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Location, location, location: colo at the edge

Amy Young

Amy Young

Sales Director at Custodian Data Centres
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Image credit: metamorworks / Shutterstock.com

Rapidly rising costs, transport congestion, slow innovation, and a lack of personalised services are all cited as reasons businesses are actively assessing how OOC (Out-of-City) data centre services could support their data and connectivity needs as they re-focus their enterprises post-pandemic.

Data centres are beginning to look to less centralised locations, due to the competitive landscape of existing data centre sites. Research from JLL highlights this in its latest report, ‘available land sites in key data centre markets have been limited due to competing industrial demand, power deployment constraints and supply chain issues for critical infrastructure.’

As the digital transformation across all industries expands, investment in data centre infrastructure continues. As reported by CBRE, 2021 was a record year across Europe with industry investment totalling €1 billion (£863 billion), with nearly three-quarters (70%) of these assets being located in the UK, with a significant percentage of this investment taking place outside of London.

The investments being made are driven by enterprises’ need to future-proof their data centre deployments. In addition, as commercial real estate in major cities continues to be in short supply, shifting their focus to out-of-city locations offers the expandability and flexibility businesses are looking for.

Fast access to data has always been a critical driver for all businesses. As digital services across all industries and sectors increasingly rely upon low-latency access to information, the need to move this access closer to the end-user resulted in the development of edge computing. With 5G, IoT, AI, and the expansion of digital twins, edge computing is a significant component all these technologies are built upon.

The future of colocation

A hybrid approach that mixes data centre services is increasingly moving away from large cities, with new edge computing services to deliver the flexible data networks enterprises need to support their customers and innovation programmes. From healthcare, to gaming and entertainment, every business sector is being transformed by changes in its approach to data management.

London, as the only reliable and secure option for data connectivity, is being challenged as businesses look to re-draw their digital transformation roadmaps in the wake of Covid-19. As technologies continue to mature and evolve, enterprises are looking further afield for more convenient, cost-effective, and flexible alternatives for their data centre needs.

These companies can see the imminent need for low-latency data services, to support their processes and the demanding needs of their customers and commercial partners. Increasingly their search is taking them out of the major cities to innovation hubs that have deployed data infrastructures to support client growth.

Data centre support in smaller metros is a clear trend shaping many businesses’ data strategies. From massive data users to smaller companies that need flexible data centre infrastructure support but also need this to grow with them in increments, data centres outside of large conurbations are structuring their services to support all these needs.

Few industries won’t be touched by the shift to the data centres built outside large cities, and the additional services edge computing can offer. From retailers, banking and e-sports, not to mention the burgeoning use of digital services by the health sector, the data ecosystem that is coming into focus for many enterprises means considering their current data infrastructures with fresh eyes.

Interconnecting these data services is the key to their success. Data centre service providers have a tradition of developing their services as their customer needs evolve. These needs will accelerate as technologies like AI and IoT move from burgeoning to essential mission-critical applications. The partnership between colocation services and edge networks delivers the high level of interconnected services needed.

Decentralised and hyperconnected

The data colocation marketplace continues to shift towards out-of-city centres, acting as satellite where data hubs can embrace the flexibility that edge computing services can offer. Without the traditional issue of city-based data centres, the growth of colocation services in the South of England is tangible evidence of this significant shift from the more traditional data centre sites.

The trinity of colocation data centres, hybrid cloud services and edge computing are creating a new approach to data management. The partnership of colocation data centres and the developing edge computing ecosystem offer the best of both worlds. The relocation of data centres offers clear advantages, including the space to scale, power availability, low-latency connectivity, and resiliency.

While the tech headlines may be dominated by the development of the so-called mega campus data centre developments, the most interesting and business-orientated changes are taking place on a smaller, more targeted scale.

Core out-of-city colocation data centre services anchor the needed data environment. The edge services offer the flexible additional interconnectedness that post-pandemic businesses need to thrive in this increasingly data-driven market.

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