Quick take

  • Kirk Offel, Executive Vice President of Platform Delivery at Aligned, explores how capacity planning is different in the age of the cloud.
  • As alternatives to on-premises data centers, colocation and cloud enable new approaches to capacity planning. It’s a hybrid approach, where end-users allow the risk tolerance of each application to drive the what-goes-where decision.
  • Retail colocation. Wholesale colocation. Managed services. Cloud. At the right data center, an enterprise end-user can access all of these under one roof.

The need to deploy new services and products quickly and efficiently is driving changes in how cloud service providers and enterprise end-users plan for their capacity needs. On-premises. Colocation. Cloud. More and more, organizations are taking a hybrid approach to which platform they use, allowing the risk tolerance of each application to drive the what-goes-where decision.

In the March/April issue of Mission Critical magazine, Aligned’s Kirk Offel, Executive Vice President of Platform Delivery, explores how these new options are driving a hybrid approach to high-performance infrastructure. A world with these new options, he explains, demands a new way of looking at capacity planning.

Getting to the cloud

Most enterprises (80%, according to 451 Research) still operate the majority of their data centers on-premises, Kirk explains. Yet for new capacity, they more often turn to colocation, and are increasingly moving to a more right-sized colocation approach and using cloud service providers when extra capacity is needed.

Kirk describes a “crawl, walk, run” path for enterprise end-users to get to the cloud. The first step is to “dip a toe in the off-premises water with a retail colocation provider for a non-mission critical application like disaster recovery.” The second step is to take down more capacity from a wholesale colocation provider. The third step: “layer in managed services to test the cloud.” Finally, “when end users succeed with initial applications in the cloud, they can think about moving production to the cloud as well.”

Getting to the cloud doesn’t mean that end users abandon colocation entirely, Kirk says, but rather that they have some applications in a wholesale colocation model, some in managed services, and some in the cloud – that is the hybrid approach. Determining the mix of applications distributed in a hybrid model is an art form based on an understanding of the risk tolerance of the application and aggregate volume.

“On-premises. Colocation. Cloud. More and more, organizations are taking a hybrid approach to which platform they use.” –Click to tweet

The ‘home of everything’ data center

Kirk, who is responsible for continuing to expand Aligned’s service offering to large cloud players and enterprise end-users, writes: “Hybrid doesn’t have to mean complex. Once enterprise end-users move off-premises, a single facility can allow them to match applications to platforms, from retail colocation and wholesale colocation to managed services and cloud.”

But that single facility, what Kirk calls the “home of everything” data center, has to be adaptive, meaning:

  1. Intelligent infrastructure that is responsive, dynamic, scalable, and flexible; able to respond to real-time dynamic workloads and support high, mixed, and variable power densities to serve both cloud service providers and enterprise end-users.
  2. An infrastructure optimization platform that offers clear visibility into both current state and predictive analysis.
  3. A data center culture of innovation – a mindset that pushes for better, simpler, more efficient solutions and keeps a focus on customers’ business goals.

To learn more about the new approach to capacity planning, one fit for the age of the cloud, read Kirk’s full article in Mission Critical magazine.