Nearly 90 percent of data center operators throughout North America and Europe are planning to increase data center spending in the near future, according to a recent report from 451 Research. However, very little of that new spending will be directed toward conventional on-premises infrastructure.
Continually expanding space, storage and processing power requirements are driving demands for additional capacity, but the 451 Research report suggests there is little appetite for expanding existing data centers or building new facilities. Instead, operators are shifting their budget dollars to leased facilities. The report says that by the end of 2024, more than half of global utilized data center racks will be located at off-premises facilities such as cloud and colocation sites.
What should you consider when building a data center of the future?
Cost is one reason why leased data center arrangements are on the upswing. Heating, air conditioning, property taxes, hardware, software and staffing are just some of the expenses involved with operating an on-premises data center. A U.S. Chamber of Commerce study found that new data centers cost about $1,300 per square foot, which includes the purchase price of the property, construction costs, building permits, taxes, cabling infrastructure, fire suppression systems and more.
Colocation and cloud infrastructure eliminate much of the upfront investment required to expand an existing data center or build a new one. In a colo arrangement, you rent space for your servers, storage and other computing hardware in a third-party provider’s data center. Colo services include all the power, cooling and physical security you need, as well as established connections to a variety of telecommunications and network service providers.
Cloud solutions require even less upfront spending. The cloud provider owns and manages all of the data center infrastructure, sometimes with the help of a third-party managed services provider. Customers pay a monthly fee to run their applications and manage their data within a virtual infrastructure running on cloud servers.
Many organizations choose a hybrid approach. The ability to allocate resources across cloud, colocation and existing on-premises infrastructure provides extreme agility to support remote workforces, edge computing and Internet of Things initiatives that are heavily dependent on real-time data and latency-free communications.
Managing and supporting these geographically dispersed resources is practically impossible for all but the largest enterprise organizations with well-developed networks of engineers and support personnel. For most others, it makes far more sense to leverage the services that are built into cloud and colo arrangements. Providers frequently offer “remote hands” services for basic tasks such as rebooting a server, reconnecting cables or responding to alerts, along with “smart hands” services for more complex tasks such as server provisioning, configuration changes and circuit testing.
Providers feature robust physical and digital security measures, which help boost your regulatory compliance and disaster recovery capabilities. Some providers also offer a variety of leading-edge tools that a smaller organization could never afford to implement in its own private facility. That includes analytics, business intelligence and asset tracking applications, power management solutions, and remote monitoring tools.
While some organizations still want the total control that they can achieve with an on-premises data center, the costs of building or expanding these facilities is becoming an unnecessary expense for many. That’s why colocation, cloud and hybrid infrastructure assets will be common characteristics of modern data center operations.