The last ten years have brought big changes to data centers and how they’re designed and run. Where once most data centers were enterprise-owned, today’s data center services may be on-premises, co-located, or in the cloud.
In the paper titled The Future of the Data Center in the Cloud Era, Gartner suggests, “CIOs and IT leaders should not be migrating everything toward cloud services, nor should they be sitting back and waiting for the market to settle. A prudent data center strategy incorporates the best of both worlds, for the right reasons, at the right time.”
Increasingly, physical location is being decoupled from business needs for a more “enterprise-defined” approach. In fact, Gartner says that “a multicloud strategy will become the common strategy for 70% of enterprises by 2019, up from less than 10% today.” Its key findings state:
- Cloud services will evolve into an integral part of all IT strategies.
- A multicloud strategy will become a common strategy for the majority of enterprises.
- On-premises or enterprise-owned data centers will continue, but applications and business demands will determine where compute resources come from.
So in the age of colocation, how do you define your data center strategy?
Take applications, for example. Mission-critical applications that drive the business or are subject to regulatory requirements—those that represent the greatest risk in case of failure—might be kept on-premises to ensure complete control by the enterprise IT team. Applications that give your business a competitive edge or drive innovation, on the other hand, could be moved into private and public cloud environments, respectively.
The key is that applications can be easily moved to where they fit best—a concept referred to as “pace layering”—based on your changing business needs.
The same is true for workloads. Location-dependent workloads that demand low latency could easily be co-located, provided your colocation provider offers carrier neutrality with access to multiple carriers and cloud providers. Workloads can also be shared across sites for complete business continuity.
Certainly, a mixed, “enterprise-defined” data center strategy not only provides flexibility for meeting short- and long-term business needs but can also be an effective means to mitigating risk.
So, where do you begin? Gartner recommends that you:
- Begin creating an agile, hybrid data center by incorporating simplified provisioning and elastic services where possible.
- Use pace layering to segment workloads and determine their optimal future platform.
- Treat cloud service providers as you would any external service provider — focus on services, service levels, availability goals, incident resolution and bypass, not just pricing.
IO’s state-of-the-art colocation services put you in the driver’s seat. Carrier neutrality, our service provider class network, and free cross connects provide turnkey network services and access to multiple carriers/cloud on-ramp providers to help meet application and business needs for low cost, low latency, or high performance. Choose the resources you need, when you need them and ensure the availability needed to grow and stay connected, while innovating for your core business.
Gartner The Future of the Data Center in the Cloud Era, David J. Cappuccio, 19 June 2015