Trends such as Internet of things (IoT), digitisation, cloud, mobility and social media have been responsible for the exponential growth of data and higher complexity of enterprise computing workloads. One of the biggest challenges companies face today is increased demand on their data centres, writes Yasser Zeineldin, CEO, eHosting DataFort.
However, building or expanding their own data centre facility could become quite expensive for businesses. To add to this, the ever-increasing security threats, newer technologies and compliance requirements has pushed many companies in the UAE to look at colocation services as an alternative to increase business agility and flexibility, reduce carbon footprint and most importantly save costs.
Though larger organisations have extensive financial and human resources to cover costs, maintain and monitor the facility 24/7, it’s almost impossible for SMBs to do the same. With today’s economic slowdown, even large organisations find it challenging to expand data centre facilities, continuously purchase new hardware and software and upgrade employee skills.
CIOs are now required to study the total cost of investment (TCO) and return on investment (ROI) before making big investment decisions on new data centre facilities or upgrading their existing one. Also, hosting servers in-house can put a business at an additional risk of downtime since internal IT does not often provide guaranteed SLAs and 24/7 Support.
Hence, organisations in cities like Dubai are increasingly considering co-location services, which is a third party data centre facility that allows businesses to rent space for their servers and other computing hardware. The need for 24/7 availability of data in a safe and secure environment has also created a growing demand for data centre colocation.
Drivers for increased uptake of colocation services
Continuously surging demand for data storage and its reliable and efficient processing is impacting the data centre infrastructure market. In the present scenario, most organisations are facing saturated data centre capacity, in terms of power, cooling, and space. Therefore, companies are either expanding their existing data centre capacity or using colocation facilities for their new workloads. This is a major driver for the data centre colocation market in the UAE and the wider Middle East region.
Also, the need to minimise latency and enable faster access to applications drives regional colocation growth for organisations with users based in the region.
The need for increased data protection, business continuity and disaster recovery have also fueled the colocation market as organisations consider colocation facilities for their DR sites.
Due to significant increase in power, bandwidth and cooling requirements for data centre equipment, many legacy-built data centres are unable to accommodate these new power and cooling demands. This too has driven the upward demand in the data centre colocation market.
Business benefits of colocation services
- Lease vs build – Building your own data centre is expensive. In addition to the large capital expenditure, it involves regular maintenance, upgrade and facilities management costs. By opting to work with a services provider, you can lease data centre space and convert CAPEX to OPEX with predictable monthly costs.
- Focus on core business objectives – Colocation takes the burden of operation, management and repair of data centre facilities off the shoulders of the IT department which in turn gives IT staff increased time to focus on the business needs of the company.
- Scalability – Colocation allows you to expand your infrastructure to fit the needs of your company’s growth without having to take on capital expenditures. If your company grows, your IT infrastructure can expand to support it quickly and with less investment.
- Security- This is also a major issue related with hosting your own data centres. On the other hand, service providers guarantee top-notch security preventing unauthorized access to their customers’ systems. In addition, business data and assets are secured with 24X7 monitoring, dedicated security staff, access systems, including biometric access, authentication systems, and CCTV surveillance. Also, having all your resources in one location can always prove to be a hindrance in the long run, especially in the face of unforeseen natural disasters. A colocation data centre would make the necessary provisions to make sure your data is secured and protected from such threats.
- Redundancy and High availability – It may be costly to achieve 100% network reliability, but at the same time this is a must if businesses want to continue their growth. Colocation guarantees reliability and availability with the maximum uptime.
- Better connectivity – Colocation data centres have fully redundant high speed networks ensuring that customers’ business critical applications always run uninterrupted
Colocation, when implemented with a trusted data centre hosting services provider, offers a plethora of benefits and allows IT staff to focus on strategic business operations required for optimal growth.