Changing the Rules: Consumable Infrastructure
Service Models Using Colocation

We all know that Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS) allows us to pay only for what we use. It allows us to parallel our costs with our actual usage. While traditionally only found in IaaS or SaaS environments, that model is now making its way to colocation providers.

Previously, colocation was a fairly standard contract for 36 months for space, allocated power circuits and a burstable bandwidth subscription. Downsizing for a short period meant you paid the same amount, but just used fewer resources. Shorter-term agreements meant 12 months, no ifs, ands, or buts. You paid for the allocated circuits regardless of how much you were actually using. Internet bandwidth had a base amount you would select. Use it or lose it.

T5LA-ES_015-0064Advances in the data center have come a long way. Much like cloud technology, companies are increasingly coming up with Consumable Infrastructure Service Model options, designed to help customers lower costs and be more efficient in their use of resources. Three key elements are driving the change: DCIM Software, Cloud Connectivity & Flexible contracts.

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) systems “collect and manage data about a data center’s assets, resource use and operational status throughout the data center lifecycle. This information is then distributed, integrated, analyzed and applied in ways that help managers meet business and service-oriented goals and optimize the data center’s performance,” according to Schneider Electric. StruxureWare for Data Centers: an integrated suite of DCIM applications, enables businesses to prosper by managing their data centers across multiple domains, providing actionable intelligence for an ideal balance of high availability and peak efficiency throughout the entire data center life cycle. Bottom line: DCIM Software saves customers money on their power usage.

Another driver for data center efficiency and cost reduction is Cloud Connectivity. Being able to connect to a scalable architecture quickly allows companies to have more frequent and meaningful touches with their customers. This can also mean getting products to market faster and beating the competition. Cloud Connectivity today is enhanced by SDN (Software Defined Networking). This allows companies to connect with their IaaS or SaaS platform of choice with better latency and a more reliable connection. The good news is that customers don’t need to subscribe to a long-term telecommunications agreement for access. They can scale up or scale down on the fly, only paying for what they use.

Finally, Data Center Providers are becoming more flexible in contracting. Today’s customers are going to find providers willing to give them flexible terms that align with actual usage. For example, some customers just need short-term colocation environments to handle the acquisition of a new company. Once the company has been integrated, they want to remove the equipment and cancel the colocation agreement. Increasingly, colocation providers are seeing that a short-term agreement can open the door to bigger and better relationships with their customers. Many of these short-term agreements end up becoming longer engagements at a higher price than a traditional colocation agreement.

If you’re considering colocation today, make sure you evaluate how each provider can help you in the areas of DCIM, Cloud Connectivity, and Flexible Contracting. A real comparison of Data Center providers should reveal those that are committed to helping align with their customers’ business objectives.

Bob Kramlich is the Director for Enterprise Solutions at T5 Data Centers. He can be reached at

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