Internap Network Services Corporation has released the results of a survey that shows IT organizations are seeking to transform their traditional colocation environments with “cloudy colo” capabilities that deliver hybridization with cloud services as well as cloud-like visibility and control.

The finding was revealed as part of a survey conducted by Internap to gain insight into organizations’ current use of multi-tenant data center services and considerations for the future. Internap polled more than 100 IT decision makers in the U.S. responsible for purchasing a range of IT Infrastructure services from colocation to cloud and hosting. Respondents spanned a wide range of industries, including technology, media and entertainment, healthcare, financial services and retail, and represented a broad range of company sizes, from more than $10 billion to less than $1 million in revenue.

Although cloud adoption is on the rise, colocation will remain an important IT Infrastructure option, with 451 Research expecting demand to outpace supply in most of the top 10 markets through 2014. However, the agility associated with cloud services is likely to impact the way colocation services are managed and delivered in the future. Internap’s survey results revealed demand for “cloudy colo” features that bring many of the benefits of the cloud – such as automation, self-service, detailed real-time insights and remote manageability – to more traditional colocation environments. Specifically, respondents showed strong interest in accessing the following cloud-like colocation services via a unified online portal to provide enhanced visibility, streamlined management and improved cost control:

  • 88% - Bandwidth monitoring: gain insight into IP bandwidth utilization and trends, enhancing network capacity planning
  • 85% - Power utilization: view circuit-level power usage trends and logs of all initiated power cycle actions, improving planning for future power requirements
  • 77% - Equipment reboot: reboot or power down any configured device without incurring the expense of remote hands services or visiting the data center
  • 76% - Server health monitoring: check device power status and create alerts, helping to ensure equipment uptime
  • 72% - Hybridization with cloud and other IT Infrastructure services: procure cloud and hosting services and hybridize with colocation environment, more efficiently meeting diverse application needs
  • 67% - Inventory management: create and view colocation equipment for device-level inventory management and tracking

Organizations want to shatter silos between colocation and cloud

The survey showed that 57% of respondents are interested in a hybrid IT Infrastructure environment that includes a mix of colocation, cloud and hosting services to meet a range of application and use case requirements. This builds on the finding that nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents are seeking a unified view and seamless management of their entire IT Infrastructure ecosystem.

“Colocation, with its capex model, security, control and customization advantages, continues to be a critical infrastructure choice for many organizations. While cloud services are another important option, an all-cloud strategy isn’t appropriate for every situation. As a result, there’s growing interest not only in hybrid infrastructure solutions but in redefining the limitations of traditional colocation services by integrating the benefits of the cloud,” said Raj Dutt, senior vice president of technology at Internap. “‘Cloudy colo’ capabilities will bring these two worlds together, delivering new levels of business agility to colocation users and, just as importantly, to cloud users by making colocation readily accessible and integrated into their environment.”

Along with interest in “cloudy colo,” Internap’s multi-tenant data center survey also revealed several other key findings.

Many organizations mistakenly assume cloud is the most cost-effective option

Nearly 65% of respondents said they are considering public cloud services, with the majority of those (41%) doing so based on perceived reduced costs, followed by improved scalability (23%). The relatively large margin between reduced costs and other reasons for cloud adoption could reveal a need to better educate organizations about the specific application types and use cases where cloud makes the most economic sense as compared to other infrastructure services.

Availability and performance are top priorities when choosing a data center provider

Fifty percent of respondents ranked network availability/performance and uptime assurances/SLAs as the number one priority when selecting a multi-tenant data center provider. Security was also ranked “important” or “very important” by the largest number (98%) of respondents. With mega-trends like cloud, mobility and big data on the rise, organizations are understandably prioritizing the ability to keep applications and data safe and available.

High-density power requirements are on the rise

The survey results also showed clear plans for high-density power usage in the future. For example, while just 15% of respondents are currently using more than 8kW per rack, nearly double that amount (27%) expect to consume 8kW or more per rack within the next five years.