European nuclear research specialist CERN created some 35 petabytes of data a year hunting for the Higgs Boson, and is expected to double that volume when the particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, is restarted in 2015.
CERN has - just for example - various 100-megapixel cameras that take some forty million photos per second of particle collisions near four detectors in the collider's 27-km circular tunnel. It also has 50,000 cores in the Wigner Research Centre for Physics in Budapest alone, tipped to expand it 300,000 cores, involving various sites, this year.
Some 8,000 physicists around the world have near-real time access to the resulting data. That's what you call Big Data, all right - coping with the volume, velocity and variety triumvirate.
Perhaps most businesses do not need to process or analyse such volumes of information at speed, but many organisations are certainly creating and hosting much more data than before. And the stage has been set for increasing the involvement of the channel.
Matthew Wring, technical director at WAN and internet services provider Efar, says the Bristol reseller has recently taken space in a large regional datacentre facility. He says it proved to offer a low-cost base while "ticking all the boxes" for power, connectivity, ease of access, and security.
"The evaluation criteria was based on our experience of using facilities at Telehouse in London, Equinix in Slough and our own Bristol headquarters," Wring says.
"Most datacentres in London and within the M25 area [are] now increasingly challenged by a lack of power," he adds. By teaming up with a larger datacentre provider, Efar has been able to we can meet all its requirements per rack while lowering the costs across its estate.
The rise of cloud computing, super- or grid- computing applications, as well as Big Data, mean more organisations are keen to consolidate their server rooms or seek out more energy-efficient ways of supporting them. Datacentre offerings can sometimes be whitelabelled for channel partners, too.
Some datacentre firms previously focused on selling datacentre space wholesale are looking to form channel relationships, expanding their offerings to suit all types and sizes of B2B channel partner. These may be custom-designed to suit a few racks - or a few halls.
After all, few channel partners can afford the millions of pounds it costs to build a hall, yet data storage is an issue that has become overwhelming for more businesses.
Once upon a time, channel partners rarely thought about the datacentre, the pipes available, or the energy supply, but those times are changing as IT becomes ever more important to businesses.
Wring says that Efar was able to place an connection point from Virgin Media back to London peering points as well as take Wavenet fibre circuits via Level 3's direct link with the datacentre partner. This meant fast connectivity with low latency, which it got, Wring indicates, at a reasonable price.
"This allows us to provide an on-net datacentre to our aerospace customers with the right level of security but at a cost base that will enable us to win profitable business," Wring says.
Nigel Griffiths, commercial director at Certus Technology Group, says his company has been working with a large datacentre partner for a couple of years now.
"We have a base in Newport, and do about £2m in managed services every year, and £1m in technical projects and we do datacentre-related services, with a larger SME-type customer base, and smaller corporates. We provide for core business areas such as virtualisation, colocation, IaaS, managed services and general services," he says.
"We are the most highly accredited Dell house in the UK - we are small but beautiful, and have been going 13 years."
Previously, Griffiths says, Certus was taking space on an ad-hoc basis in a datacentre as a reseller of Rackspace. The company had a selection of racks in Bristol, and a couple of racks in London. However, the company considered that moving to a nearer location could offer a number of advantages as well as greater control.
Buying its own datacentre hall could offer advantages, but was likely to prove too costly, Griffiths confirms.
"Here we have a lot more control over the environment, and how we position it. So it's like having our own datacentre within a big facility which we could never afford to build ourselves," he says. "The fact that we are 500 metres away was quite compelling too."
Griffiths says Certus has built up a good relationship with its provider which has doubtless helped smooth the path to growth.
He says the benefits of being in a quality datacentre facility can and do help Certus win customers, in part through offering greater peace of mind around a wider range of parameters.
Offer availability and resilience
Certus is able to ensure customers have the availability and resilience they want, as well as the ability to scale up and down with the market itself.
Meanwhile, centres with environmentally-friendly credentials increasingly play well with customers and in the tender processes, Griffiths says, - not least because it helps customer organisations keep their own costs down as well as ticks various compliance and security boxes.
"Most of our clients are asking us for proven infrastructure and technical reliability as well as colocation services. Datacentre facilities come into the conversation as a disaster recovery target for the customer, and more and more we talk about that - about how they can put a primary solution on the datacentre and back up to their premises," Griffiths says.
"It's the beginning of a broad sell. People are buying a footprint and colocation, and more and more buy directly. So we need to buy one or two racks at a time."
View pictures of all of last night's fights
Acquisitive comms provider swoops on Frontier Voice & Data and StoneHouse Logic
Cybersecurity firm rakes in £3.6m for unwanted unit
Results, reaction and pictures from last night's CRN Fight Night