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How to Find the Right Data Center Partner for Your Industry

Solutions Review’s Contributed Content Series is a collection of contributed articles written by thought leaders in enterprise technology. In this feature, Element Critical CEO Ken Parent offers advice for how to find the right data center partner for your industry.

The demand for data center network services has risen significantly due to an increased need for businesses and public institutions worldwide that heavily depend on digital infrastructures. One estimate valued the global data center transformation market size at USD 7.8 billion in 2021 and forecast it expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.5 percent from 2022 to 2030. This surge in demand is a result of various enterprises operating in multiple industries requiring reliable data center services.

Before we start, it’s important to take a peek back at how global data center transformation has, well, transformed, over the years. In the mid 2010’s, digital transformation became a catch-all term for any sort of technology modernization project that was able to take place thanks in large part to cloud computing. This included applications that previously could only be on-premises applications or were cumbersome capital investments, such as data and analytics stacks and digital commerce. To boot, some of these were also nearly obsolete when the installation was completed.

Cloud computing opened a door for these services to be installed in days, weeks, or months instead of years. However, these organizations also needed to transform how they consumed IT in order to take advantage of those benefits. Fast-forward to today and virtually any type of application can also be consumed in the cloud. However, there are some industries that are more heavily regulated than others (e.g., healthcare, legal, finance, etc.), so it’s important that organizations work with data center providers who know about their specific industry and its requirements, and who can provide the customizable IT architecture to keep data secure. At a minimum, the provider should give guidance in future-proofing their IT infrastructure transformations to prevent them from becoming obsolete.

So, what else should IT leaders consider when evaluating a data center partner to support the digital transformation of their company?

Download Link to Data Storage Buyer's Guide

Take Stock of Your Requirements

Finding the right data center to support an enterprise’s digital transformation requires that IT leaders think through what their digital transformation goals are. Those goals can be complex or as simple as migrating workloads or cloud storage. Colocation providers should tout their abilities regarding high-speed connectivity, interconnectivity, power and data center redundancy, physical security, and high levels of uptime.

After minimum requirements and basic functionality are established, ensure that the provider is also knowledgeable about any technology mandates related to your specific industry.

For instance, in the legal industry, e-discovery is a set of technologies that automate the parsing of digital documents during the discovery phase leading up to a trial. Legal technologies have been proven to save legal teams up to 23 percent of time, but without the right data center partner, those savings can easily be nullified.

Representing a landscape shift in healthcare, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the Data Modernization Initiative (DMI) in 2020, aiming to move away from siloed and brittle public health data systems to connected, resilient, adaptable, and sustainable ‘response-ready’ systems within the healthcare industry.

The pandemic created an urgent need for digital transformation for educators. IT leaders quickly learned that having reliable, scalable, and secure platforms through a single platform can be a game changer, saving time and money while pushing transformation forward to the benefit of students and educators.

As you can see, even if an industry doesn’t have a stringent set of technology policies, it’s still important to look for a provider that understands – and can deliver – what you need.

Building for Success for Today and Tomorrow

Data centers give IT leaders the ability to scale workloads quickly and efficiently. The right colocation provider should be discussing with you how scalable their systems are, whether that means the ability to ramp up more servers rapidly during a high-traffic event and ensuring the network can continue delivering the traffic as rapidly as possible or accommodating company growth or rapidly increasing high-density compute needs.

The right provider should also be readily available to assist with the colocation service, from onboarding to support. While an enterprise may already have all their boxes checked before beginning the process, it never hurts if a provider can also advise IT leaders on matters such as disaster recovery/business recovery, network operations center (NOC) management, or monitoring, as just a few examples.

The Importance of Interconnectivity

Data centers are connectivity hubs. They offer access to multiple service providers and internet exchanges. IT leaders need to decide what interconnectivity they need to have with customers, partners, and other data centers when choosing a colocation provider.

Colocating infrastructure allows IT leaders to connect directly to other cloud service providers and critical IT services. That gives them the ability to create hybrid cloud environments that facilitate data transfers between various systems and applications at the fastest data transfer rates possible.

Failing to architect connectivity needs properly can have several consequences, ranging from frustrated users to expensive, custom-built workarounds to be able to achieve interconnectivity needs. For instance, a school district that serves both urban and rural communities will require interconnectivity between modern internet service providers (ISPs) in the city as well as the

ones serving its rural population. That could turn into a costly side-step after considering maintenance and upgrades, for instance.

The Right Partner for Your Digital Transformation

The meteoric rise of AI and its myriad business implications in just the last six months is now also accelerating the need for businesses to carefully think through digital transformations. Digital transformations are exactly that – transformations. There’s a starting point, but there’s rarely an endpoint and the rate of velocity of the transformation changes from enterprise to enterprise, and industry to industry.

It is vital to work with a flexible provider, particularly when structuring contracts designed to cover evolving requirements for colocation and hybrid infrastructures. That’s why it’s imperative for IT leaders to find the right data center partner that can help them transform as rapidly – or slowly – as they need to so they can begin transforming tomorrow or over years, at the pace their business demands.

Download Link to Data Storage Buyer's Guide

Ken Parent
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