What is the one thing that can't be compromised when it comes to datacentre space? This question is often asked in the datacentre community but never ceases to confound me. It's no longer a question that needs asking.
An analogy might be personal wellbeing: yes, most people do realise that picking water over food will prolong life in the short term. However, survival is not the challenge for many of today's organisations – a healthy, successful and long life is.
Asking simply what is the minimum you can get away with when it comes to datacentre space is downplaying the fundamental importance of IT in the business world.
The question should be: "What do customers need to give their businesses the flexibility to grow and expand?" Anything less than that has to be a tactical decision. Fully supporting the core business operation is a necessity; never consider accepting less.
Twenty years ago, datacentres were just big warehouses full of power and dodgy cooling systems, although they were still a better place to put your IT than your basement.
Now, however, the IT systems can be the be-all and end-all. As such, there should be no compromise whatsoever.
We cannot afford not to keep up with the Joneses in the datacentre industry. We have to provide a one-stop shop. Stability and good infrastructure are crucial because customers will no longer accept any downtime. They shouldn't have to and they rightfully expect someone to be there to help them around the clock.
There are sirens in the sea of data. Of course budget is a factor but it should not be the only one. Once you have decided what would benefit your customer business as well as yourself, check the prices and negotiate.
Once you forget false economies of scale, more often than not you'll be pleasantly surprised by what quality costs.
The concepts of retail and wholesale colocation are blurring, and a minimalistic approach can play into the hands of wholesalers making a play in the colocation space.
Originally a real-estate play – buying a big piece of property and fitting it out as a datacentre – the wholesale approach was aimed at serving just one or two customers.
Over time, these suppliers have started making a retail colocation play, with wholesale prices. This has driven down the market price but you can end up with property developers, so to speak, trying to operate datacentres and bringing in outside management teams.
By their nature, connectivity into the datacentre was their responsibility. As a result, there is now a rush to add connectivity, while creating the impression it has always been there.
We won't see these offerings disappear completely, but it isn't taking long for those looking for datacentre space to realise that compromising on the fundamentals is unwise and sometimes even fatal.
The minimum stakes for colocation providers to join the top table are rising. Those looking for colocation services should never go with those that cannot truly afford to play.
Andy Huxtable is an EMEA colocation product manager at CenturyLink Technology Solutions
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View photos of all the winners from the 2018 Channel Awards
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