Colocation data centers are facilities that let companies rent space for servers and other hardware. Rather than building their own sites, businesses can use this shared facility to reduce their IT infrastructure budget. This strategy helps to save money on IT infrastructure without sacrificing performance. In addition, colocation allows for stability and predictable expenses, making it easier to manage IT budgets.
As the IT world changes and develops, the colocation market is also changing. Schneider Electric recently published a report on colocation data centers, where they touch upon major trends, opportunities and challenges in the space.
How are colocation buyers changing?
Buyers in the colocation space used to be solely facility managers, who focused primarily on the hardware. These days, the face of this group has changed dramatically, as colocation can impact many strategies on a wide scale. Today's buyers include a wide array of professionals, like IT managers, CIOs, CFOs, CEOs and other executives.
In addition to these new buyers, there's also an entirely new role that has emerged in the face of these changes: the chief digital officer, or CDO. As digital strategies are integral to the success of companies across every industry, this role is growing in importance. The CDO oversees a company's digital strategies, driving company-wide change and innovation. Naturally, as colocation hubs are becoming more popular, the CDO is now a regular colocation buyer and point of contact.
These buyers want colocation for many different reasons – CIOs and CFOs will have different buyer personas, for instance. Colocation companies need to be able to speak with all of them and understand what they're looking for. As each of these C-level buyers will be looking for different value propositions, providers have to be able to provide facts and figures that work on many levels.
"Buyers want colocation for many different reasons."
How do the Internet of Things and Big Data affect colocation?
The Internet of Things and Big Data offer a number of opportunities for companies in the colocation space. The IoT affects infrastructure, middleware, logic and data layers through sensors that connect different devices and tools via the Internet. Colocation providers can help clients set up their own IoT networks so they can collect data. They can also help companies update their existing architecture in order to facilitate an IoT strategy.
Big Data allows businesses to analyze large amounts of business intelligence for smart decisions that improve their products and services. In order to do so, companies need to have an IT infrastructure that lets them collect and analyze huge amounts of data to distil it into action plans. Colocation providers can help their clients get on board with this trend by aiding in their capacity planning, making sure their infrastructure can handle the large influx of data.
Cloud computing as a threat and an opportunity
Schneider identifies cloud computing as another trend that is shaking up the colocation market. As cloud computing provides flexibility, it's a great fit for businesses that are looking to take advantage of Big Data and the IoT. Some colocation companies may be able to offer their own cloud services, while others may be partnering with cloud providers. In addition, they could be directly competing with cloud hosting companies who offer many of the same benefits of a colocation site. Providers need to determine what their value propositions will be, in order to determine what can set them apart from potential partners and competitors.
While colocation providers face challenges, they also face many new opportunities to provide value to new types of customers. To learn more, you can download the full report from Schneider Electric here.