By Amy Young, Sales Director, Custodian Data Centres
The colocation space is an ever-evolving area with new technologies continuing to emerge, however, some of these technologies are more realistic and sustainable than others. It is important when researching these data centre innovations, be it liquid cooling or high-density racks, to consider how relevant they are for your specific business requirements.
Understanding what setup and structure is needed to optimise your business for current operations and for looking forward is not a simple task and it is often difficult to know where to begin. Working with partners who can support your business and truly understand what your business needs will help to mitigate some of these challenges when starting on this digital transformation journey.
Sticking to the core priorities of resilience, redundancy, location and power when looking for a colocation provider should always remain at the forefront when embarking on the decision-making journey. These core fundamentals should not be overlooked ahead of ‘new’ or cutting-edge features. Ultimately, any of these new technologies emerging through the market are only as good as the core features of the data centre they are operating in. A facility that does not have truly diverse power or connected network routes may have the latest liquid or immersion-cooled racks for example, but will still fail under a power cut, highlighting the importance of choosing the correct data centre facility.
Certainly, as colocation requirements evolve, customers are increasingly looking for the ability to customise to make their chosen data centre space bespoke. For your business to thrive, mission-critical systems need to be designed to work in parallel with each of your customers’ IT roadmaps. From custom features, branding or additional layers of security, the ability to take the space and tweak it to the customer’s specific needs is vast becoming the expected norm across the industry.
With the option of ‘built to suit’ on the rise in the sector, enabling a host of unique and custom features that ensure the customer can build the space as they need, is crucial to keep up with customer requirements and the extremely competitive market. Colocation certainly isn’t one-size-fits-all and colocation providers have to be able to cater to the needs of their customers without compromising on the core foundations of the data centre.
Colocation providers also have the opportunity to reach different markets, such as the gaming and entertainment industry, when offering bespoke and customisable options, in comparison to only offering set solutions. For example, in the gaming industry, offering bespoke solutions such as gaming towers, in whichever form they take, and having the right dynamic service partner, can mean gaming innovators can ensure their facilities are completely built to suit, taking into account gameplay traffic, high spec game upgrades, local connectivity requirements and more.
When choosing your colocation provider, you must choose a facility that is consultative, provides technical support and dedicated resources on-demand, to ensure all requirements for you and your customers are achieved.
Power consumption is ever-increasing, and resilience remains key to handling this growing consumption, so digital transformation technologies within data centres need to develop to keep up with demand. Having the foresight to forward plan and ensure that your critical power infrastructure, like UPS, ATS and Switchgear are future-proofed and scalable, is vital for end-users. As an operator, uninterruptible power is essential, but that power should also be sustainable. Here truly diverse renewable energy feeds can play a critical part in delivering sustainable service to customers.
To protect your customers and your business, redundancy must be included within the core priorities of your colocation selection process. Planning for the future and planning for the worst-case scenario is how you secure your data within a data centre environment. By partnering with a colocation provider which is resilient and secure, you ensure your systems, processes and infrastructure are set up to still ‘function’ even if the worst was to happen, protecting you and, importantly, your customers.
Operationally you need to ensure you have processes in place to deal with any situation that may arise, so you can respond in a controlled way. Again, when choosing your colocation supplier, this remains a key focus as you can supply your customers with a reliable backup solution. It is important to flag any issues you currently have and also have an open conversation with your potential supplier regarding expectations – this way the colocation provider can ensure all of your power needs are met without any fault.
The core foundation of your IT infrastructure cannot be under-estimated. When partnering with a data centre, it is pivotal that the technology underpinning the data centre is as future-proofed as the hardware that is being deployed within it. To future-proof in the current climate, it’s not just about working to industry best practices but exceeding these perimeters and this applies to your strategic partners too.