photo courtesy of scripps.com
Now that the business cloud market has matured, it has become easier to recognize the leaders of the technology as well as the providers that make the most sense to partner with your business. Many times that can be a local datacenter and cloud provider. There are many large public cloud providers and most agree on three leaders: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. Google has been an uncharacteristic laggard in the space and seems to be struggling with the Business to Business model (B2B). Clearly, a B2B strategy can evolve from Business to Consumer (B2C) strategy, one can look no further than the public cloud leader AWS.
Whether Google Cloud can succeed is unclear. What is clear, however, is that there will always be a place for large public cloud providers. They have fundamentally changed how IT in business is done. The mentality the public cloud help to create, “go fast and break things“, has been an important concept for the enterprise IT sandbox.
Where Does the Local Data Center Fit in?
I also believe there will always be a place in business IT for the local data center and cloud provider. The local data center and cloud provider mentioned here is not an engineer putting a rack up in his basement, or even the IT service provider whose name you recognize hosted in another data center. The local data center I am referencing has been in business many years, most likely before the technology of “cloud” was invented. My hometown in Cincinnati, Ohio has such a respected data center, 3z.net. 3z has been in business for over 25 years and offers its clients a 100% uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA). It has all the characteristics a business looks for in an organization it trusts its data with: generator, multiple layers of security, and SOC II level of compliance. It uses only top tier telecom providers for bandwidth and its cloud infrastructure uses technology leaders such as Cisco and VMware. Most of all, 3z is easy to do business with.
To follow are three primary reasons to use a local datacenter.
Known and Predictable Cost-
The local data centers’ cloud cost may appear more expensive on the initial cost evaluation; however, they are often less expensive in the long run. There are many reasons for this but most often it is based on the rate charged for transmitting and receiving data to your cloud. Large public clouds charge fees based on the gigabyte of outbound data. While it is pennies per gigabyte, it can add up quickly. With the per gigabyte charges, the business doesn’t know all their costs up front. The local datacenter will typically charge a flat fee for monthly bandwidth that includes all the data coming and going. This creates an “all you can eat” model and a fixed cost.
Customized and Increased Support for Applications-
Many of the applications the enterprise will use cloud may require customization and additional support from the cloud provider. A good example of this is Disaster Recovery (DR) or Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). DRaaS requires a higher level of support for the enterprise in the planning phases as most IT leaders have not been exposed to DR best practices. Additionally, the IT leaders in the enterprise want the assurance of a trusted partner to rely on in the unlikely event they declare an emergency for DR. In many of the local cloud provider and datacenters I work with, the president of the datacenter will happily provide his private cell phone number for assistance.
Known and Defined Security and Compliance-
Most enterprise leaders feel a certain assurance of knowing exactly where their data resides. This may never change, or at least not to an IT auditor. Knowing the location and state of your data also helps the enterprise “check the boxes” for regulatory compliance. Many times, the SOC certifications are not enough, more specific details are required. 3z in Cincinnati will encrypt all of your data at rest as a matter of their process. Additional services like these can ease the IT leader’s mind when the time for an audit comes.
It is my opinion that the established local datacenter will survive, and flourish. However, it may need to adjust to stay relevant and competitive with the large public cloud providers. For example, they will need to emulate some of the popular public cloud offerings such as an easy to use self-service portal and a “try it for free” cloud offering. I believe the local datacenter’s personalized processes are important and I offer support for 3z and its competitive peers to prosper in the future.