The Difference Between Success and Wild Success in a Data Center? “Know Your Workloads” Says Google’s Daniel Golding

LEESBURG, VA — Fireside Chats are always a highlight of CAPRE’s International Data Center Series Summits, and CAPRE’s Seventh Annual Mid-Atlantic Data Center Summit in Leesburg, VA last week was no exception. Driving the Data Center: Networks, Clouds, and the Data Centers featured the perspective of two highly respected data center leaders, Buddy Rizer, Executive Director of Economic Development for Loudoun County, VA & Daniel Golding, Network and Data Center Infrastructure Leader at Google. As the session kicked off, Golding offered a brief look behind the curtain of his employer.

“Google has a truly massive network infrastructure. That network infrastructure is incredibly important in terms of our ability to support our users, support our partners, and support our data centers,” Golding began. “We have lots and lots of different kinds of data centers, PoPs [points of presence], edge locations, sub-sea cable investments, Cloud zones, you name it. I think we were doing Edge before anyone thought it was cool. We’ve made a major investment in the past couple of years in data center infrastructure, sub-sea cables, the network, and new CDN nodes.”

At that point, Rizer kicked off the back-and-forth by choosing a direction and running headfirst. “I think I’d like to start with the demand,” he suggested. “Allen Tucker always does a tremendous job cataloging that demand, but I think that here’s a chance that I’m seeing underlying demand for Loudoun County and Northern Virginia that maybe hasn’t been quantified yet. There’s a lot of demand out there – talk about why.”

According to Golding, there’s more than one reason behind this demand. “It’s funny, a lot of us here in the data center industry talk a lot about supply and demand, but we don’t think about what’s actually driving the demand,” he remarked. “And It’s a couple of things that are coming together really quickly. The traditional demand in Northern Virginia was very interconnection-focused. You know, Equinix and Coresite and some of these other facilities who are very interconnection- and retail colocation-specific, they’re all about, how can we connect our nodes to each other?”

The second and third pieces are the wholesale data center piece and the Cloud data centers, he then shared. “Those are driven by a couple of things. At Google, it’s things like growth in data and search services and maps, etc,” he explained. “But the biggest thing, I think, that the industry is seeing, is the combination of Cloud computing, which has really had a massive impact. I don’t hear the word Cloud used very much at sessions like this, but the impact of the Cloud is just absolutely massive. All the things that people like Gartner predicted [have come true]….we’re seeing massive, massive growth in the Cloud lines of business.”

Buddy Rizer, Director – Economic Development, Loudoun County

“The other thing we’re seeing, other than just the traditional Cloud, is what we used to call Software-as-a-Service (SAAS). There are a lot of different terms for it now, but so many of these applications – that small businesses, enterprises used to run themselves — are now running in these data centers,” continued Golding, who then posited that the industry is reaching a point where consumer services are also running in these data centers. “A good example would be Cloud Gaming Services. A number of major providers, including Google, are shortly going to be launching Cloud Gaming Services.”

 

The bottom line, said Golding, is that the sky is really the limit on the kind of workloads in data centers and where that demand is coming from. “But I think that [it’s important to remember] that there increasingly different kinds of loads and resources, and for folks here who are building data centers, it’s not just a little white box anymore,” he advised. “Some of these applications require different kinds of scopes. Understanding your customer is extremely important.”

And that advice, Golding stressed, extends beyond the development and builder universe. “If you’re a colocation or wholesale provider, there’s nothing more important than understanding your customer,” he shared. “It’s the difference between being successful and being wildly successful. I don’t think there’s a lot of failure to succeed in this industry right now, but there are some folks who are wildly successful. The folks who are wildly successful understanding what is running on the servers and the other equipment in their data centers. If you run a data center and you don’t understand what’s running in it, that’s something to think about.”

 

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