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22 Jul 2021
Why is Everyone Talking About Disaster Recovery?
2020 Was the Year of Disaster RecoveryCOVID-19During the pandemic, every organization was forced to re-examine how and where their employees work. This led to many businesses greatly increasing their digital operations so that employees could have the opportunity to work from home. Because of this sudden and unexpected shift, keeping internal systems and applications running 24/7 suddenly became essential in order to maintain business continuity. Companies that werent able to surmount these hurdles quickly became business casualties of COVID-19.Historic Weather and Climate DisastersAccording to the National Centers for Environmental information (NCEI), 2020 was a historic year of extremes in the United States. There were 22 separate climate events which, on their own, resulted in billions of dollars worth of damage to infrastructure, marking a harrowing record for the agency. 7 disasters linked to cyclones, 13 to severe storms, 1 to drought, and 1 to wildfire. Each one of these events recorded in excess of a billion dollars in damage to vital infrastructure, including data centers and the underlying hardware which supports them. If these trends continue, DRaaS solutions will be more vital than ever before.Cognizant Ransomware IncidentThe largest ransomware attack of 2020 was on technology giant Cognizant. All said and done, it cost the company an astronomical $70 million in both revenue loss and recovery and mitigation efforts. In April, the organizations network was infected with Maze ransomware. This completely blocked their entire work from home capabilities and encrypted their servers. It took three weeks for them to recover and restore their services. However, they continued to incur legal and consulting costs as they investigated the attack, in addition to all restoration and remediation efforts.In the past, some companies viewed disaster recovery as an insurance policy that they would never use. 2020 showed us that it must be looked at as something much more than that.What is DRaaS?Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is a cloud based solution that providers offer to ensure data protection, limit downtime, and shorten recovery of data when a disaster occurs. Most providers offer DRaaS on either a contractual basis or pay as you go model. Having a contract up front is beneficial as it lays out a providers SLAs and lets you know exactly how the services will be deployed. On the other hand, the pay as you go model allows you to reduce costs as your payments will be based on a combination of storage, bandwidth, RAM, and compute costs among other things. The less you use, the less you pay.How Does it Work?Cloud computing is the engine that propels DRaaS by allowing for the hosting of virtual or physical servers, which are used to provide failovers for an organizations data. There are 3 primary steps are involved in any disaster recovery solution: Replication, failover, and failback.ReplicationReplication involves taking data thats housed on a clients primary network, duplicating it, and sending it to the clients DRaaS provider who then hosts the environment remotely. Replication is utilized for both physical and virtual servers since most organizations utilizes infrastructure which is a hybrid of both. Replication is a continuous process. As data is added or changed, it is essential for a disaster recovery solution to allow for regular data snapshots, so that no new data is lost in the event of an unforeseen emergency event.FailoverThis is where a clients access is moved to a secondary site hosted by the disaster recovery provider. In the event of a catastrophe, this allows the provider to quickly spin up data and instances. Speed is king when it comes to DRaaS solutions. Any downtime can throw a wrench in business-critical tasks, costing organizations time and money.FailbackThis is where data moves from the disaster recovery provider back to the clients primary site. Its important to begin the replication process as soon as failback is complete in order to ensure continuous protection.Where Can You Get DRaaS Solutions?As with most purchases, before making a final decision you want to make sure to browse as many options as possible in order to find the solution that fits your organizations unique needs. Below is a brief summary of several providers who have decades of experience offering DRaaS solutions to enterprise businesses.Aptum TechnologiesAptum offers custom disaster recovery solutions that minimize business impact and ensure service levels are maintained. They take the time to create a custom disaster recovery runbook specific to your IT environment. What distinguishes them from other IT providers is their depth of expertise, quality of support, and service focused attention to detail.EquinixOperating in 50+ markets across 5 continents, Equinix is no stranger to enterprise scale solutions. This includes their disaster recovery solution which assists clients with creating a comprehensive risk management strategy in order to maximize business continuity on the face of an emergency. Their long history of market leadership make them an appealing option for organizations looking to modernize their disaster recovery approach.INAPINAP is a global provider of performance driven IT offerings specializing in hybrid infrastructure solutions. Their combination of experience and expertise in hybrid environments make them a logical choice for businesses of any size. Powered by Veam and Zerto, INAPs DRaaS solution is flexible enough to meet a wide array of recovery objectives and budgets without sacrificing anything essential.UnitedLayerWith more than 18 years of experience and a pool of experts in leading technologies, UnitedLayer enables enterprises, SMBs, government agencies, and start-ups to reap the maximum benefits of their multicloud investments. Their disaster recovery solution helps clients anticipate, prepare, and mitigate emergencies with a highly customizable, fully managed and secure solution. Their DRaaS offering comes with proprietary industry leading security technology to keep you valuable data safe and secure no matter what.
