May 8, 2017
Provision Data Services opened its first data center in February 2017 in downtown Dallas. Connect Media caught up with David Tordoff, Provision’s COO, to ask him about data center trends, and the company’s plans for Texas.
Q. How have data centers (the structure and their uses) changed over the past 10-15 years? What has prompted these changes?
A. The data center landscape has changed dramatically in the past decade, as business requirements have changed and the role of the data center provider has transformed. Although data flow is at the heart of a data center, supporting IT equipment infrastructure makes it all possible. Because infrastructure incurs costs in dollars, floor space, maintenance and other key components, keeping data center operations up-to-date is important for efficient operation.
Data centers permit an end-user client to utilize shared resources across multiple tenants. Energy is expensive and data centers are adept at delivering it efficiently to meet the high demand. Reliability is crucial and data centers now provide multi-source capabilities typically cost prohibitive to a stand-alone end-user.
Today, the physical buildings still stand, physical servers need to be managed, and resources must be controlled. Below are a few of the 2017 data center, hosting and managed services trends:
- Services will increase for end-users adopting hybrid IT and cloud environments. Enterprises are continuing along their outsourcing journey, but not all workloads will go to the cloud for at least the next several years. There is growing demand for managed services to help determine balancing workloads and what services should go where, to migrate to those solutions and manage the infrastructure as needed. The demand for multi-tenant data centers (MTDCs) and hosting will continue for both third party cloud providers and enterprises, with larger data centers providing their own cloud offerings as well.
- New kinds of products and technology will lead to new service offerings. Technology innovation in data center design, server virtualization and application deployment will further MTDC, hosting and cloud providers to offer new kinds of managed services and hybrid IT solutions to customers looking to get to market quickly and efficiently with new offerings.
- Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) will continue, as providers seek to gain scale, leverage and skill intensive offerings. The number of M&A deals in this sector is higher this year than in any year before 2008.
- The cloud’s ‘on-demand’ approach will expand to networking and colocation. This leads into large service providers that can absorb some fluctuations in usage; providers with newer, more modular equipment and designs, and those that have dynamic electrical feeds from different utilities and substations. Customers are getting to the cloud mentality: paying for what they use and accessing IT resources on demand. Providers that are able to offer a similar, by-the-drink approach for data center space and connectivity will have strong appeal for customers with variable workloads or unpredictable IT needs.
- Mobility and data growth will boost demand for datacenters at the network edge. Certain types of customers still want data center space close by, along with relatively high-touch local service. This, along with the boost in demand for data center space at the ‘edge’ of the internet – markets outside the top 20 globally – means there will be a strong growth for relatively small, local data centers.
Q. Why does the Dallas-Fort Worth area seem to be so popular for this type of real estate?
A. The growing concentration of corporate offices for Fortune 1000 companies has played a huge factor in attracting attention to DFW. This, coupled with a robust utility infrastructure, competitive electricity prices and an abundance of fiber from a large list of telecom carriers, make DFW a destination for data center users. In 2017, the DFW Data Center market will continue its extensive expansion and colocation leasing, with absorption estimated to reach 40 Megawatts, which would meet or exceed the record set in 2015.
Dallas-Fort Worth is considered the second largest data center market in the U.S., and the largest in Texas. The North Texas data center market originated in Dallas’ Central Business District due to the rich telecommunication infrastructure put in place by the original Internet companies. Several buildings in the area were retrofitted to accommodate data center users upgrading the infrastructure. Today, those facilities act as interconnection hubs for some of the largest consumers of data center space in the region, such as Provision’s data center located at 2020 Live Oak Street.
Q. What are Provision’s future plans for Texas?
A. Provision Data Services is positioning itself to be able to grow with the anticipated demand. The first steps include the interconnection of Provision’s primary data center at 2020 Live Oak with other data centers in which Provision has a presence. This initial interconnection permits clients to enjoy replication services at multiple sites, to insure uptime and data availability in the event of natural or other man-made disaster scenarios. Additionally, the interconnected facilities enable Provision to store backup data volumes, both logical and where required physical, at a secondary location greatly enhancing the safety and recoverability of data.
Phase two will be the development of additional-Provision owned facilities. These facilities will be developed on separate power grids, and incorporate alternative telecommunication paths to insure a higher operability index if a metropolitan area were broadly effected with extensive power outages or communication infrastructure damage.
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