By Adam Gardner, Head of Products
Modern hybrid IT environments are engine rooms driving growth, innovation, productivity and cost reductions. Extracting full advantage from IT investments and making incremental improvements across these critical performance indicators is dependent upon complex networking architectures that connect a multitude of physical and virtual devices, locations and services.
For some, partners' and customers' networks are also part of the mix. In dynamic organisations, frequently the connectivity profile and portfolio continues to expand and change. Considering the broader environment, it’s likely it will continue changing as transformation accelerates in conjunction with the ebbs and flows of an organisation’s data centre target state. This includes flexible and agile provisioning and decommissioning of network services. This is the new enterprise network architecture, and many underestimate just how much of an obstacle it can be to the enterprise's growth plans.
The connectivity needed to underpin the cloud era is complex and best managed from within a colocation data centre. Having an eagle eye’s view of the entire network so that it can be effectively managed and improved for optimised performance, cost and efficiency sounds complex; and it is, so it’s understandable that it’s something few have successfully achieved.
As Hybrid IT and Multi-Cloud architecture sprawls and diversifies, the interconnectivity used to reach increasingly dispersed people, places, infrastructure and mission-critical applications becomes a significant success factor. Taking holistic control of configuration complexity, security, performance and resilience over the entire corporate network is critical to transformation success.
Our customers and partners demonstrate daily that using colocation data centres form a key enabler for achieving this connectivity utopia. However, it's often overlooked, because for many, colocation data centres are a service that attends to an immediate and direct need or fixes individual problems such as back-up or disaster recovery or the need for high performance compute.
Tactics Vs Strategy
Many organizations consider colocation as a tactical solution, intended to address an immediate and specific problem. For instance, 31% of Australian organizations identify disaster recovery as the reason for their need to colocate.
Yet, based on our experience working with the Hybrid IT environments of our customers, those that engage us for a direct tactical need, often pivot their thinking once they see the value creation opportunities around efficiency, productivity and agility inherent in embracing the ecosystem. By relocating their core environment and embedding it as the epicentre of their digital ecosystem significant gains can be logged. It enables bigger thinking and the ability to address bigger, indirect challenges such as connectivity, customer experience, security, risk and compliance.
Simply put, treating colocation merely as a tactical play is leaving opportunity on the table in this new world. Now is the opportune time to reset what we used to know and look to colocation and ecosystem interconnection as a strategic business enabler. One that also actively contributes to growth strategies, risk mitigation and productivity improvements. More times than not, those direct needs are just symptoms of bigger organisational challenges.
The tides are slowly turning
For a long time, the pandemic kept enterprises out of their buildings, and therefore out of their data closets. Some coped by adopting colocation hurriedly (in a span of weeks rather than months). Existing colocation tenants, meanwhile, fortified against the disruption quickly by making stronger use of readily available interconnection options to ramp up cloud connectivity and other services.
Both scenarios reflect how the connectivity strategy has become a vital innovation driver. We can take that scenario a few steps further: Colocation can be a way to regain control over the dynamically changing IT profile, including the evolving need for more complex connectivity.
Harnessing interconnection sprawl
Within a colocated IT environment, initiating private connectivity to clouds and digital services becomes a simple task of interconnection, as opposed to having to broker additional connectivity through service providers.
Any given network has a finite reach (they can't all connect everywhere) – but a well-connected colocation environment, particularly one with a national footprint that stretches into the regions, can simply and seamlessly facilitate secure, unified access to any number of digital services providers. This kind of easy networking, that makes connections easy to find, establish and manage in a flexible and cost-effective manner is the kind of utopia afforded to all colocated environments.
At its core, this simplified, and newly agile nature of networking and interconnection is facilitated by innovative services provision within the colocated ecosystem. Software-defined networking (SDN) has ushered in a new world of flexibility, automation and self-service as-a-Service.
Regaining control of networking complexity – including developing strategic capability to change and optimise connectivity profiles at will – is increasingly identified as the critical success factor in digital transformation acceleration. It’s an agility enabler and innovation engine best achieved via colocation data centres where all manner of service providers have set up shop to help create advantage through leveraging innovative digital solutions to meet evolving organisational challenges.
Workload and infrastructure migrations and Hybrid IT are strategies still in motion. Colocation, used strategically, can help streamline and facilitate those strategies as the enterprise refines and evolves its transformation priorities. Rather than wait for a specific reason to colocate, now is the time to rethink your IT architecture and consider how colocation could form a foundational pillar of success for your future strategies. Reach out to NEXTDC to help map out your next steps.