Top 5 Challenges Cloud Providers Face in Their Data Center

For cloud service providers, the data center is the foundation of success. But colocated in traditional data centers, service providers face significant challenges.

You depend on your data center to host your data and to fulfill your promise to customers. As explained in a recent Data Center Frontier article, “Clouds live somewhere. The place they live is in data centers. And with the exception of the “super 7,” most cloud providers don’t want to build or operate their own data centers. It isn’t their core business and a 20-year data center investment doesn’t match their operating time frames. It’s too limiting.”

But that’s not to say your relationship with your current colocation providers is all roses and butterflies either. You are probably all too familiar with most (if not all) of the following challenges.

1. A rapidly transforming IT landscape. Compute, storage and networking infrastructure is constantly changing. You feel the pressure to keep up with advances in technology, so you do not become obsolete, and your traditional data center provider is limiting your ability to grow. You need infrastructure that is dynamic and can respond to constant change.

2. Low power, limited space. Your current data center is running out of power, space, or both, and is not fit to accommodate your growth potential. Power requirements are static, and densities remain fixed, meaning you aren’t able to flex and scale dynamically. You are forced to predict demand years into the future, without a crystal ball. As a result, you might be one of the many organizations that, according to 451 Research, only use 56% of the power allocated and pay for a lot more than they actually need.

3. Uptime and security risks. Issues relating to uptime and security threaten to bring your systems down, which can hurt your company and your reputation. You’re concerned with compliance with industry security requirements and don’t have any eyes on what’s happening inside of your data center.

4. Limited carrying capacity. You don’t know if adding new capacity will require you to reconfigure your existing space, or if your current provider can accommodate the increase in IT load. Statically provisioned power and space will limit your ability to grow and require a greater investment of time and money to configure and reconfigure your racks and cabling.

5. Slow deployment. It’s taking too long to add new capacity when you need it, and this is hurting your ability to capitalize on new opportunities. You’re slow to the punch and can’t keep pace with demand.

If any of the above challenges resonate, chances are you’re wondering how your company can sustain this relationship and continue to succeed. The good news: there is a solution – an evolved approach that alleviates your pain points and repositions your relationship with your data center as an opportunity – not the reason you can’t sleep at night.

Aligned Data Centers was designed, engineered and built in response to these challenges – an answer to the limitations and a reaction to the rapid changes in technology and IT.

Our data centers enable higher flexibility and greater efficiency at a drastically reduced cost. They support high and mixed density environments in anticipation and support of future IT advances and business needs. You can reserve as much future capacity as you need while paying a fraction of what you do with your traditional data center provider. What’s more, we don’t subject you to long-term commitment by forcing you to predict your future IT load; you can scale when you need and only pay for what you use.

Our DCIM dashboard acts as your personalized knowledge base, giving you visibility and insight into how to best add new capacity. This capacity can then be deployed “just-in-time” in a matter of weeks – not months or years later – so you can stay ahead of demand.

… And as for your uptime and security issues? Our data centers deliver 100% uptime and are compliant with the latest security standards.

The bottom line? Your data center shouldn’t feel like a barrier to your success. Your data center should work for you, providing you with the ability to drive value and support your company’s success.

You don’t have to lose sleep wondering how you will keep pace and stay profitable within the bounds of the traditional data center framework. The data center is evolving to meet your needs, with a price model that matches yours, allowing you to take greater control and do more with less.

Take a look closer – get a tour of our Plano data center today.

Data Center Efficiency through Innovation

In North American Clean Energy magazine, Jason Ferrara shares three examples of energy innovation in the data center.

This is a recap of an article that first appeared in North American Clean Energy magazine, “Energy Innovation in the Factory of the Digital Age.”

On Day 1 of the Paris climate talks, long before representatives of 196 nations voted to adopt an agreement aimed at curbing global warming, Bill Gates did something that made our data center colleagues stand up and cheer: he announced the largest public-private partnership in history to tackle climate change by funding research and development of clean energy technologies.

Gates said he was surprised that R&D had not been on the agenda during the previous 20 climate talks. He certainly put it there.

The private component of the partnership is known as Mission Innovation. Twenty countries, including the United States, vowed to work toward doubling public investments over the next five years to a total of $20 billion to support clean energy research.

The public component is the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a group of 28 private investors from 10 countries, including Gates, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Virgin Group’s Richard Branson, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. These investors have pledged $2 billion of their own money to help spark a “new economic revolution” based around clean energy, and they’re hoping to get others to pitch in more.

Energy innovation in the factory of the digital age

The Aligned Data Centers founders came together with the belief that the data center could be both reliable and efficient, and set out to make it so. After all, the data center is the factory of our modern economy; to make a lasting difference in energy efficiency broadly, we have to find ways to be efficient in a digital world.

Innovation can make it happen. Consider three examples of innovation in the data center:

  • At Aligned Data Centers we rely on a conductive cooling system that uses 80-90% less energy. (Inertech, the cooling system manufacturer, was named one of the world’s ten most innovative companies in energy by Fast Company.) A heat sink removes heat directly at the rack or aisle. It draws the hot air from the servers, passes it across coils made cold by refrigerant, and returns the cool air to the server inlets at the front of the enclosure – removing massive amounts of data center heat using just a fraction of the energy of conventional cooling systems. The refrigerant is pumped by a cooling distribution unit (CDU) that routes heat outside. In contrast to traditional chillers, the patented cycle of this CDU uses passive (free) cooling most of the time, even in hot climates, so it’s ultra-efficient.
  • The data center services provider that plans to build an 8MW colocation data center on a floating barge. The Silicon Valley company has already completed a proof of concept with several organizations and says its floating data center will use half as much energy as a comparably sized land-based facility; in addition, using seawater for cooling would eliminate water waste.
  • Other companies are putting the IT equipment itself in liquid. In one such immersion system, the IT hardware is immersed in a bath of non-conductive, non-corrosive liquid engineered with a boiling point of about 120°F. The system employs a two-phased liquid cooling approach: 1) the heat generated by the IT gear actually boils the liquid; and 2) the vapor carries the heat away.

A future built on data center efficiency work today

Those are just a few examples of companies innovating the data center. Those kinds of innovations are essential, because without significant gains in data center efficiency, our planet simply won’t support the kind of compute capacity needed for cloud, big data, and IoT.

Added to the fact that some companies are already innovating the data center, Gates’ Mission Innovation and Breakthrough Energy Coalition give reason for hope. As John Picard says, “We’ve gone from having an awareness of the issues to finding real solutions. I have young kids – two boys and two girls – and the sense of security I have for them today is 50 times more positive than it was two years ago.”