How Data Centres Became the Heart of the Digital Economy

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Ask any neutral data centre provider about their offering to customers and you are sure to get a few standard responses including security, SLA-backed reliability and scalability options. However in the past few years another item has been added to the list - the community offering. But explaining this community and why it should be a deciding factor for enterprises can best be illustrated by taking a look back.

In the early 2000s, neutral data centres were often called “carrier hotels” which functioned, as you can imagine, as aggregation points for connectivity providers to peer with each other. What happened next was unprecedented– the effect of cloud computing on the evolution of IT.

As the world raced toward global digitisation, bandwidth-hungry enterprises began to move their IT infrastructure into third party facilities, not only to find a provider who was able to offer scalability options but also to save costs by moving applications to the cloud. Enterprises took advantage of the ready supply of connectivity and cloud providers in these former carrier-hotels and enjoyed the choice and flexibility of options from providers.

A side effect of having multiple connectivity and providers within the same facility is that it became very easy for enterprise buyers of ICT services to switch between providers with little or no diminished performance for their end users. In turn a marketplace formed, encouraging competition from providers and lowering the cost of services.

The community within a modern data centre has been likened to a shopping mall where communities of companies locate alongside known brands that drive consumer footfall and where customers have access to a wide choice of services from different vendors.

As data centre operators have become aware of the value this adds for customers, many now organise networking events for customers, acting as a revenue facilitator for customers. 

US based TelX hosts Marketplace Live, an annual event showcasing thought leaders from its main verticals, for all its customers to attend and forge connections – as they put it –“both physical and virtual.” 

As the world continues on its path of digitisation, data centres are playing an ever-increasing role as facilitators of e-commerce.  Over the longer term, the cloud and carrier-neutral data centre model looks set to continue growing as more IT capabilities are delivered on an ‘as a service’ basis.
If the next step in the evolutionary path of neutral data centres is an IT-neutral data centre where the entire IT service stack will look to form into niche communities, then the data centre will continue to play a central role in the digital economy.