A new model data centre for a changing economic landscape

Since the turn of the century data centre colocation facilities in the UK have made it easier for businesses to place their compute, storage, and connectivity equipment in purpose built facilities at relatively low cost and hassle. However, the realities are that any moderately mature requirement involves multiple parties and carries with it an inherent technical and commercial complexity.

Nearly two decades on it is no longer enough to provide secure space, power, cooling, and an arm’s length introduction to connected telco’s. Rapid developments in how businesses operate coupled with significant advances in technology are changing the face of the industry.

> See also: How data centres can help businesses be more sustainable

The new model data centres of the near future will look very different from those of today. They will be far more tailored, flexible, integrated, and responsive. In short, they will be better able to fulfil the rapidly changing needs of their individual business customers.

Emerging trends

A number of emerging trends will dramatically alter the shape of both the data centre industry and what new model data centres can offer. There are several key characteristics that they will share:

Hybrid environments

A mixture of traditional colocation and cloud under the same roof will become a common operating model. Because companies’ client-facing and back-office applications are evolving at different rates the need has arisen for an ever-evolving mixture of technical, commercial, and operational models. Some legacy applications will never be suitable for deployment into virtualised environments.

In addition, certain new applications will not lend themselves to cloud deployments owing to their regulatory or security requirement. Other business requirements are best serviced by private cloud solutions, and some are best serviced by SaaS solutions, in which case the questions addressed by this article become moot points. A data centre environment responsive to the needs of its clients will provide a hybrid of traditional colocation, and well-connected private and public cloud platforms.

Distributed locations

Multiple data centre locations connected with high bandwidth, low latency networks will become the preferred model. Customers with platforms requiring physical diversity need to be able to evolve and adapt their platforms quickly. The latency associated with provisioning new network connections between physically disparate parts of a platform is still too high.

> See also: The software-defined data centre is happening today

Connectivity will be provided by a broad range of traditional telcos and carriers, whose capabilities will be complemented by an emerging class of highly flexible network providers, working alongside the data centre operators’ own capabilities. Similarly, in the hybrid model, to ensure resilience customers need to be able to stipulate that the virtual machines in their cloud deployed applications are physically distributed. In the post-Snowden world it behoves companies to be aware of the legal and political as well as the physical location of their data. In short, location still matters.

Powering down

Flexible compute and storage architectures which respond to changing usage patterns will become the norm. IT managers have long been focused on the need for greater power usage efficiency to reduce energy costs. While this will continue, assisted by some significant developments aimed at changing the balance of power in the server market, companies are moving beyond merely concentrating on PUE to seek compute efficiency. Examining fine grained aspects of their IT workloads and developing tools and technologies which will eventually provide dynamic workload placement will result in a step change in energy efficiency.

Moving the compute capacity

Separate compute and storage platforms provided by the datacentre will be required. As Big Data gets bigger and hitherto undreamt of uses emerge the close coupling between compute and storage no longer makes sense. Historically, organisations have invested huge amounts of time, energy, and bandwidth moving data between compute and storage facilities, an inherently inefficient activity. The emergence of automated provisioning tools and techniques is already changing the balance to a point where it makes most sense to deploy a compute image to a cloud near the data rather than moving the data to the compute capacity.

> See also: Software-defined storage is driving data centre infrastructure innovation

Britain is looking to deliver an economic rebalancing between the South-East and the regions as pressure on the entirety of the infrastructure within the M25 continues to increase. One aspect of this shift is the related rebalancing of the infrastructure associated with the information and knowledge economies; the new model data centres are in the vanguard of this trend.


Sourced from Matt Jarvis, DataCentred

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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