Placement services have advanced. Yes, you still have the option to fill the empty warehouse as you wish. But today you have many more options, even the most sophisticated colocation data centers that operate with warm and cold corridors, ecologically protecting your business-critical hardware from hot exhaust air.
About the Author
Terry Storrar is Managing Director UK at Leaseweb.
According to a May 2020 report from ResearchAndMarkets.com, the placement market is forecast to nearly double by 2025, reaching a projected value of £ 36.2 billion. If nothing else, the placement is interesting to watch. And future trends in colocation services are changing as factors such as COVID-19, 5G, and AI computing as a service are changing workforce operations, systems management, and business requirements for secure technology, low latency and high power.
Whether you are reviewing your existing placement services or considering them for the first time, what do you need to know? Firstly…
What is placement?
Colocation services are data center services in which you locate your own servers and other computer hardware and storage systems in a third-party external data center. You typically pay a monthly fee for five key items, including:
Floor space This may or may not include equipment racks and cabinets.
Physical security You must have 24/7 surveillance and guards on site. Biometric authorization is common among newer data centers.
Can To reduce the risk of downtime, modern data centers typically provide redundant power sources backed by an emergency electrical uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system and a good old-fashioned diesel generator for that extra peace of mind.
Networking Most data centers still expect you to organize and manage your own Internet connectivity, which is not always practical based on your internal resources. For example, you may not want to waste manpower or time setting up and managing contracts with multiple telecom operators or providers, etc.
A colocation service that offers a network service saves you time and hassle. They provide you with uplinks to your platform while handling routing and contracts. Expect this type of service to offer 24/7 support.
Cooling Co-location services can reduce energy costs for cooling, especially as some data centers are beginning to invest in more environmentally sound technologies, the lower costs of which are shared among multiple customers. These sophisticated cooling systems not only help protect your hardware by keeping it at the optimal temperature, but they also avoid wasting energy – hot and cold corridors are used appropriately.
How much more profitable can the placement be?
Using a colocation service lowers your company’s total cost of ownership (TCO). It reduces the costs of utility bills, infrastructure and footprint, not to mention the costs of your team managing installation and troubleshooting. You then have more time to focus on your specific business goals and innovation.
Using a modern colocation service can also be an easy way to reap the benefits of the latest technology without having to face the cost, helping your business stay up-to-date and stay ahead of the competition. You avoid capital expenditures and instead have a single, manageable monthly expense, taking advantage of the economies of scale that comes with using a colocation service where costs are shared among all clients.
Other benefits of using placement services
Business continuity and security Advanced infrastructure and energy recovery solutions offered by modern colocation services help ensure that your data is available at all times, or at least 99.9% of the guaranteed time. And simply having your data in a separate geographic location helps with business continuity by helping to protect your data from fire, flood, and more. If you have an emergency at your regular site, the business can still operate from another location with continuous access to the data stored in its external data center.
Scalability If scalability is important to your business, you can benefit from the bandwidth that a colocation service offers. It is much easier and faster to scale in a hosted data center and the costs per Mbit will be lower. This can make placement a smart choice for the individual trader preparing to scale as much as for a business or SME operation.
Service and support A colocation service gives you cost-effective access to outsourced expertise, services, and support, all in one service level agreement (SLA). You can choose to have your own technicians handle maintenance and emergencies, in which case you may want to consider incorporating a degree of redundancy into your infrastructure. Or you can often hire a remote pair of hands with your colocation service provider, and they can replace faulty components, etc.
Sometimes this is done through a pay-as-you-go contract. In terms of cost and resource allocation, if your business has relatively stable needs, it will be more suitable for placement than local hosting.
Future trends in placement services
Three elements that drive future trends in colocation services include:
- The COVID-19 pandemic
- 5G technology
- Computing as an AI service
The third is literally driving trends as electric vehicle manufacturing is about to hit the roads in a major way and drivers will expect constant communications to support AI assistants like Siri or Alexa as well. as functions such as navigation and software updates. Low latency and data center support will be key to this journey, both colocation services can provide.
COVID-19 has already shifted business-critical data center specialist to key worker status, and more data centers have improved and increased their remote management tools. For example, phone support, ticket support, and many customer operations are now often managed off-site. The same goes for refrigeration systems, which can be managed remotely, with staff alerted to spikes or alarms from their remote workstations.
When it comes to colocation data center staff serving on-site, biometric fingerprint locks are being replaced by eye scanners to reduce the risk of spreading the virus through touch. This is important, especially when customer organizations cannot always rely on their own staff to assist the drop-in center, for example to replace a hard drive, so the use of remote hands has skyrocketed during the pandemic.
Once again, with more staff working from home, many organizations are reducing the size of their office space. Co-location is a flexible option and particularly relevant for industries such as healthcare and education, which are hit hard by coronavirus restrictions, such as stay-at-home mandates.
Finally, 5G enables super fast and affordable wired connections to colocation data centers. Workers should be able to work better, whether in the office, remotely or on the go. Similarly, the increase in interconnections with cloud computing services is accelerating companies’ access to the edge of their networks, which will deliver faster services with lower latency.
Gartner research article Your Data Center May Not Be Dead, But It’s Transforming, predicts that by 2025, 85% of infrastructure strategies will integrate local, colocation, cloud and edge delivery options , compared to 20% in 2020.
Whether you need to scale from 30 to 200 servers, are looking for a competitive business advantage, or simply want to outsource the costs, management, and security of your data environment, colocation services are probably worth looking into.