20 Jul 2021
Examining the State of Edge Computing in 2021
What is Edge Computing?Edge Computing is a term whose meaning depends on the person youre asking. For some, edge computing means the rapid deployment of IoT solutions. For others, it means a home base for business-critical data to be processed for connecting to the cloud. One of the most appealing aspects of edge computing is the fact that it constantly shifts and changes shape to accommodate the needs of each particular business.The last few years have shown that edge computing is beginning to gain steam. Enterprise businesses are starting to see the value in splitting their data loads between carrier hotels and remote locations by placing the larger compute footprint in data centers that offer greater scalability. The increased desire for edge computing has led to a boom in the data center construction marketTo keep things simple, for the purposes of this article well refer to edge computing as the practice of bringing computation and data storage closer to the devices that will be utilizing them. Anything that generates massive amounts of data and needs to analyze that data in real time would be a strong candidate to utilize edge computing solutions. Some examples of this would be self-driving cars, augmented reality, or wearable devices that measure a users biometrics.This is a radical shift from past standards of relying on a central location that may be very far away for your users. Having data physically closer to your users allows them to access it faster, enhancing their experience on your platform.The Devil is in the DetailsThe underlying goal of edge computing is to reduce latency or the time it takes for an application to execute a command. These are goals that IT departments across business sectors share, so why hasnt edge computing adoption taken off like a rocket? Before it can become a mainstream solution that the majority of enterprises deploy, there are several kinks that need to be ironed out.The first issue that needs to be addressed is the ability to scale. Some edge deployments utilize hundreds of thousands of nodes and clusters that have to be managed in extremely remote locations. In some instances, these rural locations have little to no IT support staff on-site. Ideally, you would want a centralized way to manage and deploy these types of solutions or else it would be too costly and complicated for many organizations.Customization and consistency are two other issues that frequently pop up with edge deployments that need to be accounted for. Edge computing solutions vary so much from client to client that its very difficult for a provider to build out an edge stack. This places the burden on customers to figure out a way to ensure that they have interoperability between multiple vendor hardware and software environments. As far as consistency is concerned, its extremely difficult to manage all of these deployments if they dont share a single control panel. Ideally, youd want an environment where you develop an application once and deploy it everywhere its needed without any additional changes.5G and Edge Computing5G is a technology that has the ability to drive edge computing to new heights. The nature of 5G makes edge computing more critical to providers than ever before. Edge Computing and 5G are technologies that go hand in hand, each complementing the other. 5G technology boosts speeds up to ten times faster compared to 4G and edge computing assists with reducing latency by bringing compute closer to the end user. For organizations looking for the fastest speeds and lowest latency, the marriage of these two technologies is a match made in heaven.5G and edge computing are two technologies that will be forced to develop alongside one another in the years to come. The main reason revolves around the latency targets that have been set for 5G deployments. Improvements to just the radio interface alone will not accomplish these lofty goals. Edge computing will need to be utilized in order to hit the lofty benchmarks that have been set.As more carriers begin to deploy 5G networks, edge compute infrastructure will be able to offer faster real time processing for devices like mobile phones and IoT devices, as opposed to solely processing data in the cloud. Improvements to one solution will lead to streamlined processes with the other.The Bleeding EdgeWhat does the future hold for edge computing? Healthcare and enterprise scale manufacturing are two business verticals where edge computing is currently undergoing a rapid evolution.For companies that manufacture massive quantities of products and need to warehouse them, the use of autonomous robotics is growing fast. Solutions of that nature require large amounts of data that need to be recorded and analyzed in real time, a task perfectly suited for edge computing. The solutions that exist for these kinds of problems are still in the early stages. There will be hiccups along the way but once these processes become more well defined, well see a plethora of edge computing deployments that manage the automation of warehouses and processing plants.As the healthcare industry becomes more digitally oriented the need for edge computing will explode. A modern healthcare setting