Can You Have Too Many Clouds? ATL Data Center Insiders Say No…if They’re Executed Right

ATLANTA, GA — In the infancy of the data center space, deals were 1-2 megawatts. But with the advocacy of hyperscale and the Cloud, deals have become larger and more complex. So CAPRE’s Fourth Annual Data Center & Cloud Infrastructure Summit dove into the who, what, why and where with the panel “State of Multi-Tenant Data Center Leasing: Best Practices for Brokers, Marketers, and Attorneys as Deals Grow in Size and Complexity.” Halfway through the panel, Moderator Brian Klebash, Founder and CEO of CAPRE, asked his panelists on the state of the Cloud, specifically. Asked Klebash, is there a pull-back from the Cloud happening?

First to respond was Ron Vokoun, Project Director for Data Centers at FLUOR. “I’ve heard some rumors of that – but the numbers don’t really follow that logic,” he replied. “I think that some people, they heard loud and they jumped in, because they thought, that’s a thing we need to do. They didn’t really do their due diligence and figure out what the costs were.”

According to Vokoun, there are a lot of uninformed people who jumped right in without really looking at the numbers, and some of those people have indeed pulled out. “There’s a lot of talk about, how it’s going to be all in the Public Cloud or it’s all going to be on-prem. The realty is hybrid,” he asserted. “You’ve seen the data. Colocation adoption is really on the upswing, and that’s the best way to connect to the Cloud. You’re going to see more colo, and you’re going to see more Cloud — and a mixture of public and private.”

At that point, Klebash asked Vokoun a follow – up question. “Can you have too many Clouds?”

Ron Vokoun, Project Director – Data Centers, FLUOR

“You definitely can if you don’t have your security set up properly,” responded Vokoun. “We’ve seen all of these breaches recently, and a lot of it is, just leaving one database that’s unused on Amazon, for example. Someone set up a firewall – and unfortunately the Cloud providers will get the black eye for this – but someone didn’t configure it right. I think it’s all about organization, but it’s basic blocking and tackling.”

Next, Michael Shaw, of the Wholesale Data Center Solutions team at GIGA Data Centers chimed in. “I like what Ron said – you have to look at the security of it,” he concurred. “In general, I would say that the market’s going to dictate when you have too many Clouds or if you can’t have too many Clouds. I think there are different clouds, and they specialize. I know that Databank has these FedRAMP certifiers, for FedRAMP activity. So if you’re in that area, you’ll want to [find a Cloud] that helps you stay compliant with that. I think the Cloud situation will settle out.”

“What we’re seeing with Blockchain and 5G, I’ve heard people say a timeframe of 3-5 years in the past. That’s a short period of time but it’s long in technology,” he remarked, transitioning to a bit of a future-looking sentiment. “What if the things that are coming out are going to double the size of the internet? It’s hard to get your head around it, but if you think about the internet today, and then you just said, let’s double it in 3-5 years? So where’s all of that data going to reside? You’ve got to get that content closer to the population. You have to get data storage closer to the population.”

Shaw then looked to an emerging and buzzworthy concept for some color — smart cities. “If you have a smart city, you’re going to need public safety deploying high-def video cameras in populated centers to do facial recognition, license plate-reading, there are so many other things can be integrated into cameras and deployments, and that generates a lot of data,” he explained. “Then you have people using augmented reality and virtual reality, and now you’ve got a situations where you’re pushing a lot of content. So you can’t take that data, store it, and backhaul it to one of the same top 7 data center markets across the country. And you can’t take the content and push it out from a distance either. So there’s going to be some data exchange between the Edge and traditional data center campuses.”

Michael Shaw, Wholesale Solutions, GIGA Data Centers

“So back to the question—are there too many Clouds?” he asked, returning to the matter at hand. “Well all of this data is going to have to be somewhere. Ron said he’s hearing that people are pulling out of the Cloud but that the numbers don’t support it. Well both can be true. Here’s what that means. People put a lot of stuff in the Cloud because they were sold on the fact that it was going to be very cost-effective. Then they realized that wow, things are getting out of proportion. I’m spending more than I was before. now I’ve got to start looking at what’s not critical. what can I pull back, what can I handle myself, on premises? So they’re pulling out, but at the same time, the Cloud is continuing to grow. So no, you can’t have too many Clouds.”

E-mail me your stories, industry news tips, and press releases.