Simon Taylor, Chairman, Next Generation Data
From the type of customer demand we are seeing a non-London location is no longer an issue. Falling connectivity prices and lower real estate costs is offering customers more options further afield.
Without doubt accelerating demand for cloud hosting services has been a major event for colocation data centres this year. The Cloud Industry Forum’s research earlier this year showed some 88% of UK businesses now using the cloud with over half of these favouring the hybrid approach.
This trend will be even stronger next year and well beyond that. Enterprise organisations now need different types of cloud services to meet a growing list of user and customer requirements. Equally, the major global hyperscale cloud service providers will continue increasing their regional data centre footprints to address data sovereignty issues, and for supporting single massively scalable architectures.
Another notable event has been the impending arrival of GDPR. It raises the stakes for all businesses, data centre operators in particular, especially those unprepared or unused to following rigid quality, operational and security processes and procedures; such as those embodied by BSI ISO, PCI DSS and SSAE 16 compliance.
Finally, this year has seen further data centre consolidation in the UK through mergers and acquisitions. The jury is still out on next year. Despite this there are still over 250 colocation data centres in the UK and it remains a competitive market.
These are generally categorised in terms of resilience and security by the 1-4 tier system, and for energy efficiency, PUE. While these will remain important criteria in the year ahead, with the advent of GDPR and the rapidly growing requirement to satisfy cloud-centric customers, we will start to see a blurring of the lines of the original colocation concept and likewise the traditional categorisations used. Other important priorities will come to the fore, not least, a facility’s uptime and SLA track record, its physical as well as digital security, and the level and depth of compliance accreditations. The amount of power available, breadth of connectivity and ability to scale will prove increasingly decisive too.