Colocation: Delivering resilience in a changing world

November 30 2020, by Prayna Prasad | Category: Data Centres

In a year of such rapid change, enterprises have developed a laser focus on business resiliency. For some IT departments’ resiliency was already a cornerstone of their digital transformation roadmap. But for many it was the sudden changes brought on by COVID-19 that highlighted a real need to keep core business operations available and connected during huge workforce and workload shifts.

Some enterprises were caught out, and struggled to set up solutions that could scale fast enough to adequately support employees working remotely. Others sought out cloud services and colocation providers to help them deliver on this immediate need.

Colocation data centres have long given enterprises options and flexibility that their in-house hosting infrastructure may be unable to meet. Across this year they’ve proven their value once again; delivering benefits like reduced IT cost and resource strain, readily-accessible technical expertise, scalability, augmented security, versatile connectivity and more.

While many of the world’s biggest SaaS providers have their own data centres in certain availability zones, colocation helps them manage demand fluctuations and ensure that their platforms are always available. It’s for this reason that hyperscalers often buy whitespace within a data centre, well before they expect the local market will require it. The coronavirus pandemic has taught us that demand can shift in the blink of an eye and enterprises need to be ready for it.

Here are five trends driving the uptake of colocation in Australia:

1. Strategic storage selection

As a result of the pandemic, enterprises are looking for ways to reduce costs and maximise their capital expenditure (CAPEX), including their office configurations. A server room might be important if your staff are working in the office with hardwired desktop computers, but with more organisations adopting work from anywhere type models, this is set to change. Across 2021, we expect to see a shift in how and where IT workloads are stored. While some organisations still need to store mission-critical workloads on-premise, many will outsource their on-prem data centres; selecting colocation to help them achieve greater security, stability, resilience and reliability.

2. Remote work demands

On-prem data centres are rarely geared to provide the right level of digital support for widespread remote work arrangements, as data and applications are distributed among too many disparate systems and various endpoint devices. In this multi-cloud, post-pandemic era, the on-prem data centre has become vast and complex, designed to drive the best user experience, rather than private, secure and compliant mechanisms it was likely intended to provide. By migrating some or all of their servers to a colocation data centre, enterprises can regain these important features. They can also access a range of additional security benefits like multi-factor authentication, CCTV, alarms and physical guards across a site, as well as logical security controls on each and every rack configuration.

3. Local IT expertise

COVID-19 has stifled international mobility. Many of the organisations that once managed their own data centre or server environment by flying in international IT experts have needed local providers to help them overcome challenges bought on by the pandemic. Across the industry we’ve seen challenges like reduced headcount, difficulties accessing a company’s own data centre facilities, and delays in hardware supply chains – all of which have the potential to dramatically impact business continuity and resilience if not expertly managed. To help enterprises overcome this challenge, we have expert technical staff on site 24/7, 365 days of the year. Our 100+ NV1 Federal Government-cleared engineers are always ready to provide local support, helping install, service and maintain our clients’ racks at any time, day or night.

4. Cost efficiency

Colocation facilities provide a lower cost per Mbit, with renters able to piggyback off the provider’s efficiency of scale. Carrier neutral facilities, or facilities located in fibre and network-dense locations like the Sydney North Zone, can also provide pricing flexibility.

Additionally, colocation data centres are based on a CAPEX model, with fixed charges that enable firms to fill up their racks, or entire halls, with vast amounts of storage for a modest monthly flat rate. This can work out more favourably than cost-for-performance (OPEX) models like that offered by public cloud service providers. Over the past few years we’ve seen more enterprises pull back from public cloud-first strategies. Instead they’re selecting the best environment for each workload. This is leading to ongoing interest in hybrid and multi-cloud as well as hybrid IT for the ways in which they deliver cost efficiency and more resilient operations.

5. Environmental considerations

The sheer size of colocation data centres, and their ability for multitenancy means these providers can offer resources at scale while ensuring the appropriate utilisation. Highly reliable power infrastructure – which is essential for hyperscalers and data-hungry enterprises – requires the redundant configuration of generators, UPS systems and air-conditioning to ensure that servers aren’t interrupted during power failures or weather events. This typically means having two or more of each piece of critical equipment, with the ability to seamlessly switch between the two.

Colocation providers can access this equipment at a better price and negotiate strong service level guarantees (SLGs) with supply chain partners (including fuel, power and water providers) than individual enterprises. They can also achieve better PUE by ensuring all systems are running efficiently at all times. If you’re in the market to co-locate, look for a provider that has multiple power sources and internet connections, Tier III certification and back-up generation to ensure your data remains accessible in the event of a disaster.

As the world becomes more volatile, colocation data centres can help businesses remain resilient in the face of the unknown. Is your enterprise reflected in the above trends? Want to know whether collocating with Macquarie Data Centres is right for you? Contact us now for a no-obligation assessment.