consists of countless wireless devices that are constantly monitoring and relaying data back to clinicians. Connecting all of those devices to one network and getting information to users quickly is exactly the kind of problem that edge computing is designed to solve. As we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic, the prevalence of telehealth is on the rise and will only become more popular in the coming years. The need for edge computing within the healthcare sector will only grow as the new normal for clinicians will involve a hybrid approach that combines on-site and virtual appointments.As of now, the future of edge computing is wide open. The Edge will soon converge with massive amounts of data thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning, allowing companies to find actionable insights in the large amounts of data that they house. Once Edge computing solutions become more streamlined applications will be able to be placed seamlessly with consistency and ease.
29 Jun 2021
The State of Data Center Commissioning in 2021
One of the defining features of the Global data center construction market over the last few years has been the prevalence of mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures. The demand for new data centers is so high that its leading to collaboration on a scale the industry has never seen before, all in an attempt for providers to expand their reach and portfolio of solutions. In this article well explore the most popular markets for new data center builds, the new approaches providers are taking to construction, and what the future holds.Hottest U.S. MarketsAshburn, VirginiaAshburn has long been a hot data center market due to the low cost of electricity in the region, the tax cuts and incentives that are offered to data center operators in the region, and the proximity to vital institutions in Washington DC. Loudoun county, where Ashburn is located, has estimated that upwards of 70% of the worlds internet traffic is routed through data centers in the county, making it the most sought after region for colocation in the US. This region will continue to be a highly desired location in the years to come.Dallas, TexasDallas is a major communications hub for the Southern United States, with a high concentration of telecommunications companies. As a result, North Texas experienced the third most data center leasing activity in 2020. Many businesses are also migrating their headquarters and satellite offices to Texas to take advantage of tax incentives. The continued pipeline of businesses setting up shop will ensure that the colocation needs in the Dallas area will continue to increase along with construction of new facilities to meet demand.Phoenix, ArizonaDemand in the Phoenix market originally stemmed from many companies viewing Phoenix as a preferred disaster recovery destination. However, there are several factors that have recently helped to make Phoenix one of the next up and coming markets in the U.S. Compared to other U.S. Markets, Phoenix is very competitive when it comes to colocation rates. The accessibility of renewable energy in the southwest U.S. means that power costs are significantly lower than other markets as well. These benefits are what have led many organizations to look outside of California for their West Coast workloads, with Phoenix being one of the top destinations.Re-thinking Data Center Design and ConstructionThe data center industry in no stranger to growth. The market is constantly getting larger, the need for power is skyrocketing, and the valuations of data centers and the providers that operate them are reaching unforeseen heights. As a result, the process of building massive facilities has become a well-defined process within the industry. However, while organizations know how to get these buildings up and running, the focus is now shifting to driving down costs and time during new builds. In order to do this companies must change how they design and build data centers, both large and small.Traditionally, every data center is designed and built slightly different in order to take advantage of the particular plot of land and location. Now, many companies are moving toward a standardized, modular approach that focuses the majority of resources on the design stage. Also referred to as the Ikea Strategy, this method creates a work package defining all the materials and scope of work. This includes job hours, crew size, and individual component costs. Everything is pre-defined and scalable so that costs and timeframes are well known ahead of time.The modular approach offers many cost saving benefits and flexibility in scheduling that didnt previously exist. Having all stakeholders present in the extensive designing stage increases communication and collaboration. This reduces the likelihood of external factors leading to time delays. Problems such as delivery issues and equipment damage can be accounted for in advance so that solutions are pre-defined and budgeted for. Allowing for smaller work packages with your construction team also makes the work easier, repeatable, and quicker to complete.The modular approach has helped companies like Google bring their new data center construction timeframes down from 22 