The cloud continues to grow rapidly, with analyst firm Gartner projecting that the worldwide public cloud services market alone will grow 17% this year to a total of US$266.4 billion (SG$376.6B).

Alongside the rising prevalence of software-as-a-service (SaaS) such as Google Apps, Dropbox and Slack, next-generation solutions and enterprise deployments are also increasingly, if not predominantly, based on a cloud paradigm. There is hence no question that the cloud is fully in the mainstream today.

But what are some challenges that colocation service providers face in terms of outfitting their facilities to serve enterprise customers rolling out their private cloud deployments?

Providing a complete solution

One of the main challenges for colocation providers is typically around attracting new customers. Once the contract has been signed and serves migrated in, enterprises are unlikely to move out anytime soon. However, this does mean that providers can expect multiple rounds of vigorous assessments as enterprises look for best partner for their requirements.

How can colocation providers stand out from the crowd? This starts from ensuring that the basics such as power, cooling and physical security, are well taken care of. Support for a newer generation of hyperconverged (HCI) systems is important, too, given how HCI hardware typically demands a higher power density than standard servers and storage appliances. Certainly, the ability to reconfigure existing hardware to support higher power without installing new equipment can significantly speed up the provisioning process.

Besides, it must be noted that modern enterprise deployments are hardly standalone affairs. The growing importance of hybrid cloud deployments means that enterprises will require network connectivity to major cloud players. They might also require dark fibre connectivity to a backup data centre, either as a passive backup or active-active deployment. When it comes to services, protection against distributed denial of service (DDoS) is increasingly expected.

Get there with modular systems

While some of these capabilities such as DDoS protection falls within the “value-added service” realm, having the right infrastructure in place can make a world of difference for the other deliverables.

For example, this could range from the use of Schneider Electric modular CRAC (computer room air conditioning) units and Schneider Electric modular UPS (uninterruptible power supply). The ability to seamlessly upgrade these components can offer immense benefits to the flexibility of the colocation provider to address evolving requirements with minimum fuss.

Of course, the presence of modular systems alone will not suffice given the sophistication of today’s data centres. Modern data centres are controlled by DCIM systems to monitor a plethora of systems and enhance the reliability of the facility. More sophisticated systems can also integrate with the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors or utilise machine learning (ML) for heightened energy efficiency.

On its part, Schneider Electric is continually striving to help cloud and colocation service providers meet their business requirements in a variety of ways. This ranges from modular systems used to power and cool data centre, to helping enterprises roll out their hybrid cloud deployments.

Learn more about the role of the DCIM in data centre management here.

Article by Michael Kurniawan, Vice President, Secure Power Division, Singapore-Malaysia-Brunei, Schneider Electric