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Datacentres then and now: The technological evolution

Kevin Wee, Director, Colocation Business Development, Asia Pacific, CenturyLink | July 24, 2015
Kevin Wee of CenturyLink APAC tells a tale of how data centres have progressed, and what colocation brings for businesses for times ahead.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Since the dot com boom in the 1990s, Singapore has witnessed an increasing demand for greater data capacity. Today, we are seeing new trends such as increased computing and data storage. From adopting physical frames to taking a cloud-centric approach, these trends have greatly reduced data centres' footprint over the last 20 years. For aging data centres, colocation and cloud hosting is fast becoming an alternative.

Colocation positioned as the future

When an existing data centre can no longer shoulder an organisation's IT burden alone, or if it becomes necessary to establish a secondary site to provide enhanced business continuity or regional network support, the obvious solution is to add another data centre. However, there are arguments surrounding the building of a new data centre. Instead, buying space — otherwise known as colocation — makes for a more logical and practical solution financially.

Further to that, today's challenging economy and fast evolving IT landscape highlights the desire for fine-tuned control over systems, and that has been one of the primary drivers for colocation. In addition to colocation, service providers that evolve and become a bridge to a wider range of managed services such as cloud and other networked services (collectively referred to as 'Hybrid IT' solutions) are and will benefit the most. In fact, IDC research (2014) shows that IT organisations increasingly recognize the importance of optimally managing varied hybrid cloud environments in harmonization with existing applications and datacentres.

Likewise, as the expectation of the performance capabilities of a data centre increases, the Service Level Agreement (SLA) in data centres have also risen to between 99.9% and 100%, providing yet another assurance of achieving the highest performance level. The parallel provision of colocation as host for, and part of, the full spectrum of cloud options is where the future lies for the industry.

The reasons for choosing colocation are aplenty, but importantly, organisations worry less in areas such as uptime, bandwidth, latency and facility security. This comes with them gaining access to cloud and managed services, and benefiting from the colocation provider's connectivity options, security best practices, support services, and most significantly, compliance with regulatory requirements in various countries. An example is that of Singapore; where data centre providers need to undergo the Threat and Vulnerability Risk Assessment (TVRA) as stipulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Nothing is a bed of roses

Amid favorable talks of colocation, it is not without its concerns.  Physical and cyber security risks associated with data are some examples that come to mind. Depending on providers, security services such as DDoS protection, network security and threat detection are usually in place to help address these security issues.


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