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Can software bridge diverging data centre demand and supply investment cycles?

This article was originally published on Technology.Info.
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Stuart Sutton is Chief Executive Officer at co-location services company Infinity. His Data Centre EXPO education session explores the changing profile of design and build practices in IT solution considerations.

The impact of software defined architectures is reaching across to data centre design and build considerations. Co-location provider Infinity cites location as only one of 12 reasons customers choose its services. We caught up with Stuart Sutton to explore why this is so, and how this position is helping Infinity grow its business faster than its competitiors.

How have your customers priorities changed?

The digital economy has been evident in the changing shape of demand for data centres. An increasing number of customers, whether they are part of an IT department or not, are not looking for rack space for their data. Rather, they are more often thinking about what they want to achieve by buying data centre space. For example, they want the capacity to manage transactions, including flexibility to manage peaks and troughs in demand.

This shift in customer priorities has shaped our approach which has been very successful with the new breed of customers who want to have conversations about how to support their IT strategy, rather than about rack space.

What’s holding back faster transition to this new approach?

Part of the issue for many of data centre providers is that they started out as a building supplier. Buildings, of course, are designed to last for decades, and so is the infrastructure within them, such as air conditioning, and heating. While buildings and facilities need to be excellent to attract data centre customers, technology moves on much more quickly. Users and consumers of technology want to move with the times, and update their technology every few months. This has led to a disconnect in thinking between traditional data centre suppliers and their potential customers

How have you tackled this challenge?

One of the key ways in which we have made our offering more flexible is to move from being a company that built and ran data centres for customers who knew exactly what they wanted, effectively a bespoke data centre supplier, to providing a platform. The advantage is that customers can choose whether they want a high-specification, high-reliability platform, or something that is much more ‘cheap and cheerful’, but still fit for purpose. Effectively, we have created the data centre as a service, rather than as a building in which you put your IT.

As a consequence, we are able to serve a wide range of customers. We can talk directly to end customers as well as managed service providers (MSPs), and offer more flexibility in terms of managing peaks and troughs in demand. In the new world of nimble, cloud-based services, our customers have the flexibility to move between platforms and vendors, but still retain control of their systems and data within a coherent and logical digital strategy, and in a much more secure way.

What’s different about serving MSPs and software developers?

In July 2014, Advanced Computer Software Group(ACS) migrated operations from its five data centres to Infinity. This migration is part of ACS’s portfolio expansion to include cloud-based delivery of its software. Our platform approach has been particularly attractive for companies providing software as a service (SaaS) and managed cloud as they need both mission-critical reliability for end users and a more service-based environment for development cycles that can be more cost-effective. These SaaS companies also need the flexibility to take more space when they move customers from old legacy systems to new private or hybrid cloud based systems. We see this approach as a disruption to traditional data centre design and build processes.

Join Stuart on Wednesday 08th October at 12:20 in the Data Centre Design & Build theater.