It is a sad fact of life that all of us, at some point in our lives, will experience the dissonance between what our mind envisions and what our bodies allow. If you have not yet experienced this “rite of passage,” good for you. But don’t revel too much because your time is coming. For the rest of us, examples abound in our own lives and those around us. I attended high school with a girl who was an Olympic-caliber gymnast; but I’m sure she would pop a “hammy” now if she tried to touch her toes. Another old friend of mine was a notorious late night party animal when we were in college. I asked him if he wanted to go to a concert with me a couple of weeks ago, and he declined stating the he is “worthless the next day if he stays up past 10 p.m. on a school night.” As I contemplated the dichotomy between the capabilities of my youthful past and my middle age now — climbing a flight of stairs has become akin to summiting Everest — I couldn’t help but think how analogous this is to a number of data centers that I’ve seen lately.
A lot of companies that are seeking new facilities tell providers how they’re going to “put this in the cloud,” and how they want to support new latency-sensitive applications, and how they want to get closer to their customers. Believe me, we’re as excited to hear about it as they are to tell us, but every data center provider can’t help but notice a recurring theme in what we’re hearing: While customers have given a great deal of thought to everything their new data center will require, their vision becomes a little less rosy and clear when the topic turns to the network. In other words, while their data center may be willing, their network is telling them no.