BY DAN KURTZ, Director, Business Development and Data Centers, LightEdge Solutions

“Trend” is often a buzzword you hear associated with the runway or at big auto shows where the newest and brightest is revealed. Fashion and automobiles aren’t the only things to have trends.

The same applies to data centers. Clients’ requests for this year will likely change with the new year. This happens as their technology needs change and they receive data requests from their own customers.


Here are the top five trends I’ve noticed based on the market and customer requests:

  1. Flexibility: Customers want what they want. Flexibility is at the top of that list. They want a contract that is flexible and doesn’t handcuff them. They also want to be able to pick and choose how they use a data center’s services, as well as the ability to change their physical footprint within the center as needed. If a customer wants to move from colocation to cloud services, the provider should be able to accommodate this.
  2. Compliance: Clients rely on their colocation facility to be regulatory-compliant and meet all legal requirements for confidentiality of information. This helps them meet their own compliancy standards for their industry. For example, clients who represent the financial and health care sectors must adhere to many federal regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as well as certified for the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), so their data are kept safe and confidential.
  3. Higher power density: As data storage equipment and other devices advance, they use more and more energy. In years past, customers wanted between 2 and 4 kilowatts of power for equipment. Now, it’s more like 6 to 9 kilowatts. The more power used, the more cooling needed for the facility. Customers’ footprint within the data center also is becoming dense. They may be using the same size physical space as they were a year ago, but today’s equipment is doing more and more, which is why it uses more power.
  4. Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM): Most customers want their facility to have a DCIM system, which monitors and alerts on data center infrastructure and environmental concerns. This information is vital to the availability of the equipment, and customers want it to be readily available. The facility’s entire infrastructure is monitored through the DCIM. When companies want to co-locate to a data center, they’ll ask about components of the DCIM to ensure the data center is proactively monitoring and managing those aspects of the center.

Connectivity: Data are everywhere. Through the Internet of Things and edge computing, more and more resources are producing data. Users want to have the option to move their data between their system and the data center, and vice versa. Customers will want to know details about the telecommunications providers within the facility and how quickly and efficiently they can move data. Some colocation companies are providing redundant connectivity through the carrier hotels within their facility and between each of its data centers, which allows them to back load or back haul data to ensure there is redundancy within the system and for each facility.

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