Keeping your data center close to company headquarters can offer a sense of control and peace of mind. But in today’s environment, where customers expect consistent service from anywhere, control and peace of mind aren’t the only requirements to compete in today’s market.
In a recent Forrester Report, analyst Sophia Vargas writes that infrastructure and operations (I&O) organizations must begin considering augmenting their data center locations in order to deliver the best, lowest-latency customer service, rather than simply choosing what’s convenient for their employees. By distributing applications closer to your network “edge,” companies get closer to customers, reducing latency while boosting user experience and the prospects for growth.
In “Strategically Locate Your Next Data Center,” Vargas writes that selecting a new data center has become a strategic decision – rather than a tactical one – for several reasons, including improved network performance, the wide availability of data center space and the robust security offered by cloud and other external services. The report says organizations will likely need to deploy data centers in multiple locales to meet rising customer expectations. And it details five criteria for narrowing down potential locations: cost, availability of resources, regulation, risk, and proximity.
Here are several excerpts from the Forrester report:
The age of the customer: “Customers today expect consistent performance anytime, anywhere, on any device. With application latency dictated by a complex combination of distance between resources and network proximity to data services, superior service design and delivery starts with your physical footprint.” (see figure 2 below)
A new default setting?: “To compete in the age of the customer, I&O organizations need to break away from the traditional mindset of defaulting to a location that is convenient to their workforce and instead consider locations that will deliver the best service to their customers.”
A customer-centric service design: “At the end of the day, the business wants to create and deliver the best experience for end users and customers. From a technology sourcing perspective, this requires low-latency connections to end users and highly resilient infrastructure that can easily scale to meet dynamic demand. To meet these expectations, physical resources should be in network-dense locations and accessible to a bevy of potential partners to seamlessly extend your environment with cloud or managed services.”
Close connections: “…chances are high that you will need some form of hosted, managed, or cloud services in the near future. If you are evaluating colocation for your next facility, consider providers … (e.g. Equinix) … that offer direct-connect services into cloud and partner environments available in the same or nearby location.”
Here are specific ways Equinix helps the enterprise get closer to customers:
1) Global Reach: We operate more than 100 data centers on five continents. This platform enables us to offer organizations closer proximity to their customers and partners worldwide, enabling fast, high-performing connections. We can help our customers reach all of North America, Western Europe and the top markets in Asia and Brazil in less than 10 milliseconds.
2) Expansion: Ongoing expansion, to help our customers reach users anywhere, has been a historical commitment at Equinix. The $7 billion we’ve invested to build out Platform Equinix™ is evidence of that. So are the Big Five, the five new data centers we’re opening in early 2015 in London, Melbourne, New York, Toronto and Singapore. This investment spans four continents and increases our global footprint by more than 5%.
3) Interconnection: The 4,800+ companies we host inside Equinix include a variety of vibrant ecosystems (network, cloud, and financial services to name a few), and we interconnect enterprises with partners and customers inside all of them. That gives businesses direct, secure connections to a choice of best-in-class providers and the agility to quickly capitalize on new offerings and technologies.