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Keeping a Pulse on the Colocation Industry: What’s on the Minds of Providers

The booming colocation market, with its requirements for speed and scale, calls for collaboration like never before. One way we’re helping facilitate a new level of partnership in the market and better serve our customers is through our annual Schneider Electric Advisory Council. A mix of service provider executives, industry consultants and leaders from our organization gather to discuss where the industry is — and should — go.

At the most recent meeting in August, focus groups explored a wide range of topics and trends including renewable energy, software solutions, alternative cooling options, data and analytics, UPSs and more.

Energy and Cooling

Sustainability and cost are always top concerns for colocation customers and therefore top of mind for providers who face many complexities in these areas. Changing technology, operational constraints, shifting capital, ever-evolving customer demands, more severe weather events and increased cyber threats, can make securing affordable, reliable, energy difficult, for example.

In the area of cooling, the rise of high-power chips, GPUs and AI applications has created a need to rethink how to remove heat from ever denser IT equipment and, consequently, dense racks. Such density will be driven by colocation customer demands and liquid cooling is increasingly being explored as a solution.

Data Center Data

Data-driven decisions are standard for enterprises but have been elusive in the data center. Historically, data had to be manually interpreted. Advanced analytics and machine learning is enabling some automation, but data is often still siloed. In addition, many subsystems have not been connected to the network and legacy components are incapable.

The result is too much unintegrated data or not enough meaningful data. Data swarms, data lakes and even more advanced analytics are emerging to enable better communication among components. A software or service solution could then help create actionable intelligence. In turn, AI will grow to help drive down costs and increase resiliency.

More About Market Trends

Hyperscale budgets and resources stand to impact data center owners and operators. Similarly, supply chain timeframes and delays are concerns. Longer term, scalable solutions will be critical in these areas, especially to overcome a growing labor shortage.

5G is beginning to influence decisions in many industries. Though the new network will certainly affect data centers, the impact on colocation providers remains to be seen. In general, it’s likely to be demand driver and enabler of opportunity.

Get in on the Conversation

We believe collaboration and transparency throughout the value chain is critical to success in the data center industry — especially as deployments get bigger. We’re grateful to have spent such concentrated time with our customers and look forward to keeping the industry conversation going through the year.

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