Data Centers: 2017 Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities for Business

Author: Julie Foster - MarCom/Monday, February 6, 2017/Categories: Data Services

Darren Peterson, Vice President of Commercial Product Marketing for Consolidated Communications, recently participated in a panel discussion regarding data centers for the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.  The article below is an excerpt from that discussion.

What do we see as new trends in data centers?

When we talk about the co-location space, for us the trend across about 15 markets is that a data center is one of the few products that increases in value. Demand is outpacing supply. Even though outside forces such as cloud are putting some stress on the market, we’re actually seeing an increase in demand.

What are the pressures that business leaders face in their choices about cloud, co-location and hybrid infrastructure?

Not only do they have to think about what to buy, but also what consumption model. Cloud leads us to consume on demand or as needed. Co-location looks a little different from that, and a premise-based environment is different again. So there are a lot of choices, which is good for the end customer, but it does lead to some confusion. That’s partially because the model of consumption-based is a little different for companies. You also see who’s consuming the technologies is different, so it’s not always the technology user; sometimes it’s a business user and you see those trends collide. This adds another bucket: premise-based, in addition to hosted or co-location and cloud, and we don’t see that as evolutionary. Right now, the bulk of people are moving through premise-based to hosted and staying there, and some are moving on to cloud. We don’t see it as one-directional, but as moving back and forth. As technology moves closer to the edge, we’re going to see more of that back-and-forth.

What types of businesses typically invest in data centers today?

Enterprise customers tend to be more sophisticated buyers, but we’re also spending time with mid-market or even small businesses, and those customers are leveraging technology in ways they haven’t before. So losing data and having their systems down is more and more impactful. When I think about how that works, and where those customers take us, I actually look at those businesses as buyers. Those IT resources are typically generalists, so they can’t go deep. So you want to look at outside expertise, so you don’t need to worry about space or power or cooling. And again, that’s a benefit of co-location.

What challenges do you see for data centers in the future?

When I think about the future of data centers, one ongoing issue is the trend from a budget standpoint. Technology teams and organizations within companies are continually pressed to do more with less. So the best way to scale that and leverage that is to find third-party resources to take on that expertise and some of that risk — and if you can do it in a consumption-based model, that’s even better. Second, if you look at what the big industry firms, not just data centers: IP traffic from 2016 to 2020 is going to double across the globe. So the need to have data centers closer to where users are will continue. And the need to process and manipulate and interpret the data moves potentially out of the data center, so that’s a key area to communicate with. So I think the growth in data centers continues to expand. It’s one of the few products we see that potentially grows in value, and we have no reason to expect that to change anytime soon.

Why should businesses choose CCI over other data center providers?

Because many of our locations are in a central part of the country, we tend to be lower risk when you think about things like earthquakes and hurricanes, and you can take it one step further and talk about cooling costs and that benefit, as well. We’re bullish on this market. We think that there’s good benefit here and that it’s going to continue to grow. If you look at the past three to five years, the number of data center facilities has expanded substantially. We’re not seeing that erode the supply, and in fact the demand continues to grow.

About Darren Peterson

Darren Peterson has served as vice president of commercial product marketing at Consolidated Communications for the past two years. In this role, he created a vision for the company’s cloud services and led the teams responsible for defining, creating, launching and marketing these services across the CCI footprint. Peterson’s team also manages a portfolio of voice, data, and managed and hosted services, which includes data center offerings. His previous roles within telecom and technology include time as a vice president of product marketing, client services manager, sales engineer, product marketing manager and director of operations. He has a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering.


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