As more and more businesses pivot to hybrid cloud architectures, colocation providers are working to make sure their data centers jive with hybrid models. But they are doing so in different ways. To assess the state of hybrid cloud within the colocation market, Data Center Knowledge is interviewing a series of colocation providers about their hybrid strategies. This article looks at DataBank.
Colocation provider DataBank’s view of hybrid cloud can be summed up like this: Any business that goes hybrid needs data center facilities, cloud services, and connectivity, but each organization requires those ingredients in different doses to build its optimal hybrid environment.
“No two customers are the same when it comes to the problems they are trying to solve around hybrid,” DataBank CEO Raul Martynek told DCK.
That’s why DataBank has built a hybrid cloud strategy that focuses on offering a modular and flexible selection of services for building hybrid architectures, he said.
Here’s a look at each of the three key types of hybrid services DataBank offers and how it seeks to differentiate itself from other colocation providers when it comes to hybrid cloud and hybrid IT.
Colocation Data Centers in Secondary Markets
DataBank offers 64 data center locations for customers seeking computing facilities in which to deploy hybrid workloads.
Its scale makes it similar to other major colocation providers. But the company seeks to stand apart by building “a really strong data center core for what we believe are underserved markets,” according to JP Laqueur, senior VP of marketing. Those are “secondary” markets, such as Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City, he explained, rather than the top data center markets like Silicon Valley or Northern Virginia.
Martynek predicts that DataBank’s focus on underserved markets will prove especially important going forward for companies seeking to combine their hybrid architectures with an edge strategy. By offering data centers in regions where other colocation providers don’t, he said, DataBank makes it easier to deploy workloads as close to end users as possible.
Hybrid-Ready Private Cloud Platforms
DataBank allows customers to deploy any type of workload on the racks they host in its colocation facilities. But for businesses that want easy-to-consume cloud services, DataBank offers a set of proprietary VMware-based cloud platforms that deliver storage and compute using an IaaS model. Currently, the platforms support only VMs, but DataBank plans to expand the offering to support containers in the fourth quarter of this year.
Martynek described DataBank’s proprietary cloud services as “basically a private cloud” that organizations can deploy inside DataBank colocation data centers, then combine with public cloud services to build a hybrid cloud architecture. (They can also use the company’s cloud platforms as a standalone private cloud if they wish.)
He added that some customers use third-party hybrid cloud platforms inside its data centers, such as AWS Outposts, which he said is being used in at least one of its locations. But in general, he said, these platforms have not yet been as widely adopted by its customers as its own cloud services.
Connectivity, a Hybrid Cloud Prerequisite
Like other large colocation providers, DataBank offers a range of connectivity solutions.
“We have interconnected the vast majority of our locations with our own network fabric” to deliver high-performance connectivity within the data center network, Martynek said.
As for connecting workloads in DataBank facilities to public clouds, “We've partnered with Megaport and others" to help customers access public cloud resources, he said.
DataBank’s Differentiators: Managed Services, Compliance
While offering flexible infrastructure, cloud services and connectivity for building hybrid environments is part of DataBank’s hybrid strategy. The company believes that its most important differentiators are its focus on delivering fully managed services and its built-in compliance solutions.
“We have an entire integration and migration team dedicated to hybrid cloud,” Laqueur said. The team helps clients plan, implement, and manage hybrid environments.
In addition, DataBank provides services like DDoS mitigation, web application firewalls, and managed installation of updates and security patches.
Customers have chosen DataBank to implement their hybrid strategies “because they want an expert partner to operationalize the performance of that stack," Martynek said.
He added, “The term ‘managed services’ is used and abused.” Some vendors bill as managed services what is really just IaaS, with customers bearing responsibility for designing and managing the workloads they deploy on that IaaS. But DataBank, he said, offers full-stack managed services.
As for compliance, that is something that “is embedded in our product," according to Laqueur: "You achieve compliance because you're in one of our facilities" designed to meet FedRAMP requirements by default, he said.
For companies in the US, where DataBank has its greatest presence, the ability to comply by default with frameworks like FedRAMP is an obvious selling point, including but not limited to businesses building hybrid environments.