IoT will have a huge impact on the data centre industry, says Interxion

20 May 2016

Jelle Frank van der Zwet, director of Interxion's of Business Development and Marketing, Cloud Segment

The internet of things (IoT) is expected to have a huge impact on the data centre industry in terms of data, analytics and volume, and the interconnected data centre will play a starring role, says Jelle Frank van der Zwet from Interxion.

Interxion recently announced it is to build its third Irish data centre on the outskirts of Dublin, which will be due for completion in Q4 2016.

Van der Zwet manages the pan-European marketing and product development programme for Interxion’s fast-growing cloud community.

He has more than 12 years of experience working in ICT product and business development.

According to Van der Zwet, the role of data centres in IT is changing.

The cloud is the network

“Where, traditionally, the corporate data centre was the heart of the network for an organisation, with the emerging world of cloud, that is changing. Initially, it was the first wave of test and development workload moving to the cloud. Now, there is a larger more strategic wave of workload moving towards the cloud.

“The traditional data centre is no longer the heart of the network, the cloud has become the heart of the network and that has changed and evolved the traditional data centre.”

‘The big crux in internet of things is what we can do with that data and how are we going to make information out of it’

He says this is having a huge impact on the IT strategy of an organisation. “Traditionally the corporate data centre had a storage function and now that function has moved to the cloud. More importantly, workloads don’t reside on a single infrastructure anymore, they rely on many infrastructures. There is the private cloud, the public cloud and many public clouds and resources that can be in different locations.

“That’s why organisations have to look for an interconnected data centre to put their strategic workloads and those interconnected data centres can bring the workloads closer to the public cloud and to the end users.”

As the world hurtles towards a world of 50bn IoT devices, the data centre – more specifically, the interconnected data centre – will play a starring role.

“First of all, because there is going to be a huge amount of data. Data has been growing for many years, we’ve become accustomed to storing that data but it’s still data and we need to make information out of it, so the big crux in internet of things is what we can do with that data and how are we going to make information out of it and what resources are we going to use to do that.”

Van der Zwet says that this problem has been around for a long time in the academic area, especially among research bodies like CERN and NASA.

“But now organisations want to use that information for commercial benefit and that means they have to crunch that data in real-time to make commercial use of it. And that information is going to have huge commercial impact on where we are going to store that data and compute that data and make it beneficial for an organisation to make money out of.”

Data flood from IoT

But are all data centres equipped to handle this massive flood of data that will come from billions of connected devices? “Not all data centres are equally equipped to fulfil these changing requirements. Some data centres are just more equal than others.

“Roughly looking at it, there are a number of different types of data centres. There is the traditional data centre and there is the interconnected data centre and there is the data where the public cloud resides.

“The interconnected data centre has a number of benefits over the traditional data centre, first of all, it has many connectivity options – you can connect to the internet exchange – most importantly that’s the location where you can connect directly into the public cloud and, more specifically, directly connect with the leading major hyper-scale cloud providers like Microsoft, Amazon and IBM SoftLayer.

“The benefit for organisations is those connections will bring you very low latency to the public clouds, high-performance connections and, specifically when you are talking about strategic workloads, that is a major requirement for an IT organisation to fulfil.”

Van der Zwet said that one of the tricky things for the IT organisation to figure out is what workloads work with which infrastructure and where that infrastructure is located.

The new workloads

“There are many different types of workloads. First of all, there is the legacy workload and sometimes it doesn’t matter where it is, it doesn’t require an internet connection.

“Second, the public cloud workload. Its first function is that it can be accessible over the internet by the users and this is what organisations are putting into the public cloud

“Third, regulated workloads. These are applications that use privacy-sensitive data or regulated data and this can either stay in the traditional data centre or transition to the connected data centre. Most importantly, they need to reside within your country’s borders.

“And fourth, hybrid workloads. These are mission-critical workloads that are data-traffic intense. Therefore, they just not only rely on the public cloud but also private infrastructure. These types of workloads will transition to the interconnected data centre in order to fulfil purpose and end users.”

Much has been debated about the onset of the hybrid cloud, which gives IT organisations the best of both the public and private cloud worlds. Van der Zwet said the ultimate benefit of hybrid cloud is improved network performance.

“Using direct connectivity to the public cloud allows them to lower the latency for connections between their workloads. Secondly, reduce their network costs, a far simpler connection. Third is the security aspect: by not going over the public internet you are not exposed to the vagaries of the public internet.

“Most of all, it offers them the agility to connect to any network, any cloud. Interxion offers a product called Cloud Connect. This is our networking cloud aggregation platform that allows customers to connect directly to their preferred cloud service provider. It offers a number of benefits – first of all, it is multi-cloud and multi-tenant. It offers multiple connections to multiple clouds.

“Secondly, we provide a 5 Nines SLA agreement, specifically for service providers. This allows them to offer service guarantees to end customers. It’s a layer two product, which means they can directly integrate their network, with connectivity to their public cloud providers. It’s a fully-automated product. If you go into our portal, it automatically builds up connection and you are connected to your public cloud.

“We guarantee throughput, no overlay between connectivity and service provider, and it is fully automated. Go into the portal, enter your service key and it automatically generates a connection to the cloud service provider of choice,” Van der Zwet said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years