months to 18 months. Their goal is to ultimately get their processes so well defined that new projects complete within the 12-month range. Increasing the speed to market for new data center is essential for businesses to take advantage of the shifting winds of the global data center market.Looking AheadNew data centers will remain a hot commodity as Edge data center investments will skyrocket to accommodate 5G rollouts. Weve already seen how 5G network deployment has led to an increased demand in high bandwidth internet in data centers worldwide. Edge data centers will create a decentralized data center model where hyperscale facilities will connect multiple edge data centers. Providers will continue to fill in the gaps where new data centers are needed in order to cut down on latency.In order to remain competitive, data center providers are constantly looking for ways to improve energy efficiency in their facilities. Customer demand for renewable energy is also on the rise as studies have shown that the data center industry consumes around 1% of the total global power supply. Organizations have started embracing renewable energy solutions due to a mix of corporate initiatives and government mandates. As the procurement of renewable energy becomes cheaper and more accessible within the industry new data center builds will have less overhead, leading to another boom in the market.Few industries are as sensitive to tax policies and incentives as the data center market. Not only does a data center location need to be safe from natural disaster and have access to cheap power, there also has to be an competitive tax structure available for the provider. In the last year, many states and municipalities have begun recognizing the value of luring data center providers to their land and have begun offering tax breaks to organizations. For example, Arizona offers data center operators an exemption from the Transaction Privilege Tax and Use Tax exemptions at the state, county, and local levels. These incentives are one of the factors that have led to Arizona being one of the most in demand locations for new data center builds. As more states recognize and embrace the digital transformation more incentives like these will become available which will lead to new high demand markets.
24 Jun 2021
Marketplace Adoption in the Data Center Sector
In the past, the data center industry has shown a reluctance to change how potential clients interact with service providers. The complexity of the solutions required always meant that additional conversations had to happen in order to make sure deployment went smoothly. However, were starting to see some of these old barriers fall as data center providers see the value in transparent online platforms. In this article, well explore the conditions that led to this trend and what the future holds.The Rise of Omnichannel MarketingOmnichannel marketing is an approach that provides customers with an integrated and seamless experience with your organization regardless of how they come to you. Ideally, you want to have as many avenues as possible for customers to obtain their desired services while ensuring that every potential client has a consistent and intuitive experience. Your branding, messaging, and touchpoints to clients, both in person and online, should all be in synch with one another.Whether theyre making purchases online, meeting with sales team members at your headquarters, or simply emailing your support team, the processes and business philosophy that underpins each of these interactions should mirror and complement one another. This allows for a consistent brand experience with all of your potential clients. A sound omnichannel marketing strategy works to meet clients where theyre at in the decision-making process, allowing users to engage with your brand on their own terms and have a better overall experience.The adoption of online marketplaces utilizing an omnichannel approach has grown significantly in recent years. The last few years have shown us that the data center industry is starting to warm to the idea of online marketplaces. Gone are the days where obtaining pricing from a provider would take multiple days and several conversations. The advantages of utilizing the marketplace model is clearer now than they ever have been and the demand to create your own or join an existing one is only going to increase in the coming years.The omnichannel approach to branding has been around for as long as businesses have existed but has become something of a buzzword in marketing circles recently. This is due to the proliferation of online platforms in business verticals that havent traditionally utilized them. In particular, the IT industry has seen an influx of these kinds of services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shuttering locations forced many companies to get creative with how they could reach their potential clients. Theres an old saying, Necessity is the mother of all action. We saw that play in out in 2020 with the rapid adoption of online selling platforms within the wider data center industry.The COVID Game ChangerPrior to 2020, data center operators had a typical way of doing business. For most providers this meant having a sales team