Data Centers in the Cloud: Evolving Trends for 2012
Written by: Eric Shepcaro
The data center market can be viewed from two perspectives: data center providers who operate multi-tenant facilities, and the mission-critical enterprise data centers that power entire organizations. At Telx, we have seen emerging trends in both areas that will affect how the cloud – and its strategic use – continues to evolve.
Data Center Shift: Putting Your Infrastructure to Work
Data center providers are seeing the benefits of partnerships and alliances that help build out industry-specific ecosystems. These ecosystems create larger communities of interest and give data center colocation customers the ability to directly connect to managed service providers, cloud computing providers, and communications services providers that make the most sense for their business. Not too long ago, data centers were flat, static repositories of hardware – but with the innovation of interconnection and the introduction of cloud computing, that approach has changed dramatically. Today, data centers are rich in cloud and network hubs that transform the data center into a dynamic environment, alive with multiple business communities and opportunities that are coming together to drive growth and expansion. The dynamic data center approach means your hardware is doing more than just sitting in a facility somewhere – it’s adding value to your business.
The other spectrum of the data center provider segment is represented by providers who have entered the market in the managed services space as a strategy to evolve their business into the cloud. They are actively embracing cloud technologies and developing products and services based on those cloud technologies with the goal of moving up the stack to evolve into a cloud services provider.
Enterprise Data Centers: Great Expectations
As enterprise IT groups continue to gain a better understanding of cloud technologies, they are moving to differentiate themselves with cloud computing in the orchestration layer of their business. Over the past year, an emerging trend has been a hybrid cloud approach that calls for hosting some applications on the premises, and others in a managed hosting or colocation data center environment, or both, depending on what makes the most sense to the business and user requirements. Consequently, enterprise data centers are using the cloud to reduce IT workload while improving operational efficiency and achieving economies of scale.
Today’s enterprise cloud user has high expectations of their cloud computing experience. While early adopters of cloud services could forgive the occasional glitch or service outage, this sort of issue is virtually unacceptable with the more savvy cloud customer. Cloud and managed service providers are investigating the distributed hybrid cloud approach, such as colocating their cloud nodes in established, strategically-located data centers, to alleviate some of the previous pain points of cloud delivery. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, enterprise cloud users have all too many options if their current cloud provider can’t meet expectations.
Benefits in the Cloud For 2012
With 2011 being the year of the hybrid cloud, we have begun to see increased clarity within the data center space and a better understanding of the difference between true cloud architectures and traditional virtualization. Cloud architectures facilitate an easy-to-manage grid and proximity to users – such as computing across hundreds of devices – whereas virtualization approaches can be difficult and cost prohibitive to deploy. And once deployed, they often cannot match the application speed, performance, and reliability of a cloud-based solution.
As data center providers and enterprises alike continue to recognize the value of a hybrid cloud approach, Telx foresees that cloud technologies will drive some exciting trends and deliver significant benefits to the data center market in 2012, including:
§ Building cloud communities in secure colocation data centers with connectivity to a broad range of networks to simplify expansion into the cloud either in a hybrid approach or a true cloud
§ Enabling more flexibility and scalability for accessing the cloud in colocation data centers through a variety of public, private, and hybrid offerings
§ Delivering a better quality of experience for end users with premium network performance service levels, ensured by flexible and secure colocation data center services
§ Simplifying the cloud for enterprises with “cloud in a box,” a pre-packaged, pre-configured, all-in-one scalable appliance that turns complex cloud deployments into off-the-shelf purchases
§ Customizing approaches to enterprise IT end-user support, such as allowing end users to use their own computing technology in the cloud in order to increase the adoption of portable and virtual desktops, specifically in the mobile world as connectivity speeds improve
§ Accelerating cloud -aware applications that “hook into the cloud” to automate the provisioning and tearing down of resources as business demands require, either in shared colocation environments or in an internal cloud
§ Increasing proximity to users to exceed their expectations for application delivery and performance. With increasing accessibility to digital content comes increasing impatience among users in regard to speed and reliability. The key to driving user satisfaction isn’t the hardware – it’s the application, where it is deployed, and the cloud’s proximity to the users.
Only time will tell what cloud computing in the data center space will look like in five years. At Telx, we believe the most successful data center providers will be those who are part of an established cloud community that supports fast adoption of the latest connectivity technology in a highly redundant, cloud-neutral colocation environment. In turn, the most successful enterprises will continue to embrace the hybrid cloud model for its data centers as a flexible and cost-effective strategy for bringing critical applications closer to users for greater customer satisfaction.
About the Author: Eric Shepcaro is Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Telx, a leading data center and interconnection provider with 17 locations nationwide. Mr. Shepcaro is responsible for leading and directing the strategy, growth and operations of the company. Under his leadership, Telx is a two-time Inc. 5000 company, a Red Herring North America Top 100 Company, and a two-time Crain’s NY Business “Best Companies to Work For” winner.
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.