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Finding Ways for Redefining Efficiency in the Data Centre Industry

By Damien Spillane, Director of Sales Engineering in APAC, Digital Realty


Damien Spillane, Director of Sales Engineering in APAC, Digital Realty

Experiencing the industry’s changing technology

Historically, waves of technology have hit the data centre industry and lead to constant advancements. Virtualisation, high density computing, blade technology and cloud are great examples of advancements that changed the industry over the past decade. Looking forward, the Internet of Things, connected-everything, software-defined networking and artificial intelligence will likely be driving forces behind the next wave of innovation.

This constant change has led to consolidation within the industry at all layers - including connectivity, cloud and the data centre. However, as those waves of advancement have rolled in one constant has remained the constant growing demand for data centre space. With what we are seeing on the horizon, this is not likely to change.

Gaining insights and prevailing over hurdles

Coming from an engineering background, historically I spent a lot of time working with companies building bespoke data centres that would meet their unique needs. That was the model the industry adopted at the time since that was what the market conditions and technological capabilities dictated. However, as the consolidation of data centres and cloud providers has progressed and their services become more comprehensive, the need for custom designed owner/operator data centres has tapered off. This has completely shifted most of the industry away from that bespoke model and allowed us to focus more on productising and improvement - which has resulted in higher quality data centres, operating more efficiently.

With the decreasing emphasis on bespoke data centres, location and connectivity have become more of a priority as well. Proximity to compute nodes and hubs can have a dramatic effect on a number of factors, most importantly performance. That’s why Digital Realty has gone to great lengths to ensure our data centres are strategically located to provide the best service to customers now, as well as support future growth. It sounds simple but it quickly becomes very complex when you look at the number of variables involved around building infrastructure and campus environments. Governments are often involved on a number of levels as well with population projections, cost of power, geopolitical and geo-economic stability, undersea cable projects, future growth patterns, and an array of other factors that have to be considered.

Working and Contributing in Some of the Most Cutting-edge Projects

I’m blown away by what the team has been able to accomplish. The constant growth of the industry is bringing us to a point when we will start to see these campus environments become more universal. Our new data centre in Singapore has been an incredibly exciting project to be a part of. We have created a campus environment with dual locations on opposite sides of the island to ensure we’re providing ideal locations for the variety of customers and partners in the region. We took lessons learned from more traditional markets and integrated them with local requirements, the end result of which has been fantastic.

What makes a leader?

I think the concept is simple, a good leader is able to create a vision that everyone can understand and aspire to. From there, it’s about defining the roles and responsibilities within the team needed to make that vision become realty.

Dealing with adversity along the way, however, is more complicated. Good leaders can overcome the inevitable challenges that will stand in the way of success while keeping their team dedicated to strategic objectives. By deftly handling those situations, they inspire their teams with renewed confidence in their leadership. This confidence can prove invaluable when subsequent challenges arise and over time, the team will become increasingly stronger.

Seeing trends in the Data Centre industry in the years to come

From a high level, the industry is destined to see continued growth with ongoing consolidation of cloud providers. We will also see the evolution of hybrid cloud deployments continuing to ramp up, with an array of new service providers and hybrid infrastructure coming to the fore with the ability to move up the stack.

On a more granular level, one of the interesting changes will be how different cloud models interact with each other. There will not be a one size fits all solution. Instead, within a single data centre you may have an array of different infrastructures from different providers that need to work together to deliver the best possible solution.To the customer it all seems very seamless but the engineering required to create that user experience is substantial. For that reason, this will be a continued area of differentiation in the market as providers distinguish themselves by their interoperability. Vendor lock-in in this area will soon vanish to the dismay of some providers but the end user will ultimately reap the reward.

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