In early October of this year some Schneider Electric colleagues and I had the pleasure of hosting more than 40 colocation operators from 11 countries at our 3rd annual International Colocation Club event. Against the backdrop of Paris, the event brings together providers from all corners of the world to hear from industry experts and exchange insights with their peers.
As I reflect on the event, what strikes me is the amount of change occurring inside the industry and the willingness of providers to connect, share and collaborate. In addition, it is clear that the world continues to become much smaller. What used to be regional issues are becoming global because of the interconnectedness of service providers and their clients.
This year, we welcomed a number of speakers who helped provide inspiration and insight to further our discussions. On our first evening, Olivier Micheli, CEO of DATA4, presented a talk titled, “A journey towards intelligent DC.” Olivier highlighted Data4’s progression and growth in the European data center market from a fortress to the intelligent data center for the agile business of tomorrow. Dave Johnson, leader of our IT Division, also shared our Life is On mission and approach to innovation.
Kicking off day two, Schneider’s Cloud and Service Provider Segment President, Mark Bidinger set the stage by offering a market overview. We then welcomed Research Director Rhonda Ascierto from 451 Research to deliver a keynote address, titled “Colocation in Transition: New Realities, New Opportunities,” which shed light on this rapidly changing business and the technologies that can help colocation providers gain a competitive edge.
Later in the day, Mark Bailey, Partner with the UK-based law firm Charles Russell Speechlys helped us wrap our arms around data sovereignty issues impacting the data center market in his presentation, “Unraveling data sovereignty, Brexit and the impact on the data center market.” My colleagues from Schneider also introduced topics related to the Open Compute Project (OCP) and open source for the data center, and the importance of how we, as an industry, can reduce our environmental impact.
The presentations then shaped our roundtable discussions, which focused on topics including:
- Growth strategies and M&A
- Data sovereignty
- OCP & data center design
- The changing role of the colocation provider
- Data center management – DCIM and services
- The Internet of Things and edge computing
- Shifts in customer demand – and customer expectations
In upcoming blog posts, we’ll provide a deeper look at some of the discussions and presentations. But at least a few key points are immediately clear:
- We are in the right industry – colocation demand is growing, driven by both enterprise companies and Internet Giants
- Colocation providers have an opportunity to help customers navigate a complex data center ecosystem
- Colocation providers must continue to innovate and differentiate, not losing sight of the critical success factors – agility and availability
In the meantime, if you’d like to take a look back at our discussions from last year’s International Colocation Club, you can read the free report “Opportunities and threats for colocation providers around the globe”.