Tom Asbury is senior product manager, Infrastructure Services including network and colocation, at SunGard Availability Services.
SUNGARD Availability Services
Colocation is proving increasingly popular. Driving its growth the last five years has been the belief of IT organizations that multitenant data centers serve as a less-expensive, more flexible option than building their own DIY data center. By one estimate, more than 1,000 colocation centers already exist in the U.S. with their rise reflecting that belief.
But the trends driving colocation growth continue to shift. Two trends worth paying attention to, in particular, are adoption of cloud-based solutions and remote managed IT services, or RMITS.
As companies continue to seek cost-cutting opportunities while their information and data needs expand, the next growth driver on IT organizations’ minds is the Cloud. Contrary to some beliefs, cloud computing will increase the demand for colocation as the industry’s future rests with hybrid environments that incorporate both cloud and traditional colocation.
Companies employing colocation strategies – either running the environment themselves or having a colocation host provider manage it – are interested in boosting productivity, paring costs and improving their services. RMITS allow service providers the opportunity to offer their IT managed services remotely to almost any location through network connectivity. RMITS solve a huge problem for companies that have gear in numerous locations and don’t want dedicated IT resources in each location.
The recession and slow economic recovery sparked increased interest in cloud services and RMITS. Companies began to explore technology that enabled minimum investment so they could gain better cash-flow management during the weak business environment. At the same time, RMITS have let companies avoid unnecessary headcount and other overhead costs to support server, personal computer and storage services remotely.
Cloud Computing Spurs Cloud Services at Colocation Sites
The growth of cloud computing has sparked increased interest in providing such services at colocation sites, with Gartner researchers expecting an 18.5 percent growth in 2013 in global cloud computing. This equates to a total market size of $131 billion (U.S.D.).
Overcoming concerns about cloud security explains why companies are shifting to cloud services at colocation centers. Just five years ago, the cloud wasn’t readily accepted. That’s changed, however, as more companies believe their data and information actually are well-protected in a cloud environment at a colocation site. Companies are still as worried about downtime today as they were a few years ago. With a colocation, they can simply put the downtime pressure on the cloud provider.
Further, companies today visualize the cloud as fueling colocation, not suffocating it. Most companies don’t employ a 100 percent dedicated cloud environment; they employ a hybrid solution with a portion dedicated to colocation.
RMITS Proving to be Another Colocation Trend
RMITS also are increasingly in demand by colocation centers’ customers. With RMITS, you don’t have to move your data center or colocation site to gain such services because the provider handles all of those operations remotely. Instead, you explore the benefits of outsourcing through RMITS. This allows a company to gain maximum value from the investment made in their on-site assets as well as reduce ongoing operational expenses.
RMITS are highly flexible, letting a company select as much or as little of its IT environment as necessary to balance the demands of infrastructure stability, resource allocation and budgetary restraints. The complex managed IT solutions can be provided remotely, helping companies’ on-premise environments be managed by a provider with IT managed services expertise.
In providing such remote services, colocation centers generally deliver support for data center activities that is procedural-based. SunGard Availability Services even provides monitoring and OS management locally on a customer’s own site since its expertise can be leveraged from afar, extending many benefits of its monitored hosting.
While moving to the cloud and RMITS are this year’s colocation hot trends, others will emerge for 2014. That’s how fast things are changing in today’s IT world.
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