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What’s New in Data Centers? CIOs Should Take Notes

Jun 7, 2016 10:30:03 AM

by Josh Boxer

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Just when you thought you were up to speed on the latest and greatest in data center solutions, a new wave of emerging technologies and trends has surfaced. As more services move to the cloud, enterprises have been forced to build more data centers to keep up with demands. However, with that come the added expenses, resources, and environmental impact associated with effectively managing and maintaining those data centers. And in an age when digital disruption is at its peak and agile transformation is on the mind of every business and IT leader alike, enterprises have had to start thinking outside the box.

Data Center Locations

A major trend we’re seeing, and arguably the most unique, is in relation to the locations that some organizations are choosing to host their data centers. Off-premise data center solutions are increasing in popularity as the need for enterprises to create more agile, efficient, and cost-effective infrastructure environments has risen. Now, in most cases this sort of transformation can be achieved through data center outsourcing, but some enterprises have taken it a step, or 5 steps, further.

Let’s take Facebook for example. Facebook hosts one of its data centers in Lulea, Sweden because the cold temperatures allow for a significant reduction in cooling costs. Another is located in Clonee, Ireland and is powered by wind energy to help cut down on power costs. However, Facebook isn’t the only one leveraging location-based data centers. Google hosts one of its data centers in Hamina, Finland, and uses sea water from the Bay of Finland as a cooling function.

While both are innovative approaches to optimization, Microsoft takes the cake. Although not a fully developed concept, Microsoft is in the process of researching and testing ways to host data centers fully submerged in the sea. The hope is that this ‘subsea’ data center will lower costs, offer more environmental sustainability, provide renewable power sources, and deliver increased access to cooling. However, it doesn’t stop there. Microsoft is projecting that this approach will allow users that live within 200 kilometers of the sea to experience substantially reduced data latency, rapid data center deployment and provisioning, and high responsiveness.

Going Green

Although ‘going green’ isn’t as new or exciting as hosting data centers completely under the sea, it has become a major area of focus for many modern enterprises. The reason for this is that the benefits are three fold; financial optimization, environmental sustainability, and brand perception.

  1. Financial Optimization:

Costs benefits are likely to be the main reason why so many modern enterprises are pursuing green infrastructure environments. Power consumption is a high ticket item, and the rapidly increasing volumes of data caused by digital transformation have required organizations to increase their processing and storage capabilities. In addition, enterprises that leverage outsourced data center solutions are able to eliminate the need to purchase and operate physical equipment and software applications. From an environment standpoint this helps to reduce and organization’s carbon footprint, but from a financial standpoint this helps to reduce the costs of an organization’s physical footprint.

  1. Environmental Sustainability:

Enterprises that employ data center outsourcing are able to substantially reduce the impact their business operations have on the environment. Sharing pooled resources and facilities helps to eliminate the need to maintain in-house environments; subsequently eliminating the energy consumption and carbon emissions often that’s produced by data centers.

  1. Brand Perception:

Conserving natural resources and minimizing the impact we have on the environment has become a major focus for everyone. In the business world specifically, we’ve seen a rise in the amount of companies implementing environmentally conscious programs in an effort to support this movement. Although it may not be at the top on an organization’s list of priorities, placing an emphasis on social responsibility can help create a superior brand perception to those companies that do not.

Reliability is Key

Having a reliable data center, regardless of whether it is implemented using one of the latest trends or not, is absolutely critical to today’s modern enterprise. As previously discussed, digital disruption is on the rise, and organizations must have the agility and flexibility to adapt to business and market demands at a moment’s notice while maintaining high availability and disaster recovery preparedness.

Data center outsourcing is a great way for modern enterprises to gain the agility, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness that today’s digital business era calls. In addition, the environmental sustainability that is offered through outsourced solutions helps to generate cost optimizations and a positive brand perception necessary to succeed in today’s IT landscape.

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