Insight and analysis on the data center space from industry thought leaders.

The Era of the Smart Data Center

Businesses are rethinking their needs and are looking for solutions that use the latest virtualization technologies in an environment they can trust. Carrier-neutral edge colocation is emerging as the preferred solution.

Industry Perspectives

October 26, 2016

4 Min Read
The Era of the Smart Data Center

Michael Zody is General Manager for Northeast, Level 3; and Joseph A. Mileo is Vice President of Channel Programs for vXchnge.

What does it take to run a smart data center?

For many businesses, the data center is the heart of software technology—the “thing” enabling businesses to do more, efficiently expand their capabilities, and maintain the information necessary to run their business properly. A smart data center is needed to support the demands and application deployment models, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud, platform-as-a-service, software-as-a-service, and other models on the verge of becoming mainstream. As business needs evolve, companies are demanding more from their data centers.

Are data centers up to the challenge?

The Golden Dotcom Age

Many of us remember the peak of the dotcom era – a time filled with foosball tables, IPOs and innovative technology ideas brought to life by visionaries. Among those innovations: the data center.

In the 1990s, the data center was a physical structure constrained by its very walls. The amount of data a business could process and store was a reflection of how many servers it had on site. If your data center was 15 x 20 feet, you could only house as many servers as could be secured and cooled in that space: a constraint that led to the construction of bigger and bigger server rooms. But space limitations were only one hurdle. Another challenge was slow and inefficient delivery of data from the centers.

From these challenges came the formation of a new idea: What if we weren’t constrained by our physical space? What if we could move beyond the physical realm and take data storage and transport to the virtual realm?

The Cloud

By 2020, IDC predicts that 40 percent of data in the digital universe will be “touched” by the cloud, meaning either stored, perhaps temporarily, or processed in some way. Without the space and infrastructure of a data center, companies must use multiple hubs, which can present ongoing challenges, such as a lack of redundancy or the need to frequently update or change equipment.

Today, the data center has taken another step forward to provide enterprises across the country with economical points of presence. These new data centers provide access to the best services and connectivity possible from leading network service providers through an innovation known as Carrier-Neutral Edge Colocation.

Carrier-Neutral Edge Colocation and Scalability

According to the Cisco Global Cloud Index, 86 percent of workloads will be processed by cloud data centers by 2019. With this rate of growth comes greater demand for high-performance data center infrastructure services with scalable, reliable, and secure IT services. Businesses are rethinking their needs and are looking for solutions that use the latest virtualization technologies in an environment they can trust. Carrier-neutral edge colocation is emerging as the preferred solution.

Carrier-neutral edge colocation is a sleek, streamlined, flexible approach to the data center needs of the modern enterprise. It’s more than just walls with cooling capabilites and proper power capacity. These new data centers have brought businesses to the edge, where they can serve customers locally. Carrier-neutral edge colocation enables a collaborative approach – one that addresses challenges like storage, bandwidth, cost and scalability.

From a scalability standpoint, according to the IDC, by 2020, the digital universe will reach 44 trillion gigabytes of data from items such as medical implants, wearable technology, smart devices (refrigerators, phones), etc. If a data center is not properly prepared to handle its share of the digital universe, customers will experience some level of downtime, which can hurt business performance.

In short, these carrier-neutral edge colocation providers deliver a solution that can help customers improve their business performance.


Years ago, all people wanted or expected from their data centers was to know that it was going to be cold and that the power would be on. Now, the conversation is quickly switching to security. As new legislation around personal, financial and health information continues to develop, data center security is growing in importance.

Data center security has grown significantly more sophisticated. It’s no longer just a simple sign-in sheet, but rather multiple levels of protection. For many vendors, this means state-of-the-art, multi-stage security features, such as two-point iris recognition, archived closed circuit video, and 24x7x365 monitoring. These steps ensure that customers’ critical IT assets remain safe at all times. Certifications for physical, environmental and information security add yet another layer of protection.

Conclusion: A Smart Data Center Is the Future

There are still needs that are not being met by data centers. In fact, a national survey of IT decision makers recently released by vXchnge found that 93 percent of respondents believe that software will define the smart data center of the future. While there are several options out there for businesses, the smart data center is panning out to be a solid option. The easy access and flexibility a smart data center provides is unparalleled.

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.

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