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It’s Not About The Rack Space

By 4th Feb 2021May 12th, 2021No Comments

Why Digitally Savvy Enterprises See Teraco as a Strategic Network Node

So often discussions about colocation focus on quality, service levels and the price of a rack. The problem, however, is that it is not about the rack space. The enterprise data centre is dying. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80% of enterprises will have either downsized or shut down their traditional on-premise data centres, and moved the workloads into the cloud or colocation facilities.

“Its primary function will be to enable the business to be more agile, to enter new markets more quickly, to deliver services closer to the customer, and to position specific workloads based on business, regulatory and geopolitical impacts. The role of the traditional data centre is being relegated to that of a legacy holding area, dedicated to very specific services that cannot be supported elsewhere, or supporting those systems that are most economically efficient on-premises.”

Dave Cappuccio, Research VP at Gartner | July 26, 2018

Assuming Gartner is right, is colocation right for your company, right now?

In days past it was possible to justify keeping computer and storage resources in-house. The fibre-based broadband ecosystem was not well developed, wireless mobile wasn’t yet a fit option for connectivity, the cloud was yet to cover the globe, digital channels between consumers and companies were immature, and there were few vendor-neutral data centre facilities driving network efficiencies. IT decisions tended to focus on campuses, the staff in them and the WAN links that connected them.

Today, IT needs to reinvent the enterprise network to enable the business to thrive in a digital world. Before we discuss those challenges and how Multi-Tenanted Data Centres (MTDC) with advanced Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) like Teraco play a crucial role, we’d suggest taking a look at some analyses of Costs, Benefits and Risks.

If Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is of interest to you, we outline some ideas on how to do that in “What is your data centre costing you?”. We also discuss the relative risks and benefits of hosting compute and storage servers in-house versus colocating at a facility like Teraco in “Colocation – weighing up the benefits”.

It’s No Longer Just About Cost Per Square Metre

As the 3rd decade of the 21st-century approaches and B2C and B2B digital channels become more diverse and complex, so the issues an IT decision-maker has to grapple with have become more complex. Access to IT is now very much a wireless-first, always-on, access-anywhere type of environment, where we are more interested in services than servers or applications. Technologies like LTE are bringing LAN speeds to mobile devices, the cloud is subsuming compute and storage workloads, and we expect low latencies wherever we are.

Modern data centre networking now tends to take an Active-Active approach as opposed to that of Production-DR, making services seamlessly and reliably available to users no matter where they are. That means that the facilities that deliver services to your staff and customers need to be as close as possible to the networks they are using.

In the face of an increasingly unreliable power grid, the need to be agile and flexible in terms of scaling resources, and the overheads involved in maintaining data centre facilities in-house, the balance is shifting even further toward outsourcing. Add to this, the cost avoidance and benefits of interconnecting with content, cloud, connectivity and service providers at the lowest latency possible, and the logic of colocation at an MTDC with an advanced IXP becomes inescapable.

If that wasn’t enough, Software Defined Networks (SDNs), improved perimeter security and the ability to virtualise key network components bring further benefits of cost savings, scalability, flexibility and reliability to your IT ecosystem. Virtual Data Centre and Virtual Networking functions become a reality with perimeter security and data centre functions delivered by third parties who are only a fibre cross-connect away.

One of the top 2019 trends in data centres identified by the Uptime Institute is that connectivity is becoming a focal point with operators working hard to build out interconnection fabrics like Africa Cloud Exchange and NAPAfrica. These SDN based fabrics are secure online platforms that allow virtual private interconnection to others on the same platform to be rapidly provisioned so that organisations can easily connect to public clouds, service providers, partners, and suppliers in different data centres and regions. Teraco’s Africa Cloud Exchange has already achieved this type of service. A rock-solid colocation environment in the heart of the Southern African Internet, offering cost savings and strategic advantages which enable enterprise digital migration. What’s not to like?

Africa Cloud Exchange and NAPAfrica offer an invaluable interconnection fabric to the South African business.