The evolution of data storage and applications has seemed to be relatively simple and straightforward: Enterprises handled everything on-premises, then shifted to co-location, and finally migrated to the cloud. For many business leaders, this seemed like the logical progression in shifting from a CapEx to OpEx model, reducing internal IT staffing demands, and providing flexibility in scaling as needed.
Call this the infrastructure-centric focus, if you will.
But along the way, CIOs and I&O leaders have discovered it’s not so simple. Some applications work better in one infrastructure setting than another. Business needs vary between operations. And the digital transformation that affects everyone is magnifying the need for applications that perform optimally – no matter where they’re located.
Evoque Data Centers Solutions recognizes this new paradigm and has dramatically enhanced its capabilities to help clients adapt to this new, more complex reality. We call it our Multi-Generational Infrastructure Strategy. In this article, we’ll take a closer look into why such an approach is needed and how Evoque’s acquisition of Foghorn – a cloud-focused consultancy – allows Evoque to now provide a holistic solution that other data center colocation co-location providers can’t match.
How Gartner Views the Role of Data Centers and the Cloud
A recent article by Gartner analysts David Cappucio and Henrique Cecci made the case succinctly. After highlighting changes in application and storage solutions, the authors said:
“I&O leaders focused on planning and enabling an infrastructure delivery strategy should:
- Adopt a plan based on business needs by basing it on the application or workload level, rather than on the physical infrastructure.
- Leverage their partner ecosystem to enable an agile, flexible infrastructure that is responsive to new business initiatives and reduces the I&O need to do it all.
- Integrate diverse platform choices together into a unified solution to allow market advances and advantages to be deployed quickly and easily.
- Develop staff versatility, changing focus away from critical roles (vertical focus) and more toward critical skills across the team.”
“[O]rganizations have realized that ‘cloud first’ may be the trend, [but] a more realistic model is ‘cloud first but not always.’ Determining the right workload to migrate, at the right time, for the right reasons, to the right provider, will be the key to success over time.”
Sounds great, right? But how does a CIO know exactly how to put those pieces of the puzzle together? Just understanding the trade-offs between the major cloud providers is tough enough. How do you then factor in all the other possibilities? That’s what Evoque now offers – not only a network of colocation data centers across the United States and Evoque’s deep knowledge of effective data-center deployment, but now the expertise of Foghorn’s seasoned team of cloud professionals.
A Unified View of the Market Needs
After years in their respective niches, Evoque and Foghorn came to the same conclusion: Applications should be primary, infrastructure secondary when deciding on the appropriate place to house various IT operations. Evoque CEO Andy Stewart saw during the pandemic that enterprises wanted better visibility into their workloads and better cost management and how best to adjust to the online-oriented business model Covid-19 necessitated.
“We wanted to leapfrog the conversation and start talking to CIOs about digital transformation and an app-first approach rather than forcing the infrastructure on the application you have in place,” Stewart said.
At the same time, Foghorn CTO Peter Roosakos was seeing the need to have applications run on the optimal infrastructure to develop the best results. “We see companies being required by the business units to support multiple platforms – not necessarily to port the same workload from platform to platform, but to have access to the right platform for the right workload,” he said. “And so coming up with a holistic strategy to support all of those workloads is definitely a little bit more complicated, but it yields much better results in the long term.”
Creating Partnerships with Clients
As the Gartner report makes clear, enterprises will give themselves their best chance at success by teaming up with partners who are intimately familiar with the finer points of database and application hosting on various infrastructures. From the report:
An evolving trend in the colocation market has been the introduction of enhanced services that go well beyond traditional power, floor space and support services. These enhanced services include carrier neutrality, cloud-enabled services, access to multiple cloud services via secure networks, cross-connects to partners on the same premises, or interconnect fabrics to other sites or services. By using these fabrics, enterprise customers could have access to many different providers and services and be able to switch between or swap services when contracts or performance requirements change.
Beyond the options, there’s the expert guidance that enterprises can receive from Evoque and Foghorn. “Some workloads make a lot of sense to develop and test in the cloud, but bring back into colocation,” Roosakos said. “Others make a lot more sense to migrate out of the data center and put in the cloud permanently.”
In addition, enterprises can benefit by unifying efforts across the departments and divisions so that the corporation gains a collective benefit not achievable by teams acting independently. “There’s a need for a cloud center of excellence – a group that understands cloud for the enterprise and a team that can make sure that it’s doing security right, maintaining agility, and containing costs in the process,” Roosakos said.
Both Evoque and Foghorn embrace an “infrastructure-agnostic” philosophy – that what matters is the performance, user experiences, flexibility, security, and scalability requirements, as well as the predictable economics that must be served. Trying to shoehorn an application onto an infrastructure not appropriate for it is counterproductive. In addition, requirements change over time as organizations ramp up and shut down projects, acquire other companies, shift agilely to different operational models and the like.
That’s the thinking behind the name that represents Evoque’s new approach:
- Multi-generational – meaning the mechanisms and services can evolve over time, from one generation of business to another
- Infrastructure – Cloud, colocation or some hybrid of the two
- Strategy – not just a short-term tactical response, but a long-term, holistic answer.
Source: Gartner Report by David Cappucio and Henrique Cecci, Sept. 17, 2020, “Your Data Center May Not Be Dead, but It’s Morphing.”