BLOG: Evolving the data centre value proposition in 2014

Kris Kumar

Given the recent shift in technology adoption towards the cloud, mobility and social networking as well as the popularity of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) at work, an increasing number of companies in Asia Pacific are outsourcing their technology infrastructure in order to simplify internal management and free up resources so they can focus on transforming their business. Interest in outsourcing to data centre providers grew significantly in Asia Pacific last year, with a recent industry report highlighting that the region is playing an increasingly important role in the data centre market, with current investment topping USD19.2 billion.

To help clients enable their data advantage and therefore succeed, data centre providers must monitor the evolving needs of their clients closely and ensure that they continue to innovate. Providing a state-of-the-art facility and service is one part but more should be done to raise the bar.  Data centre providers (and the industry as a whole) should emphasize on the following in 2014:

1. Reduce waste

Many companies still consider technology infrastructure investment as a cost centre, rather than an asset from which they can profit; however, business models such as these are becoming obsolete. Developing a new business case for technology investments and improving the quality of the end-user experience is something that all companies must do, regardless of the industry in which they operate.

One way to do this is to reduce waste; however, energy efficiency is only one aspect of this and focusing on energy efficiency alone can be counter-productive. When it comes to data centres, this fundamental change in outlook must span data centre design, construction and operations. It should even address how we build awareness of - and say 'no' to - practices that promote waste: cutting down on water or electricity use and becoming more efficient in tapping human resources and processes. Hard questions need to be asked. Do 50 people run your data centre instead of five? Are they over-maintaining it? How can this be managed to decrease waste?

2. Improve transparency

Increased operational transparency should also be a focus. Clients should be aware of exactly what they are paying for, such as what each component of the service costs and how much usage there has been per billing cycle. While there is a measure of transparency today, different data centre providers may report usage and bill for services differently.

3. Establish industry-wide benchmarks

There is a lot of hype about data centres today, and industry benchmarks can go a long way towards setting the right expectations. While many data centre providers, including Digital Realty, do maintain historical benchmarks, adopting industry-wide benchmarks will set clear guidelines about the relative quality of data centre solutions, allowing clients to make truly informed decisions, including about billing.

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