Colocation delivers flexibility, reliability and proximity required for IT infrastructure modernisation

Colocation delivers flexibility, reliability and proximity required for IT infrastructure modernisation

Colocation data centres have become increasingly popular in recent years and offer some fruitful benefits. We take a look at survey findings demonstrating that colocation is considered one of the most effective approaches to address interoperability challenges, as well as examples of organisations that are operating with this approach.

In July of this year, CoreSite, a leading hybrid IT solutions provider and subsidiary of American Tower Corporation (‘American Tower’), released its 2022 State of the Data Center Report in partnership with CIO. The annual report examines the latest data centre trends, strategies, requirements and other findings from an annual quantitative survey and in-depth interviews with senior IT decision-makers.

“The IT landscape has become far more diverse as companies ramp up digitisation, strive for greater business agility and pursue new revenue-generation models,” said John Gallant, Enterprise Consulting Director at CIO. “This research illustrates that organisations have discovered a one-size-fits-all cloud strategy is not the answer – rather, agile and flexible multi-cloud infrastructure strategies are often a better, long-term solution. The 2022 survey findings demonstrate that colocation is considered one of the most effective approaches to address interoperability challenges arising from a hybrid, multi-cloud IT world. We are seeing organisations dramatically stepping up deployment of applications and workloads to off-premises colocation data centres, securing its place as a foundational IT infrastructure component.”

Findings within the 2022 report include:

  • IT leaders are moving top workloads from public cloud to colocation:
    84% – Content delivery/media processing applications
    83% – Collaboration and communications solutions
    78% – Business Intelligence/data warehouse/data analytics initiatives
  • Of the CIOs surveyed, 96% expect native, direct connections to major cloud service providers, as compared to 90% in 2021
  • The majority of IT leaders cited stability, redundancy and uptime advantages as the biggest drivers to move to colocation
  • Businesses report a major change with internal teams shifting focus to business-critical projects as a result of using colocation – an increase of more than 50% of respondents in 2022 indicated this shift compared to 2021

One survey respondent who is an IT leader in a financial services firm said: “The reason for colocation comes down to financial benefit and scalability — the typical things you think about when going to the cloud. In essence, you are able to run an environment cheaper and you’re able to stay more focused on core competencies, but it always comes down to budget, budget and more budget.”

“The cloud-first, cloud-only mantra is gone,” said Maile Kaiser, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for CoreSite. “Customers are telling us that not everything works in the cloud and not everything belongs in the same cloud. This interoperability requires low latency and high bandwidth to move data between systems. Colocation companies like CoreSite can provide an interconnection solution with native access to the public cloud onramps and Edge Compute sites along with an ability to scale private infrastructure.”

Tesh Durvasula, CEO, Africa Data Centres, speaks of the need for colocation services in Rwanda. He says the local enterprise market is eager to benefit from Africa Data Centres’ colocation services and a stable data centre environment. “They will also be able to make the most of global connectivity through a range of global service providers and cloud service providers.”

Africa Data Centres, a business of Cassava Technologies, is building its first data centre in Kigali, Rwanda. The facility will have 2MW of IT load and will break ground in the first quarter of 2023. The data centre will be purpose-built to meet growing demand in the region.

“It is an exciting time for Africa Data Centres,” said Durvasula. “Our decision to build a data centre in Kigali was an easy one, given Rwanda’s robust economic recovery post-COVID-19 and the Government of Rwanda’s focus on Digital Transformation.”

“This latest announcement adds to and complements our existing investments in Rwanda and elsewhere in East Africa. We will work closely with both public and private enterprises in Rwanda to ensure that they can harness the benefits of our data centre facility to enable the provision of digital services that Rwandan citizens need,” said Hardy Pemhiwa, Group President and CEO, Cassava Technologies.

According to Durvasula: “This new data centre brings three main benefits to the market – global standards, high quality of service and affordability. In addition, enterprises will achieve cost savings associated with building and maintaining their own facilities.”

Although Rwanda is a landlocked country in East Africa, there is stable network connectivity and infrastructure connecting it to Uganda and from there to the Kenyan coast into Uganda. Africa Data Centres will ensure that Rwanda becomes part of their ecosystem in East Africa by connecting the new data centre to their site in Nairobi.

Ultimately, Africa Data Centres wants to extend the same experience to clients in Rwanda as it does in other countries by building a world-class ecosystem to which the Rwandan market can connect.

Another colocation provider within the industry also making strides is Digital Realty, the largest global provider of cloud- and carrier-neutral data centre, colocation and interconnection solutions. The organisation, together with Mivne Real Estate, recently announced the formation of a joint venture, entry into the Israeli market and the planned development of a multi-tenant data centre campus in Israel. 

Digital Realty’s position as a leading provider of digital infrastructure capacity in the broader Mediterranean region, including presence in Athens, Barcelona and Marseille, will be further enhanced by this new location. The joint venture, which will operate under the brand name ‘Digital Realty Mivne’, will serve as a strategic partnership of Digital Realty with Mivne, a market-leading real estate developer, owner and operator that has developed many large-scale projects across Israel and has an extensive land bank. 

Approximately half of the world’s population resides within a 3,000-mile radius of the centre of the Mediterranean. Telegeography notes that international bandwidth in the Middle East has seen over 30% compound annual growth since 2016, representing an overall increase in transmission capacity to the region of almost 200%. Israel is emerging as an alternative cable interconnect route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea and the new campus will be located at a key intersection along the global Internet highway across the Mediterranean region, connecting Europe to the west and Asia, the Middle East and eastern Africa to the east. This new route enhances the availability and resilience of international subsea cable systems. The first subsea cable systems to traverse Israel terrestrially have already been announced and further systems are anticipated.

Israel is also a global centre for technology innovation and is regarded as the seventh most innovative country in the world, with the highest percentage of GDP spent on research and development and the highest venture capital (VC) investment per capita, with over 500 multi-national companies (MNCs) from 35 countries undertaking innovation in Israel. In addition, the four largest cloud service providers have all announced that they will be building cloud infrastructure in Israel. All of these macro trends are driving significant demand for digital infrastructure throughout Israel. 

Digital Realty Mivne expects to develop a multi-tenant data centre campus in Petah Tikvah, the primary connectivity hub in Israel. The data centre campus will support the development of up to 20 megawatts (MW) of installed IT load. Delivery of the initial phase is anticipated in 2023, subject to customer demand. 

“[This] collaboration marks the beginning of a new chapter for Digital Realty’s operations, customers and partners in the Middle East,” said Digital Realty Chief Executive Officer, A. William Stein. “We expect this partnership to further accelerate our growth while enhancing our ability to support our customers’ Digital Transformation across the globe.”

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