DCN September 2016 - Page 22

colocation & outsourcing LEAD THE WAY – OR LOSE Richard Jenkins of Romonet explains the right metrics a colocation data centre should take into consideration when assessing the current state of its facilities, what issues are impacting its energy efficiency and how the whole facility and return on investment is affected by these factors. T he colocation market is in a period of phenomenal transition. Enterprises are moving heavily to the cloud and they expect the same from their service providers. Operators are facing a dilemma: adapt, or suffer the consequences. In business terms, this means either provide a suitable IT environment to enable customer hybrid computing strategies, or experience diminishing returns and shrinking profitability as companies look elsewhere. This is why the sector is consolidating so rapidly. Large data centre service providers are buying smaller colocation and cloud companies in order to maintain margins and to grow faster, especially into new and edge markets. Offering space and power alone is no longer a viable business model. Operators have to diversify service offerings to become the very thing enterprises have moved away from – full IT providers. Colocation companies must invest in, and manage, the complete IT stack - from racks and servers, to the value added services that are layered on top. 22 Spoilt for choice The right data As a result, any provider still maximising operational efficiency is focused on the wrong objective. It should be a given that facilities perform to the high efficiency standards that companies have come to expect from all areas of the business. When larger enterprises outsource their data centres, they want their service provider to manage their data centre exactly as if they were running it themselves. Customers need their outsourced IT services to be available 100 per cent of the time. This puts an extraordinary level of pressure on the provider, especially if their main business model was traditional colocation services. Many operators are unprepared for the shift towards cloud computing service models – they lack accurate data on the operational and financial performance of these environments. Furthermore, organisations also want their service provider to reflect their wider business values. Customers have their own CSR policies, metrics and KPIs, and they want to see a strong commitment to sustainability best practice. So, with such a multitude of complex challenges to solve, how does the operator remain competitive? First ensure that capital investments and current infrastructure are aligned with these new operating models. Next, search for analytics tools and software that enable all areas of the business to better understand and analyse current data centre estates. These solutions can also provide quantifiable evidence to customers so they can meet their own financial and CSR targets. Shareholders equally want visibility into how upcoming investments will play out commercially. Are they performing financially and supporting the intended migration towards becoming a more competitive hybrid IT provider? Boards have already recognised the need for change. Many shareholders are pushing executives and operational teams to implement smarter analytics tools and advanced business intelligence solutions. Shareholders want the business to benefit from the latest advancements promised by artificial intelligence (AI)