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Issue 17, August/September



Selling colocation space into the cloud vertical means colocation services providers will have to make some big changes, including how closely acquainted they are with apps, as Yevgeniy Sverdlik fi nds out

are Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) giants such as Amazon Web Services, or they offer Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) or Software- as-a-Service (SaaS), they will most likely be taking up commercial colocation space.


As a result, colocation providers are now having to provide more than just space, power and cooling. The way each colo does this, however, will be different. Some colocation providers will offer cloud tennants full-service packages

tailored to cloud requirements,

while some compnaies, like NTT, will take it a step further and become resellers of their tenants’ cloud services.


enviornments are forcing

colocation providers to drastically change their tactics. Colocation providers that understand the application of a cloud provider tenant, for example, can help the cloud companies set up the best network confi guration and win contracts on the back of this.

Darryl Brown, director of cloud, SaaS and media solutions at colocation provider Telx, says a cloud application could, for example, have specifi c latency requirements, meaning it has to be deployed within a specifi c radius of its targeted user base.

“A basic website, for example, could be in a remote location with a couple of internet pipes,” Brown says. “While a virtual desktop application

targeted to service enterprise

businesses within the Chicago market will probably need to be within 50 to 100 miles of the end users, with the option to connect privately into corporate backbones.”

It doesn’t stop there. Data center operators for NTT America, for example, are required to have a deep understanding of some of their cloud provider clients’ applications. In addition to colocation, NTT provides hosting and private and public cloud services. It also

he fast-growing market for cloud- based

services presents a large

opportunity for colocation services providers. Unless cloud providers

partners with some of its tenants to promote cloud offerings as part of its “ecosystem”. One example of this is OpSource, which has a public cloud service now integral to NTT’s overall offering.

Doug McMaster, VP for NTT America’s data center services says: “This means we need to consider integration, migration, federation, governance

and so on.” Every operator,

however, seems to have a different take on the degree to which they should drill down into apps, or look elsewhere for the Cloud.


Ian McClarty, president of the Arizona colo Phoenix NAP, says it is more important to understand the cloud provider’s risk profi le and the amount of space and power they require than it is to understand their application. Also important is an understanding of the tenant’s uptime requirements.

“There is a crucial difference between a tenant with a 24/7 uptime and one that only operates during the daytime,” McClarty says.

Among other important challenges arising from the Cloud are scalability, integration and interoperability with various infrastructures.

McMaster says young cloud providers often do not have enough funding for large- scale infrastructure deployments. They do, however, tend to grow very fast, which means it is critical for their data center provider to be able to accommodate the rate of growth without impacting their customers.

In cases such as NTT America, where the cloud provider’s services are

part of the

data center provider’s portfolio, integration with the data center provider’s infrastructure becomes a key challenge, as does migration, governance and federation. But it is worth the hard work.

“Cloud brokerage services give providers

the ability to leverage each other’s offerings, which in turn provide valuable solutions to the end customer,” McMaster says.

Brown says as cloud offerings mature, and notable progress takes place in the area of hybrid clouds — where an enterprise may be using a combination of on-premise servers, colocated servers and some sort of a cloud offering — the data center provider’s ability to facilitate access to the Cloud from a range of public and private networks also becomes increasingly important.

BIG DATA NEAR CLOUDS Then there is the challenge presented by end users that want to put big data near clouds but not in them. “This means colocation providers need to be more fl exible in how they connect the Clouds (enterprises to carriers to clouds), such

as opening up Ethernet exchange

platforms to a broader audience,” Brown says. The

task of basic power and cooling provisioning does not become any easier either. McClarty says while cloud provider customers usually think little of this, a small complication

could arise when a tenant

want to track power use for the billing of its own customers.

Cloud is creating new challenges for colos, but the old challenge of providing power remains a constant, in Brown’s opinion. The further

development of cloud computing

could, however, make this less of a concern. As cloud becomes truly on-demand, power usage will be reduced as unrequired compute capacity is spun down, making power provision easier.  23

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