How can colos become more reactive to customer needs for flexibility and agility?
Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT)
Among the emerging trends likely to have a big effect on the colocation market are the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data, both of which have a direct knock-on effect for Edge and Cloud Computing deployments. Each brings opportunities for service providers to expand their offerings and present specialised tailored solutions to organisations seeking to exploit these technologies.
The IoT will require services spanning the full range of the IT stack from infrastructure, namely computing power and data storage; through middleware including new IoT protocols, integration and platforms; to logic and data including applications, data analytics and business process management. Given the broad level of services required to exploit IoT, many companies in the space are likely to prefer engaging with service providers such as colocation companies rather than build their own competencies in house.
Furthermore the sheer volume of data generated by IoT will necessitate the building of networks to collect data from sensors, cameras and other acquisition points. The opportunities to help organisations build these networks and to collect, aggregate and analyse the ensuing data generated are self evident.
There are of course challenges associated with exploiting the Big Data from the IoT. Data will be collected from thousands of disparate devices located throughout the world. It is unlikely to form an orderly stream; on the contrary it is more likely to be erratic in nature, sometimes arriving in torrents and other times at a trickle. Capacity planning will be a vital asset and the challenges that it presents will be overcome using an optimum mix of Edge and Cloud Computing deployments,
From the earliest days of the Internet people have drawn analogies with a motorway network with high-capacity motorways (backbones) complementing smaller main roads and eventually minor roads and lanes. Edge Computing is a trend emerging in response to the need to divert unnecessary local traffic away from global data backbones feeding giant data centres and routeing it through local networks that are better suited for its purpose.
Edge Computing moves data acquisition, computing and storage resources closer to their end users. In the case of IoT, Edge Computing distributes loads closer to the devices that are producing data to reduce latency. It requires smaller data centres and therefore presents an opportunity for colocation providers to offer local diversified solutions to complement their larger data centres.
Given the nature of IoT data traffic, with small amounts of data being generated by vast numbers of devices it makes sense, rather than have all that data sent to a single central location, to route it to smaller data centres distributed throughout a number of regions so that it can be collected and processed locally. This not only relieves congestion on global backbones but also addresses local latency issues.
Edge Computing data centres are also ideal on and off ramps to Cloud Computing providers which is the other main option for capacity planning. Due to its elastic nature, Cloud is a natural fit for IoT implementations as it is more easily able to handle variations in traffic levels. Cloud implementations are also a good fit for the compute-intensive tasks such as data analytics that will be prevalent in IoT environments.
Colocation providers can interact with the Cloud in a number of ways: either by offering Cloud-based services themselves, partnering with existing Cloud providers or simply by providing the essential infrastructure for Cloud providers to use.
Next: The age of data centre management