Data Center Evolution in the Era of Cloud Computing

Gary Rylander


Data center evolution is not just a matter of new technologies – it is also affected by how data centers are employed by Chief Information Officers (CIOs). The predominant view used to be that when it came to data centers, a CIO had to choose between building or collocating. As noted by Gartner, data center evolution has introduced a commonly used strategy of combining owned data centers with augmentation from collocated data centers.

The Case for a Holistic Data Center Strategy

According to Gartner, this augmentation strategy is the most applicable in the following scenarios:

  • Temporary Space: When a new data center project is being planned but is years away
  • Noncritical Space: For non-critical applications
  • Mission-Critical Space: Where old data centers with inadequate HVAC or security are insufficient to meet requirements for mission-critical applications

Within these three scenarios are use cases for rollover hot sites as well as development and testing sites.

The impetus for CIOs to be fast, flexible and innovative in this stage of cloud computing adds another important scenario to the holistic strategy of data center location. It takes almost two years for the typical data center to go from an idea to being operational. Even the retrofitting of an existing data center can take a year. New application rollout cannot be delayed this long for corporate stakeholders. Often, the best solution is to build out the new application in an existing, high-quality, multitenant data center, where new applications can be ramped up for production in a matter of weeks.

Then there is the matter of data center obsolescence. Data center evolution means that the infrastructure is often obsolete within five years, presenting owners with expensive retrofitting projects. Additionally, as public and private cloud computing takes on a larger role in the enterprise, this may be the perfect time to consolidate existing data centers, sell old data centers and move some applications to a facility to recoup the capital that has been sunk into owned data centers.

Needless to say, cost also comes into play. According to Forrester, leased data center facilities have a 25% cost advantage over owned and operated facilities.

The Case for a Data Center

The myriad use cases for the augmentation of data center capacity in a vendor-agnostic, multitenant facility speaks to the need for the range of offerings. Data centers provide everything from bare cages to a completely outsourced environment with a full range of managed services for migration; hardware; network and software maintenance; information technology asset tracking and disposition; compliance; data backup and recovery; archiving; and tape management. Secure facilities attract a variety of third-party cloud and service providers whose offerings are geared toward highly regulated industries and their tenants.

As more regulations are enforced to keep records and information secure, CIOs should consider migrating their data to data centers to save money and increase security.



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