that was accustomed to building client relationships with on-site meetings and closing opportunities in person with data center tours. In the early stages of lockdown, when businesses had to close locations and greatly minimize staff interactions for the sake of public health, many providers found themselves in a conundrum. How can they continue business as usual without face-to-face interactions with clients? This led many organizations to lean into the idea of a digital marketplace for their services.Businesses are typically faced with two options when it comes to marketplace adoption. The first option is to create their own business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-customer (B2C) marketplace. This would provide the greatest degree of control over how you present your offerings and which audiences you target. However, this option can be both costly and time consuming.The second option is for a company to place their catalogue of offerings into an existing platform so that they can reach new audiences and create new revenue streams. The benefits of using an existing marketplace are twofold: the costs of creating the platform would have already been incurred by another company and you get to benefit from the existing branding and traffic that already exists for that platform.The datacenters.com marketplace was created in 2011 with these benefits in mind. To provide a highly trafficked, easy to use platform where data center providers and companies in need of their services can quickly get connected. Its easy to search and compare hundreds of providers and thousands of facilities globally. A win for both organizations that want to advertise their services and companies that need to purchase them.B2B Marketplace OverviewA B2B online marketplace is an online platform where enterprise companies purchase and sell goods. These platforms typically comprised of 3 types of stakeholders: buyers, sellers, and suppliers. The buyers are other businesses seeking specific services, colocation or cloud solutions for example. Sellers are internal sales teams that work to qualify buyers and guide them from a quote to order installation. Suppliers are the companies actually providing the services.There are many examples of business-to-client (B2C) marketplaces that have become so successful theyve seemingly become a part of our daily lives. Amazon and WayFair are some of the largest examples. As the digital transformation continues, well see an increase of adoption of the B2B marketplace model, similar to the adoption weve already seen in the B2C model.IT companies, medical providers, and even hospital systems are starting to realize the unique opportunity of utilizing online marketplaces to bridge the gap between complex services and where potential clients are in the buying process. According to recent studies, B2B online marketplaces will account for 30% of all worldwide online sales by the year 2024.A well-run marketplace platform is easy to navigate from a users perspective and intelligently aggregates providers for specific services or business verticals. Obtaining quotes should be as transparent as possible so that clients have a good sense of what services would cost them prior to them getting in touch with a provider. This is the big draw of online platforms and given the proliferation of B2C platforms, most people are already accustomed to purchasing goods and services in this manner.The ordering process should be just as simple as requesting a quote and should flow directly from the client to the business. A well designed B2B selling platform should operate much like a good dating site, where clients are only ever connected to providers that offer exactly what theyre looking for.The Future of the B2B MarketplaceWere already well on our way to online marketplaces being the primary means by which people purchase good and services. The COVID-19 pandemic only served to increase the rate in which new business verticals adopted online marketplaces. In the coming years, the digital marketplace will be the default selling option for most companies regardless of the business theyre in.B2B buyers are already used to utilizing B2C platforms in their daily lives. These preferences are beginning to bleed into the workplace setting and dictating business strategies. Soon, there will be an entire generation of C level employees who will have spent their entire lives primarily making purchases in online marketplaces. Its only natural that these habits and preferences will be reflected in the decisions they make for their respective organizations.In addition to personal preferences, automation and the ability to directly connect buyers and sellers creates massive operational efficiencies for companies. Automating the processes that provide lead generation and eliminating unnecessary or time-consuming processes will allow businesses to have their employees spend their time on more important tasks. In addition to ease of use, online platforms save money for companies over the long run and greatly reduces the strain on your people resources.The digital transformation is here to stay and will only accelerate over time. The only question left is, how well is your company positioned to take advantage of it?