location strategy, offering peace of mind, flying high, and embracing higher densities; that will enable 2016 and beyond to be prosperous years of business growth.