Is the Building “Cloud-Ready”?
Companies are ever more reliant on high-speed network connectivity to the Internet and other essential services, including access to public or private clouds—which are a popular alternative to onsite servers by providing for the secure storage of and access to data and software programs.
Buildings that are not “cloud-ready” are—in the minds of many decision makers—about as useful as offices without electricity or bathrooms.
Consider these statistics: Global IT traffic has increased more than fourfold in the past five years, and will increase threefold over the next five years. And, amazingly, the number of devices connected to IP networks will be nearly three times as high as the global population in 2017.
So, yes, the ability to connect seamlessly to the cloud, via the Internet, is a 21st century essential.
While many service providers offer high-speed, broad-bandwidth network access, and others offer a full complement of cloud services, very few offer both. And those that do are finding growing cadres of eager customers, ready to sign up for their services.
Options Aplenty and Benefits to Behold!
What exactly is a cloud-ready building? It has one or more providers who have installed high-speed connectivity to the building’s basement equipment room (on-net) or who, in a matter of days/weeks, can complete a build-out to connect the building to its nearby fiber-optic network ring (near-net).
As network connectivity to the building is being established, it is a relatively simple process of running the chosen fiber-optic network cables into the particular floor or suite requesting it. Then, the right network provider can optimize use of the network to take advantage of one or more cloud services—such as data storage, security and redundancy—that not only protect a company’s vital data, but enable fast access to it.
The reasons why so many companies—larger enterprises as well as SMBs—are choosing cloud services are numerous. But most are directly or indirectly tied to the one factor that impacts most business decisions… money.
Among the many cost-saving reasons for using cloud computing services are:
- Lower capital costs. Companies that build and manage their own data rooms incur sizeable upfront costs in purchasing the requisite equipment, along with the expense of ongoing maintenance fees. Those costs are almost eliminated by using the cloud.
- Lower utility costs. Plenty of electricity and A/C are required to power and cool server rooms, and those fees can be reduced drastically if all or most IT assets are shifted to the cloud.
- Real estate savings. SMBs can free up precious (and expensive) office space by moving the location of servers and other equipment typically needed when most IT management occurs onsite to an offsite location instead.
- Personnel savings. Whether using public cloud services, private cloud services or the increasingly-popular hybrid cloud solution, SMBs require less headcount to monitor and manage the network. And that can save plenty in labor costs.
- Agility. Companies who contract for cloud services only pay for what they need on demand, and can usually, depending on the provider, quickly scale their IT infrastructure needs up or down based on seasonal growth patterns or other marketplace factors.
- Heightened security. Files stored in the cloud via a state-of-the-art data center are safer and more secure than those housed onsite, which can be more vulnerable to hacking, acts of nature and other factors that can destroy or damage essential data.
- Reliability. Cloud providers typically invest in state-of-the-art systems and equipment, including back-up services, that ensure greater availability of and access to all vital data resources.
- Performance. A network path optimized to connect to the cloud offers better security and service level agreements since dedicated, symmetrical bandwidth is always available to guarantee files and data can be uploaded at a specific speed every single time.
Building or leasing management companies are increasingly mindful of cloud-readiness as a sales or retention factor. They do this either by offering a single-source, combined network and cloud solution for all tenants by providing a number of cloud-ready options from which tenants may select specific options that suit them best.
As Candace London, Sr. Vice President for Spectrum Commercial Real Estate Solutions concurred, property managers are being asked with more frequency by brokers negotiating leases with prospective tenants, “does the building have high-speed Internet?”
While that is the current question asked for smaller office buildings, London feels that in the near future, the question will be “is the building cloud-ready.” While it is standard for tenants to arrange for their own telecommunication services, they will be more apt to lease in buildings that provide them with the most current and up-to-date means for their Internet and communication connections. Additionally, the benefit of lower utility consumption and lessening the burden on building HVAC is always appealing to any building owner.
Another important consideration is that today buildings don’t have to be physically located on a fiber optic network to access cloud services—as long as they are close. Many fiber providers are now extending their networks to “near-net” buildings that are a short distance (within 1500 feet) of their fiber rings.
Building owners and property managers who are not being mindful of the importance of both high-speed networks and cloud-based availability may be spending more time alone, thanks to an ever-dwindling base of tenants seeking “cloud-ready” solutions elsewhere.