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Ideal Data Center Partner: Myth or Reality?

The importance of Data Centers continues to increase as more businesses and individuals rely on them for data storage, processing, and access. According to a report by Statista, the global market for data centers is expected to surpass $251 billion by 2025, and global data creation is projected to grow to more than 180 zettabytes (one zettabyte is equal to a trillion gigabytes). As of January 2022, 4.95 billion people were using social platforms. That is approximately 62.5% of the global population.

In India, data centers have been playing a crucial role in the country's economic growth as they enable the digital transformation of businesses and industries. The India Brand Equity Foundation predicts that the Indian Data Center industry will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22% between 2021 and 2025, driven by the rising adoption of cloud computing, big data analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT). The report also indicates that the Indian data center market is projected to reach $4.5 billion by 2025.

This is supported by the fact that, in 2022, there were 5 billion unique mobile internet users, indicating that over 60% of the global internet population uses a mobile device to access the internet. In 2022, the average monthly data consumption per user in India reached 19.5GB; by 2027, this is expected to increase to approximately 50 GB per month.

Moreover, data centers have played a crucial role in sustaining the digital infrastructure that has allowed numerous businesses to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. The increased demand for online services such as e-commerce, video conferencing, and online education has brought to light the significance of data centers in maintaining business continuity.

A Data Center must strategically align its offerings to showcase the two essential pillars of success: Reliability and Scalability. The ideal Data Center today is ready to handle the current prerequisites in today's ever-changing technology world and is always ready to scale its offerings in tandem with business growth.

Let's look at a few crucial factors through the lens of reliability and scalability to get a more rounded understanding of what the best Data Centers around the world are doing to get the perfect picture.

Factor #1 Location & Space

The location of a Data Center is a critical determinant of the space it can offer its clients. It must consider potential risks, such as natural disasters, extreme weather conditions, and physical attacks. It must also provide ample opportunities for scaling up in terms of space as the Data Center and its clients' needs keep changing over time.

Migration to Tier II and Tier III cities presents a unique opportunity for both customers and providers to leverage the benefits of these regions, such as lower real estate prices and reduced power costs. Additionally, the proximity to a growing digital user community can result in improved network latency and better data serviceability.

Finally, the access to a large pool of local technical talent can help generate local employment and make it lucrative for local talents who have migrated out to reverse pollinate.

Factor #2 Physical Security

Ensuring physical security at a Data Center is just as important as implementing cybersecurity defense protocols. A comprehensive security strategy must include 24/7 surveillance, multi-layered access control, and reinforced construction to ensure only authorized individuals can access stored data.

Overlooking any aspect of physical security can result in a data breach. According to a recent study, physical security compromises actually account for 10% of malicious breaches. Hence, multi-level access security and multiple levels of redundancy are essential for safeguarding data within a Data Center. A layered security approach, incorporating Perimeter Security, Facility Security, Computer Room Access Security, and Cabinet Security, is paramount for ensuring the safety of the stored data.

The most secure Data Centers have strict access controls, allowing only individuals with the highest level of clearance to access the cabinet. Smart cards, intrusion detection systems, CCTV systems, and security guards are crucial to safeguarding data from unauthorized access.

Factor #3 Network Redundancy

Uptime is a key consideration when evaluating a Data Center, as it is essential for maintaining business continuity in the event of mechanical or software failures. According to a yearly survey by the ITIC, 98% of businesses estimate that 1 hour of downtime could cost them more than $100,000. The most reliable Data Centers anticipate and handle malfunctions, mistakes, or glitches, and have robust redundancy measures to ensure that operations will not be interrupted by unexpected technical issues.

Factor #4 Disaster Recovery Plan

By their very nature, Disasters are beyond the control of Data Centers and their clients. According to a study by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States, causing more than $2 billion in damages annually. An optimally designed Data Center should regularly update security and risk management protocols, keep clients informed, and have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan to quickly resume business operations in the event of unexpected events.

To accomplish this, Data Centers must consider the potential impact of compromised data on their clients and tailor their recovery plans accordingly, considering each client's specific enterprise requirements. They must also set clear Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) for each client. The most reputable Data Centers in the world employ experts to constantly plan and test various disaster recovery and risk mitigation scenarios, ensuring that they are prepared for any eventuality.

Factor #5 Power Usage & Cooling

A study by the Uptime Institute found that power-related problems, such as power outages or equipment failure, are to blame for almost 60% of data center outages. Hence, when it comes to ensuring the reliability and stability of your data, transparency in a Data Center's approach towards power, cooling, and refrigeration is crucial. The average data center PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) is around 1.7, meaning that for every watt of power used by IT equipment, an additional 0.7 watts are used for cooling, lighting, and other support systems.

A Data Center that is transparent and forthcoming about its infrastructure and systems used in the whitespace strongly indicates its confidence in its operations and commitment to perfection. The best Data Centers prioritize the well-being of their staff and their clients' engineers and business operations by addressing critical factors such as noise pollution, maintenance, plumbing, health, and hygiene. Businesses can feel secure knowing their data is in the safest possible hands by selecting a data center that prioritizes the welfare of all stakeholders and is transparent in its approach.

Factor #6 Decentralization

Decentralization is a key driver of business growth, allowing businesses to scale and adapt to changing demands with unprecedented flexibility. According to a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), decentralized data centers can improve data security and privacy by distributing data across multiple locations, reducing the risk of data breaches and cyberattacks.

An ideal Data Center will help businesses prepare for the future of web applications by providing a cloud adoption strategy that can revolutionize their operations.

One of the most significant benefits of decentralization is the ability to rapidly deploy more infrastructure to accommodate sudden spikes in demand, enabling scalability on a level previously unattainable.

Decentralization is a rapidly evolving field and the Data Center you choose should be equipped with the latest innovations and advancements to stay ahead of the curve and capitalize on the opportunities presented by this technology.

Factor #7 Pricing

A Data Center that is ahead of the curve understands the business landscape and takes proactive measures to mitigate fluctuations in utility prices. This includes utilizing energy-efficient practices and equipment, taking advantage of renewable energy sources, using modular or scalable designs, performing proactive maintenance and monitoring, using predictive maintenance and monitoring tools, and partnering with a data center provider that offers flexible pricing models and contract terms. These strategies can help businesses optimize their data center operations, reduce expenses, and position themselves for growth and profitability in an ever-changing business landscape.

Factor #8 Exploring Sustainable Solutions

Data centers are an important part of the modern business landscape, and it is important to improve their efficiency and reduce their environmental impact. Green infrastructure solutions such as energy-efficient technologies, renewable energy sources, efficient cooling systems, power management techniques, and more can be implemented to achieve these goals.

According to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), data centers can reduce their carbon footprint by using renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and hydro power, and by implementing energy-efficient practices, such as using outside air cooling and implementing advanced energy management systems.

Exploring options such as environmental certifications and carbon offsetting can help align data center operations with sustainability goals, leading to cost savings and improved performance. It is important to consider all options to find the best fit for your organization.

In conclusion, the global data center market is expected to grow at an impressive rate in the coming years due to the increasing demand for data storage, processing, and access. Reliability and scalability are the two essential pillars of success for any data center, and it is important to align their offerings strategically to meet the needs of businesses and individuals.

Location is also a crucial factor to consider when evaluating a data center, as it must be safe from natural disasters, extreme weather conditions, and physical attacks. Tier II and III migration can also help reduce costs while maintaining performance and reliability. Data centers can also reduce their carbon footprint by adopting more energy-efficient technologies and practices. These factors will become even more critical for the success of data centers in the future.