Data Centers are rapidly taking over the role of manufacturing, communication, trading and shipping hubs. The work now being done in data centers would formerly have required a printing press, manufacturing line, travel agents, bank tellers, traders, railroads, highways, ships and seaports.
Functions performed in a modern data center:
- Products are developed (apps, images, 3D drawings, monetary vehicles, maps, etc.)
- Automation is controlled (robotics, flight, cars, financial systems, etc.)
- Travel is booked
- Virtual Goods are transacted
- New capacity for services is made available
- Large networks send information and data to other data centers, offices, manufacturing sites, homes, hospitals and governments
- Social Media keeps everyone connected or not
- Communications are routed
- Banking & financial trades executed
- Media (Video, News, Magazines of all types)
While there’s no chance that the need for railroads and shipping ports will go away anytime soon, it’s still a fact that more and more of our economy will be run on servers and storage in big data centers.
In order to successfully enable the above transactions in a cost effective and efficient manner, there are a number of data center design, operational and location considerations that need to be made.
Greater than 15 independent (National & International) providers with diverse routing options and extensive capacity
In order for the above to effectively and efficiently utilize modern IT there needs to be a very strong and diverse ecosystem of technology service & product offerings in proximity (same data center/campus)
Very well protected:
High security and extreme availability are essential to this new data center strategy. If you hope to support global work environments from every industry and government body they need to be assured of their security and comfortable in the knowledge that their services will be 100% available
Customers in these “new infrastructure data centers” need to know that they have an almost unlimited capability to add capacity. It means an ability to handle the most demanding and dense compute environments or cloud solutions appropriate at the time. Customers also need to know that they are protected from potential lock-in to a single cloud (provider or solution), MSP or network provider and from pricing risks on power and network connectivity
Not all data centers are created equal
While it’s true that all data centers share similarities in their design and function, not all data centers are created equal. To add some perspective, let’s relate two shipping ports to data centers.
Shipping Port 1: Has ocean access, but with shallow water and hazards, lots of storms and limited access to land transport (trains & trucks etc.). You might compare this to the average internal data center at most companies.
Shipping Port 2: Has ocean access, with hazard free deep water, limited storms, and access to an extensive freeway, highway and railroad system. This port would be compared to the best data center providers in today’s market.
Which of the above two ports is more likely to attract additional business (grow its revenue & ecosystem) and help the local region/country prosper?
All of the factors that would affect the success of the shipping port examples apply to data centers, you just have to change water and roads to “networks” and limited storms to “high availability”, deep water becomes “future proofing” (I.e, on-going capacity increases, high density compute, heavy or tall cabinets, etc., etc.).
The requirements for the next infrastructure revolution a la the Transcontinental Railroad
Can we really compare a data center strategy done well to the Transcontinental Railroad (TR) or the national freeway system? Absolutely! The way I see it the majority of the data center industry is where railroads were about 10 years before (1850s) the TR was completed. The rail lines worked, passengers and goods were moved, but without the route across the country, growth would be slow and our global competitiveness unrealized. There is a new class of data center operator that is building this new Transworld Data Center Infrastructure. This new operator is combining the best thinking of data center design, with a strong ecosystem of partners, and a very broad collection of network providers. The focus is on enabling access to all options from multiple providers, while not burdening the customer with unnecessary costs and risks.
Simple comparisons on the importance of options
If you doubt that the Transworld Data Center Infrastructure has the importance I’m attributing to it vs. any other data center strategy, I urge you to reconsider and here’s some lite food for thought:
- If you’re applying for a high skilled role along with many other applicants who have similar experience, but you don’t have a degree and the other applicants do, what are your chances? Could you get hired, maybe, but having the degree would sure help.
- If you’re going to the mountains skiing with a snow storm approaching but you don’t have a four wheel drive or chains what are your chances as compared to those who do? You might get there, but at a minimum your time on the slopes could be limited and at a maximum you could get into an accident.
- If you want to attract the newest and largest of tankers to your port how will you entice them if they’re concerned about running aground or not having enough railroad access to have their goods properly distributed. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to attract the big new tankers, but even if you do, your ability to compete against a deep water port is limited.
- If you’re building a dynamic, modular IT organization and application environment do you want to limit yourself to the two network providers you have? Do you want to be constrained to only those suppliers that are willing to come see you? Wouldn’t you rather have more connectivity (WAN) choices and multiple in proximity service offerings at every level of your stack (storage, Bigdata, IaaS, PaaS, Managed Services, & hardware, etc)?
It’s a brave new data center world
When considering the current and future design of IT, and you’re comparing capabilities against the potential business needs for speed, agility, cost management, and reach, you must include your data center strategy. Does your strategy include cloud? Of course it does, in fact it likely includes several cloud offerings. Your strategy will likely also include a wider and faster changing group of suppliers and partners. The future of IT and enterprise design also suggests a continued push towards services and functions being hybrids. We’ve all heard about hybrid cloud, but the analogy for hybrid cloud can and should be applied to all aspects of IT resourcing and delivery. This hybrid future screams out the need for choice, options, and speed. So get out there, be brave, and take a leadership role in enabling the future growth and success of your business. Incorporate a data center strategy that will never get in the way of progress, but instead become the rails that help you expand and prosper around the world.