Scale wins in Aussie race for cloud racks

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Scale wins in Aussie race for cloud racks

Stakes high as DC operators battle for slice of cloud business.

Australia's data centre operators are in a race to scale out their facilities to meet the capacity demands of cloud providers and to prepare for the internet of things.

Executives for the largest four operators - Equinix, Global Switch, Digital Realty and NextDC - used a panel discussion at the Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit to discuss the pressure to build at scale while lowering costs.

All agreed that data centre operators needed to demonstrate available capacity and their ability to scale in order to be considered a potential host for cloud service nodes.

"Our challenge with the cloud is really just making sure we have inventory available, to keep building out scale and to stay close to our cloud customers," Digital Realty's head of engineering Damien Spillane said.

"I think the trends are very clear," Equinix Australia's managing director Jeremy Deutsch agreed. "The market has continued to expand, the growth in requirements for data centre services for cloud and also for enterprise customers using cloud continues to scale and grow.

"You have to get into scale because that's where the economies start to kick in."

Global Switch Sydney's managing director Damon Reid highlighted the need to be able to act fast to secure cloud business.

"It's amazing how quickly some global providers will move," Reid said.

"Some of these cloud providers will make a global decision on a requirement for capacity - for example, that five to six months later, two to three megawatts [of powered space] has to be rolled out at multiple locations across the globe.

"If you haven't got the space available or capacity to meet it then you're not on the initial list. If you're going to meet that market then you need to have a financial model that can actually provide this product quickly."

NextDC's chief operating officer Simon Cooper agreed that operators needed to stay focused on costs to win business from cloud providers.

"What we have to do is continue to improve our cost structure so that those cloud providers and the small, medium and large enterprises that want to go into mixed mode [hybrid IT operations] can continue to do so," he said.

Most global cloud providers to date had put racks in Sydney but Cooper believed they may look to Melbourne next.

"Very few of the global cloud providers have gone geo-diverse in Australia yet," he said.

Cooper also predicted that data centre operators would remain under further pressure to reduce costs to support the next wave of IT growth - what has become known as the internet of things (IoT).

"With all these [IoT] endpoints coming we need to enable cost structures that make growth affordable," Cooper said.

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