Data do not lie – the demand for data center services will only grow in the coming years. Gartner experts predict that this year will bring an increase in investments by 11.4% (approx. USD 226 million). What is the source of the increased interest in external data center services? Is this solution completely safe, stable, and ecological?
In this article, we answer these and more questions.
What are data center customers looking for?
Customers interested in data centers service primarily need an intelligent and scalable solution. They want to be able to collocate a single server cabinet, get access to a server room, or even rent a building. Technical issues such as the allocation of energy capacity and the efficiency of the centers are also important. Companies still choose between private and public clouds, on-premises environments, or collocation. It is estimated that approximately 32% of organizations return, in whole or in part, to classic hosting after trying to work in a cloud solution. This means that the optimal solution selection requires verification of how dispersed occupancy works, and vendors should ensure this flexibility.
Comarch offers just that by providing customers with data center services, and cloud solutions. This allows great freedom in design, access to the application can be provided in the cloud model, some services are located on dedicated servers, and the entire solution is bound by maintenance services provided by qualified engineers. Comarch has been providing services in the PaaS model (platform as a service) for over 10 years, with data centers in 15 locations around the world. In order to respond to the changing needs of customers, three years ago we also launched cloud services in the IaaS (infrastructure as a service) model together with a cloud management portal in five centers.
1. Data centers as a guarantee of cybersecurity
Companies are looking for traffic control tools. As recently reported by Cisco, one of the key suppliers of hardware solutions in the model with its own data center, 20% of production traffic was directed to the Internet. However, current analysis of the popular trend – which intensified after the Covid-19 pandemic – indicates that about 85% of production traffic goes online. Remote work, company applications transferred to the cloud, the development of IoT, AI, intelligent buildings and cities underpin the observed trends. This kind of decentralization of traffic requires specialized methods of ensuring IT security. However, not all organizations have trained teams and financial resources. So, in the long run, it is more profitable for them to use the services of external companies. In Comarch data centers, we apply and constantly develop a wide range of security measures, including a 24/7 security operation center, SIEM (security information and event management), and protection of Internet connections against DDoS attacks. In Comarch centers, customers can also use the Storage Vault technology – a tool that isolates back-up data against ransomware attacks.
2. Data centers for the continuity of systems and applications
Statistics show that 69% of organizations using data center services experienced system and application downtime in the last three years. The reason for 43% of them were power outages, 14% were network failures, and 14% were cooling outages and software errors for the control of centers. Of course, not all organizations are looking for data centers that offer maximum availability. For many, however, especially in industries such as finance and banking, public administration, healthcare, logistics or e-commerce, high availability is an absolute basis. That is why the Uptime Institute has created the rules for qualifying data centers according to four levels depending on the degree of automation and reliability of work, which help in choosing the data center offer:
- TIER I level – basic system, ensures 99.671% availability
- TIER II level – basic system with redundancy, ensures 99.741% availability
- TIER III level – a system based on concurrency of service and maintenance, ensures 99.982% availability
- TIER IV level – fault-tolerant system, ensures 99.995% availability
Comarch Data Centers provide annual availability of 99.982%, i.e. TIER III. All our centers where services are provided have been designed and built in accordance with this standard (equivalent to PN-EN 50600 minimum class 3 or ANSI / TIA-942). The activities of the centers are covered by the Business Continuity Procedure (BCP) and based on the following standards: PN-EN ISO 9001: 2015-10 Quality Management Systems, PN-EN ISO 14001: 2015-09 Environmental Management Systems, PN-ISO 45001: 2018-06 Occupational Health and Safety Management System, PN-ISO / IEC 27001: 2017-06 Information Security Management Systems, as well as PN-EN ISO 50001: 2012 Energy Management Systems.
3. Georedundancy of data centers – when location is no longer a challenge
In the context of the aforementioned sectors, for which high availability is a key factor, the geolocation of data centers is one of the strategic issues and, consequently, often quite a challenge. The place of data storage and processing is important for two reasons: technical (the need to quickly increase the performance of the application) and legal (ensuring compliance with, for example, various personal data protection acts or clauses on ethical aspects of running a business. Comarch, thanks to the location of data centers in 15 countries, can provide georedundancy of resource availability. Implemented in our centers, repeatedly tested procedures and scenarios of overvoltage in a crisis situation (such as an external attack or an uneasy geopolitical situation) allow rapid transfer of data to another center while maintaining full integrity.
4. Data centers are already eco, and they will become even more so
According to the statistics provided by the Uptime Institute, as many as 82% of IT organizations analyze their impact on the natural environment. This is primarily influenced by customers who expect specific actions for sustainable development from their IT service providers. Such cooperation is to be in line with the internal goals of companies related to social responsibility and care for the natural environment. The parameters most frequently verified by data processing centers concern the amount of water used, the level of carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere and the production of e-waste (the amount of electronic and electrical equipment transferred for disposal). It is no different at Comarch, where we attach great importance to the ecological aspect. Our activities in this area resulted in the award of the White CSR Leaf by the Polityka weekly, Responsible Business Forum and Deloitte in 2021. In the future, environmental issues will play an increasingly important role in the development strategies of data center customers and service providers, including due to local and global actions of governments and international organizations. Therefore, the support of an IT service provider in this area is another important argument for using external data processing centers.
Author: Ewa Wojcik, Business Solutions Manager, Comarch ICT