13 December 2020

It’s time to re-think your data centre strategy

By David Dzienciol, Chief Customer & Commercial Officer

For technology leaders, finding the right IT solutions and operating models to best support their organisational priorities can be complex. When you add the ever-shifting sands of consumer behaviour, market fluctuations and other external influences driving change, it’s one of those things that likely won’t get any easier.

Finding the model that best suits your organisation now, but importantly, that will scale to support future needs, is critical to a successful business.

It’s about outcomes not technology

Increasingly, the conversations I have with customers, where and how they manage their data centres isn’t underpinned by technical decisions. Ultimately, organisations just want to focus on their business priorities.

At a recent event hosted by DataCenter Dynamics, I was joined on a panel with insurance company, IAG’s data centre services manager, David Wait. He pointed out the necessity to avoid being driven down a narrow path based on technology decisions. This is an issue when you build and manage your own data centres on-premise.

“We often get too buried in the technical components of a decision-making process,” Wait said. “If you haven’t first laid out the strategic requirements carefully, you can get bogged down in the technical detail which can potentially become a constraining issue that makes delivering services harder and harder, and the required outcomes further away.”

The risk of being painted into a technology corner where strategic decisions are hobbled by large capital investments that limit flexibility is real. The alternative is to embed yourself in an agnostic ecosystem where you have an almost infinite flexibility to deploy supplementary solutions under an as-a-service model.

Seeking resilience and performance improvements

Organisations are converting more processes to digital workflows and manage ever-larger volumes of data. As a result, they are realising that very high availability and optimal performance of applications are no longer merely a target for IT. Instead, they are an imperative for business survivability.

Data volumes are rapidly compounding and the maturing role it plays in delivering customer experience and operational uplift outcomes is driving many organisations to invest in AI and machine learning to fast track these capabilities. To optimise the business value derived from data, high performance and resilient infrastructure is essential.

Growth of high-density computing

Accompanying the rising amount of data and its inherent value to organisational strategy, is the increasing power and density of the systems that manage it. High density computing loads continue to grow rapidly, which poses a major risk for privately owned data centres.

As workloads and compute power grows, organisations are finding they can’t draw the power or provide the adequate environmental conditions and controls to support the specialist equipment housed in them.

A great example of this is a customer of ours, Data Processors, who’s privately owned data centre was struggling to cope with power supply and cooling requirements. They were faced with the choice of investing millions of dollars of capital on upgrades at head office or scoping the market for colocation options.

In finding a fit-for-purpose location for their mission critical high-density systems, Data Processors has been able to stay focused on extracting business value from the over eight terabytes of data they manage for customers each month.

Three years ago, an average rack of equipment might have needed 2-3kW of power (equivalent to the electricity needed for a suburban house). Today it sits at an average of ~5-6kW per rack, and in the next three years it is anticipated that an average of more than 10kW of power will be needed to power each rack.

Physical IT equipment today is smaller, more powerful, and more efficient. The processing power of a whole rack of yesterday’s IT equipment now fits into 10% of the space it used to. This allows you to place 10x more computing power in the footprint of one rack. Many on-premises data centres just can’t deliver this much power to each rack.

Surging data volumes

Data volumes are growing up to 1000% per year. Often data sets are being stored infinitely and accessed often, increasing complexity of back-up, redundancy, and disaster recovery planning. Demand for storage hardware and suitable space to house it is surging as a result. IDC estimates that the installed base of storage capacity worldwide will grow to 6.8ZB this year. That’s an increase of 16.6% over 2019, but over the course of the 2019-2024 forecast, the installed base of storage capacity is expected to achieve a compound annual growth rate of 17.8%.

The only way that organisations of the future will be able to support this kind of dense and power-hungry environment without being locked into narrow vendor roadmaps will be from within colocation facilities, which are designed and built to support future compute requirements.

Reach out to us and book a strategy session with our experts to understand more about why colocating with NEXTDC will take the stress out of meeting your data and storage requirements.