External data centers and hybrid IT environments are on the rise

9 October 2019

As a company you have various options for your IT environment: your on-premise data center, an external data center such as LCL, the cloud, etc. Which option did your company choose? Or does it combine multiple options? The combination of on the one hand the cloud and on the other hand the use of your own physical infrastructure, on-premise or external, involves the much-discussed "hybrid" IT environments.

Hybrid environments are gaining popularity today. Sometimes the link is made to a declining success of external data centers. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to a study by Uptime Institute ('19), the need for data center capacity, both on-and off-premise, is increasing in almost half of the companies surveyed. Furthermore, the study "predicts a fundamental, structural evolution towards the increasing use of external data centers and cloud services" in the long term. The choice for own data centers would decrease sooner, although they will not become superfluous.

The lack of flexibility and the high investment costs at a data center within the company undoubtedly contribute to this. You don't just expand your own data center due to lack of space, let alone arrange it quickly. Setting up your own data center infrastructure is a costly affair and also maintaining a server room has a considerable price tag. And then you don't have a good DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management) for the control of all important parameters in the room, such as the temperature and the power consumption.

According to Uptime Institute, external data centers will remain crucial in the vision of many companies regarding IT capacity. In general, the impact of the cloud on the need for own or external data centers is not significant. In a hybrid environment, the cloud is often just one of the various components of an IT environment, just as external data centers are.

The cloud naturally has a number of advantages. For example, it forms an easy backup option, without the need for investment in additional hardware. In addition, economies of scale of the cloud can ensure reasonable rates, and you no longer need to arrange software and security updates yourself. However, the benefits of data centers continue to exist and differ from the benefits of the cloud. Is the security of the data important for your company? Or the legal framework under which they fall? Then a local data center offers the ideal solution. A common advantage is the flexibility. Both the cloud and an external data center offer more expansion options to keep a close eye on things, compared to an in-house data center.

Anyone looking for a backup solution with a hybrid environment can use an external data center as the first storage location for the data. The cloud can then act as a backup. Be aware of the characteristics of a hybrid environment. Data security requires extra attention and your IT environment becomes more complex. For a good backup you can also rely on two data centers that are sufficiently far apart. It is partly because of the distance between Diegem, Aalst and Antwerp that LCL chose these data centers for these locations.

The different IT solutions each have their own specific advantages and disadvantages. Depending on the IT need and the business context, one will already be more suitable than the other. With a well-considered approach, they can complement each other nicely. Hybrid IT environments are on the rise and as a data center at LCL we are happy to grow along with that trend. We are ready for it!