Co-location: the rise of the data centre
The Internet of Things (IoT), gaming, virtual reality (VR), and streaming media are only a handful of the latest technologies that have provided a number of opportunities for businesses to capitalise on. However, these technologies have also resulted in an unprecedented volume of data, which far exceeds the capabilities of many organisations’ IT infrastructure capabilities.
In response, the industry has undergone a significant shift in traditional IT management, from having on-site IT servers and racks, to one where organisations have instead begun to see the true value in outsourcing by moving to third-party suppliers, notably colocation facilities.
The colocation market has been steadily rising in popularity as the latest report from 451 research indicates that the sector will be worth an incredible $33.2bn worldwide by 2018. As technology continues to innovate, colo facilities have taken the burden off of organisations by providing a cost-effective and dedicated service to better coordinate their IT infrastructure.
Traditionally, most organisations have favoured a capital expenditure (CAPEX) approach to supporting their IT infrastructure with the major costs centred around the upkeep of servers and racks as well as employing the relevant IT staff to manage this. As times have changed and IT demands have intensified, more companies are now looking to switch to an operational expenditure (OPEX) model, which is provided by an outsourced service.
Competitive pricing has also been another benefitting factor for colocation providers. Many are seeing the promise of developing their sites on the outskirts of Tier-1 cities, allowing for both cheaper and larger land in which to build the facility. This not only affords its customers better prices compared to major city providers, but also provides the space required to scale-up services in order sustain performance in the face of new technologies.
As a result, and for SMEs and start-ups especially, outsourcing to third-party specialists has become a lucrative option. Not only can the money saved be reinvested back into critical business operations, but also a guarantee that the outsourced provider possesses the knowledge in order to manage an effective IT infrastructure.
Additionally, the importance of having specialist IT staff to manage this has increased following a wave of growing DDoS, affecting organisations of all sizes. Colo facilities are equipped with both physical and cyber security policies that protects against these type of losses. Cyber security in particular, is often a complex area and the expert staff here are best placed to mitigate risks.
Overall, outsourcing to a colocation facility is major asset for organisations of all sizes. As technology continues to innovate, the pressure this has on both staff and resources has given rise to third-party specialists to manage and maintain an organisation’s IT infrastructure. While the major technology companies such as Facebook and Google will continue to develop their independent sites, it is often limited to the largest players in the industry. The colocation facility on the other hand, has opened the doors for all.
By Greg McCulloch, CEO of Aegis Data
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”