The changing face of colocation: Wind change – and new challenges

Justin Jenkins is CEO, Europe and President, UK at Vantage Data Centers, the world’s leading provider of ultra-premium data center facilities serving super-premium, cloud providers. world famous rattan and large enterprise. He has extensive experience in the DATA and data CENTER industry including more than 10 years at Next Generation Data (NGD), as an original member of the senior management team, later on as Director. operating. Previously he served as CEO of NGD and before that COO and CTO. Prior to joining NGD Justin held IT and infrastructure roles at various technology businesses including Sony Computer Entertainment.

Arguably the origins of the ‘colocation’ market can be traced back 20 years ago to the era of the early dot com boom. This has created demand from e-commerce and isp businesses for a more cost-effective way of housing their growing ‘server farm’ and the idea of ​​sharing secure IT spaces. Full of others have been born.

Colocation is maturing today – and based on our own experience at the Vantage Data Center – the needs of colocation customers have grown. The value proposition appears on the first card like never before: securely storing, processing, and storing data. However, much of it has been changing under the surface and is redefining what users expect from colocation. Conventional storage in complex private and hybrid cloud environments is a prime example. As a result, it will be increasingly difficult to compete for the colocation business of today’s more sophisticated, older, smaller and increasingly sophisticated buyers to compete for the colocation business of today’s more sophisticated buyers. .

Colocation data centers are not commodities. Of course, cost will always be an important factor for users, however, it is not the one that matters. Business users, service providers and SIs are now much more demanding on what they need and expect from their colocation providers. Knowledgeable and discerning buyers now require hard evidence of data security and environmental compliance; commitment to renewable energy sources; the ability to provide transition energies; many connection options; records to track uptime; and armored SLA.

The winds change

Back there have been many dynamics of change over the past two decades, most notably the concerns about data location and security after 9/11 in New York and 7/7 in London; advances in network technology; more sophisticated remote diagnostics; and greatly reduce connection costs.

Business organizations, systems integrators, and service providers now have more options for physical data center locations – no longer limited to facilities in the London Docklands / M25 region due to lack of high-speed yarn elsewhere. A few operators, including Vantage, have succeeded in setting up huge purpose-built colocation facilities in areas of the UK where the less expensive real estate and labor are worthwhile. tell. While this translates into a lower percentage for users, equally important, those built in more rural areas are also not harmed with a significantly lower risk profile than their counterparts. Large urban alternatives.

New challenges

Today, the colocation data center industry faces challenges due to exponential growth in cloud computing along with IoT-based big data and HPC requirements. These are driving unprecedented demands for technical infrastructure, power, cooling, and data center connectivity. With this, there is a large, fairly accurate, sustainability requirement that includes a commitment to using renewable energy.

With the cloud and huge demand for ‘as a service’ subscription models like IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS, enterprise companies increasingly realize that they need a variety of cloud services to accommodate the list of growing needs of users and customers. For the best of both worlds, the hybrid cloud is growing in popularity. It provides a private cloud combined with the use of public cloud services that together can create a unified, automated, and well-managed computing environment. This appeals to organizations that require the flexibility, cost savings, and flexibility of public cloud services while retaining control over sensitive applications and maintaining compliance.

But beyond the considerable power to weigh the rack, a hybrid cloud environment is only as good as the weakest link: the public cloud’s connection to the data center. This has resulted in some colocation datacenters bypassing the Internet with cloud gateways, allowing faster, more secure private connections directly to the global public cloud network infrastructure. However, only a few colocation datacenters are directly connected to these networks to allow for optimized performance and very low latency.

Another important factor to consider is the level of data center technical capabilities, which are not only required to configure and connect these complex hybrid environments, but also help businesses bring IT legacy. into the equation.


Big data and the Internet of Things are major contributors to high-performance computing (HPC) requirements of both the commercial and nonprofit sectors. These environments require energy, cooling, and connectivity to support very high density server rack clusters, some pulling up to 60 kWs. With this in mind, the Vantage Data Center has been focused on securing its facilities, including CWL1 (formerly NGD) near Cardiff, fully capable of supporting customers’ HPC installations.

Currently there are very few colocation datacenters with this capability in the UK due to the ample energy required, let alone going directly to grid connections to reduce potential outages. As a work-around, most facilities have to put ups and auxiliary electrical systems capable of supporting all workloads running at once, along with sufficient cost and redundancy to cope. with any failure in the emergency power supply system itself. This and HPC’s expert cooling needs are a high order for many vendors today, and as a result, most cannot address this high growth market opportunity without a significant upgrade. tell.

In short, the business data center colocation has grown into something completely more complex than two decades ago. Maintaining its leading position now requires substantial investment as well as innovation and agility to be able to adapt to the ever-changing needs of its customers.

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