DCN September 2017 - Page 25

Colocation & Outsourcing Changing requirements However, the rapidly declining cost of fibre connectivity has changed all that. It was this which was the catalyst in spurring a few data centre operator pioneers to start establishing large purpose-built facilities well outside of London, NGD being one, to offer lower cost and arguably more naturally secure alternatives to London. The introduction of cloud computing has been called a disruptive technology and has had a dramatic impact on colocation. Over recent years this impact of cloud computing and various ‘as a service’ subscription models such as IaaS, SaaS and PaaS have caused a significant change in the original colocation concept. As a result the onus and responsibilities on colo operators is increasing exponentially. This is because of the additional demands being made on the data centre technical infrastructure, available power and connectivity which are prerequisites for efficiently scaling the cloud- centric business models of most organisations, not to mention the growing Big Data, IoT and HPC requirements of others. These factors, combined with increasing user and service provider requirements for greater resilience, energy efficiency and security, plus assurances over data privacy and in some cases, sovereignty, are evolving data centre colocation into something altogether more complex than version 1.0 ever was. With this, older, smaller and increasingly power strapped facilities are already finding it challenging to compete for the colocation business of many of today’s increasingly sophisticated buyers. Of all the drivers for change that are gradually moving the goal posts, the huge impact of the cloud and emergence of both hyperscale and high performance computing (HPC) are particularly noteworthy. Cloud Companies are quickly realising that they need many different types of cloud services to meet a growing list of user and customer needs. The Cloud Industry ‘The Cloud Industry Forum’s research earlier this year showed some 88% of UK businesses now using the cloud with over half of these favouring the hybrid approach.’ Forum’s research earlier this year showed some 88% of UK businesses now using the cloud with over half of these favouring the hybrid approach whereby data is processed and stored over a combined public and private cloud infrastructure. In addition some legacy IT resources which are vital to an organisation cannot be migrated to a private or public cloud infrastructure. For the best of both worlds, hybrid cloud offers a private cloud combined with the use of public cloud services which together can create a unified, automated, and well managed computing environment. This said, hybrid cloud environments are only as good as the weakest link; the public cloud’s connection to the data centre. This increasingly calls for colocation data centres that can bypass the internet with cloud gateways, allowing faster, more secure private network connections directly into global public cloud network infrastructures, such as Microsoft’s Azure ExpressRoute. Developers will also need to be aware that moving large amounts of data between private and public cloud will cause latency and sometimes their delivery models will need to be redesigned purely to get over this problem. Having the flexibility to carry out pre-production testing in the data centre is therefore highly beneficial for ensuring everything works as it should prior to launching hybrid applications. Aside from this and the requisite level of scalable power to rack, the other key factor to consider is a data centre’s level of engineering competence, necessary not only for configuring and interconnecting these complex environments, but also for helping businesses bring their legacy IT into the equation. September 2017 | 25