What happened to traditional IT?
We’ve finally done it. Technology is approaching the imaginings of our favorite childhood sci-fi shows. Cars drive themselves, robots perform surgery, and we can transport ourselves to other worlds through goggles empowered by AR and VR. Some changes are better than imagined—businesses can tap into and deploy highly developed IT products through the cloud without long implementation cycles and the need to build out extensive data center capacity.
As businesses rapidly move to catch the wave of these emerging applications, IT gets caught in a tug of war between innovation and keeping the central network up to speed. Digital transformation, cloud migration, network upgrades, centralizing platforms – the CIO’s role has exploded. And while colocation data centers may not sit at the forefront of this conversation, they should be close to it.
After all, this exciting new-age technology has to live somewhere, and that “somewhere” needs to be ready for anything.
Data centers serve as the foundation of this digital evolution.
Consider the data center as a metaphorical home for your core infrastructure. When we make a home decision, we plan for the future. We evaluate our family size and whether we need room to grow. We look at the amenities we need – transportation, groceries, shopping, schools, recreation, security – and we make informed, future-proof decisions to enable us to stay in our homes and communities for as long as we can.
Organizations should use the same process when evaluating a data center. In the age of digital transformation, a data center not only needs to provide reliable space and power, it also must provide access to the cloud and network vendors necessary to build a holistic IT platform, to evolve with changes in cloud and other products, and to grow as business and data needs grow. What requires a few servers today may call for much more two years from now (or vice versa—some server needs may shrink as applications are moved to the cloud). Will your data center provide the flexibility to allow this kind of expansion and modification? Does it also have AWS, Microsoft, and other cloud direct connections, or other providers on-site, to help move specific workloads and applications to the cloud in ways that manage the cost and avoid vendor lock-in? What about managed service providers to help you orchestrate and manage that migration, or network choice to connect everything together? And are the data center and its cloud connections so reliable, fast, available and secure that you will feel comfortable using that home base to push company applications nationwide or even globally through selected cloud providers with whom you can directly connect?
While data center colocation is too frequently an afterthought in the move to a cloud-enabled IT architecture, it really should be a major consideration. All of the potential cloud products a company might use now and in the future (from traditional IaaS and PaaS to AI, IoT, blockchain, content delivery, etc.) need a home base from which they can interoperate, and change, most effectively. When you consider the home base for your critical infrastructure, find a cloud-enabled data center that can support partnerships and growth you may not even foresee today.
Your future self will thank you.