More Than Space and Power: Gartner Report Says It’s Time to Rethink Colocation

Jason Starr

Colocation has evolved into much more than simply space to put your IT and a place to plug it all in.

That’s a key point of a recent Gartner report, and it’s also a topic on which Equinix can claim major expertise, because we’ve been a primary driver of that change.

The report, which you can access from our home page, goes into detail about how networking – far from being an incidental part of colocation – is now a primary reason for it, and that can lead to business transformation. That’s something you might also hear from various Equinix customers, including:

1) Members of Equinix’s financial services ecosystem, which connects all the industry’s key players, from exchanges to data providers, buyers to sellers

2) Customers of Performance Hub, which allows companies to extend their IT networks into any one of our 100 global data centers and get closer to partners or end users

3) Members of Equinix Cloud Exchange, which enables businesses to directly and simultaneously connect to multiple cloud service providers in multiple ways and build exactly the cloud they need

Here are some selected excerpts from the Gartner report.

On the evolving view of colocation:

“The traditional view of colocation has been relegated to a discussion of space and power, with networking a necessary but often overlooked means of getting to and from the colocated assets. Evolving networking technology and new packaging of networking services are rapidly changing this view from a focus on space and power to a focus on networking, where colocation may be undertaken just to gain a presence in a networking center. In other words, colocation is a way to bring the enterprise to the network and its many options, as opposed to bringing the network or cloud to the enterprise.”

On Business Transformation:

“Connecting to colocation sites via Ethernet to gain performance at potentially lower cost brings the enterprise to the colocation center, enabling it to take better advantage of not only the compute and storage resources colocated, but the hosting, cloud, peering and network connectivity options accessed there.”

On Cloud-to-cloud connections:

“It is extremely likely that the future enterprise will be based on a multiple of cloud variants or providers, and directly connecting them much as networks are peered today will provide the glue for a new generation of applications. This allows the provisioning of cloud-to-cloud connections, for example direct connection of a SaaS application to a public IaaS implementation, or even IaaS to IaaS over fiber.”

On Ecosystem Peering:

“Ecosystem peering …. is the connection of enterprises to each other, often in the same vertical industry, usually via fiber cross-connect or high-speed switch. Peering facilitates the creation of new models by allowing enterprises to position themselves as partners or intermediaries offering some service or operation of value to its partners. The benefits of such peering are often derived from either very low latency, or network proximity and high bandwidth, for purposes of exchanging extremely large files.”

On deploying IT at multiple sites:

“While many colocation projects involve a single data center, significant benefits accrue from deploying two or more colocation centers and utilizing high-speed connectivity between them, which we call intercolocation access. This is particularly applicable in carrier-dense, carrier-neutral facilities, where the multitude of carrier types and areas served increase the options exponentially.”

The bottom line:

“These models of consolidated access, exchange point switching, and building of a mesh that is based on competitive interconnections offer the enterprise the same architectural and technical approaches and benefits already employed by cloud providers, content providers, and the carriers themselves to reduce costs and latency while adding functionality and flexibility.”