6 Models of the modern Data Center

June 12, 2014

Data CenterThe cloud hasn’t killed the company-owned data center.

Companies from General Motors to Fidelity are taking the best infrastructure ideas from Web giants such as Facebook and Google and adapting them to their very different business needs in order to build a new generation of data centers.

To highlight the different approaches and strategies these companies are taking, we looked at six companies beyond the Web giants that have made or are planning major data center investments. Our point isn’t that data center construction is booming; Gartner forecasts only 2.3% growth in data center spending in 2014, to $143 billion. Companies will spend more than twice that on enterprise software, by comparison, at a growth rate of nearly 7%.

But we are seeing a boom in data center innovation, and it’s coming not just from Web and cloud service companies, but from conventional companies that still see running world-class data centers as part of their competitive advantage.

Here’s an overview of the new models of the modern Data Center:

Fidelity is opening a new data center in Nebraska this fall. The investment giant is one of the biggest advocates outside Silicon Valley for open source hardware, and the new building itself is a modular, just-in-time construction design.

General Motors spent $130 million on a new data center in Michigan, with a second one coming online this summer. It’s a private-cloud-meets-mainframe operation, as the company supports both Web-ready apps and long-running legacy software.

Capital One christened its new $150 million Virginia facility in March, replacing capacity by third-party operators as the company shifts from an outsourcing strategy to insourcing most of its IT. The goal is to make sure infrastructure doesn’t slow down its new Agile development initiatives.

Bank of America is entirely reimagining its data center infrastructure, with a private cloud architecture and commodity hardware taking center stage. And it’s looking like modular, container-based capacity will play a major new role.

Equinix is tapping into companies’ need for faster transactions and processing by building telecom-centric data centers. These facilities can connect cloud computing and storage resources, for example, to an array of telecom options — 130 different carriers from the hub that sits near Amazon Web Service’s Virginia data center complex.

ServiceNow is a fast-growing software-as-a-service business that has doubled its data center capacity over the past two years, opting to lease space from a co-location provider rather than build. It trusts in its resilient architecture design and management software to keep the services up and running — along with staff working around-the-clock at the co-lo’s facility.