IoT & Connected 'Things' Will Drive Colocation In Future
Businesses that want to make the most of the evolving IoT driven ecosystem need to have a strategic, long-term approach to colocation
Consumer devices, mobile platforms and data management paradigms have evolved extremely fast in the last decade. In fact, the evolution has been so rapid that we now find ourselves in an era of unprecedented connectivity and unimaginable data volumes. The speed of this growth is evident from analyst projections. IDC projects the global spending on IoT to be almost USD 1.4 trillion by 2021. Gartner says that there would be more than 20 bn connected things across the world by 2020, of which over 60% would be consumer devices.
Businesses, on one hand, have been responsible for this evolution, as they leverage more and more mobile apps, cloud infrastructure and consumer-driven platforms to come closer to their customers. On the other hand, the same businesses have struggled to catch up and stay aligned with the shifting paradigms - big data analytics, IoT, statistical modelling, machine learning, software-defined networks, hyper-converged infrastructure and hyper-scale storage.
Business models and IT infrastructure need to evolve quickly and find ways to stay in tune with a globally dispersed, data-rich and super-connected information ecosystem. Data infrastructure that enables high-speed, high volume, high -quality data transmission, and high-performance storage are strategic imperatives. Best-in-class colocation service providers have the opportunity to cater to the growing colocation needs of companies that need storage and network closer to the markets that they serve. For example, businesses such as transportation and logistics, e-commerce, banking and finance and healthcare are facing the multiple challenges - global reach, digitally connected customers and large data/analytics needs.
Cloud Service Integration becomes another major opportunity for colocation service providers. The colocation model today has gone far beyond the traditional space and power 'rental' service of a decade ago. Most leading colocation service providers either have or are in the process of developing cloud-computing infrastructure that seamlessly integrates with collocated infrastructure. This addresses major IoT challenges like big data management (low-cost storage), analytics (high-performance computer), security (compliance, virtual private cloud) and network connectivity (SDN).
Edge computing is the other major cloud computing trend that is likely to impact the colocation space. The concept of edge computing involves performing data processing as close to the source as possible (the edge of the network). In an IoT driven ecosystem, edge computing is likely to drive much greater efficiencies across the network. This requires a large amount of globally distributed compute power, and make a strong case for colocation.
The key challenge for service providers is to build and manage high-performance and cost-optimized colocation centres that have widespread geographical coverage. For many global communications infrastructure providers, their global coverage allows them to provide a single standard or service level and 24X7 support services to their global customers.
Businesses that want to make the most of the evolving IoT driven ecosystem need to have a strategic, long-term approach to colocation. Traditionally, many global organizations have used different colocation partners in different parts of the world, depending on various factors like price, service availability, and day-to-day operational needs (existing relationships, physical proximity). Future colocation strategies need to use a consolidated and standardized model across all regions and offices, globally, to ensure consistent levels of availability and performance for customers, partners and business users, anytime anyplace. As the IoT space evolves, we will see the colocation space consolidate, standardize and work towards providing consistent, standards -driven and high-quality services to organizations.
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