Russell Senesac works in Data Center Business Development for Schneider Electric.
Twenty years ago, data centers were looked at through a Wizard of Oz tinted lens. They were a big, powerful and expensive means for data storage, but few business stakeholders outside the IT department really understood their impact – or knew what was going on behind the curtain. The digital revolution flipped this reality on its head. Today, data centers are no longer bulky cost centers, but drivers of business, enabling the data processing and availability modern enterprises need to maintain continuity and gain competitive advantage.
The Importance of Data
Data is everywhere: it is created by nearly everything – tollbooths, online transactions, instant messaging, telephone calls – and it has become earth’s most abundant digital resource. In fact, every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. As a result, data has transformed into businesses’ greatest asset and competitive differentiator. Organizations able to quickly and effectively harness, manage and analyze data that has the opportunity to enhance customer interactions, offer more strategic solutions, evolve their services, meet increasing consumer demands, and reap huge financial and reputational rewards. As data grows more precious, data center processing power has been placed under a growing amount of scrutiny. As real-time data transmission becomes the norm rather than the exception, delays in processing can be significantly detrimental to a business’ ability to innovate.
A Communication Dependent Generation
Our lives – both personal and professional – are increasingly dependent on 24/7 anytime, anywhere access to information. We shop from our phones, stream movies instantly to our TVs, and telecommute hundreds of miles from brick-and-mortar offices. We rely so heavily on our connection to the Internet and its evolving ecosystem of "Things" that data center outages – a concern once relegated to IT staff – are increasingly making national headline news. In just one instance of downtime, productivity can be almost completely lost, consumer trust weakened and finances greatly impacted. Data center uptime is no longer an IT responsibility, but a business imperative.
Data Center as a Service
In an era where data management is becoming more complex than ever before, data centers are not only becoming an asset that pushes business forward, they are becoming the business itself. Colocation centers – businesses that provide data center equipment, space, and bandwidth for rent to customers – have become increasingly popular. In fact, according to DataCenterMap.com, there are currently more than 1,500 colocation facilities across 49 states.
Data centers can also enhance a business’ existing revenue stream. In the telecommunications industry, as an example, providers can diversify customer offerings by considering the implementation of an edge computing infrastructure, whereby empty floor space is converted into a smaller, onsite data center. This approach enables telcos to diversify sources of income, and to provide better services by bringing data processing closer to the point of collection, thus reducing latency and lowering transmission costs.
It is for these very reasons that data centers are becoming the most imperative factor in business processes, putting the IT department into the spotlight as key enablers of enterprise success. There is a tremendous opportunity for enterprises to drive business forward through a data center strategy that is intelligent and agile, leading business to a competitive advantage in the market. Now that the data center has emerged from behind the curtain, it is imperative that its value be fully utilized.
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