— Blog

Virtualization and You: The Data Centers of the Future

Fabienne Adam, Sr. Director of Global Product Management
June 15, 2017

To say a lot has happened in a short amount of time with regard to the evolution of data centers would be a gross understatement. Both technological innovation and widespread adoption have occurred in rapid waves. So, if you have only a basic understanding of what cloud is and what data centers are as they pertain to your business, you might be surprised (and I would think, delighted) to learn about the wonders of virtualization and how it will impact the data centers of the future, and by extension, your business.

In the past few decades, data centers have effectively gone from single monolithic computers fed by punched cards to warehouses with rows upon rows of servers, each with only one application assigned to it, to what we have now, which is something more nimble and powerful compared to what has come before. It’s really remarkable, and so are the functions of this “virtualized” data center and what it can do to enhance business operations.

So what is this virtualization business, anyway? Essentially, it is an advance in technology that allows the majority of computing elements that previously required a piece of hardware to be replaced by software. As a consumer, you already see this kind of evolution playing out all over the world today.

Let’s consider it through the lens of phones. Early phones were heavy analog devices that hung on the wall and were connected via physical wires. Then came cordless phones with digital connections. Even with these advances, you still needed to purchase a new phone if you wanted the latest advances. Of course we know that today mobile phones dominate, and while companies will always improve the hardware, software updates make it so that consumers don’t have to purchase a new device every time an update is required.

For the data center, this evolution towards smaller and more powerful does several things. One is that it has significantly improved disaster recovery (DR). In the past, physical backups were required. Critical workloads were mirrored and stored in a completely separate facility. Now, with cloud-based DR, damaged or lost assets can be replicated instantly. The vast reduction in hardware needs mean that both cost and space requirements are reduced considerably. And what happens when providers are able to cut their costs?

You guessed it. Savings are passed on to you and your business. For example, when publishing conglomerate Condé Nast divested itself of its 67,000 square foot data center in favor of an all-cloud strategy, it raised the performance of its core IT content-related functions by almost 40% and cut down on operating costs by about 40%, as well. While Condé Nast went full cloud, that’s not a requirement to reap the benefits of virtualization.

We have a solution that is intended to help businesses of all sizes take advantage of the agility and security that virtualization provides. Digital Realty’s Service Exchange powered by Megaport sets businesses up to reap those benefits now and into the future. Service Exchange is a software-defined network (SDN) that allows a customer to establish direct, private connections to leading cloud and service providers. Using our MarketplacePORTAL online dashboard, Service Exchange customers can configure and deploy customized solutions from any device. In addition to your choice of a wide range of cloud service providers, you can manage interconnections with other partners in our extended ecosystem.

Most businesses ought to reap the benefits of virtualization incrementally, as it fits with their organization’s plans. But knowing that today’s data centers are becoming increasingly virtualized and understanding what that means for disaster recovery and other mission critical applications is an important step on the road to understanding and employing an effective cloud strategy. Want to explore Digital Realty’s cloud connectivity services? Explore how Service Exchange can help you achieve your business goals.

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