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In a recent blog I wrote about the current market transition where IT is being consumed as a service, as both private and public clouds.  This has led to the emergence of a new, and rapidly growing role, which we call the Cloud Builder.  This new role takes a different IT approach to meeting the needs of the business. The Cloud Builder looks at applications and data requirements from the perspective of business goals, not static technology silos (servers, storage arrays or switches).  The Cloud Builder’s mindset is closely aligned to that of a systems integrator in that they want a flexible set of tools that enable a building-block approach.  Today, I am happy to announce a strategic partnership between Plexxi and Aligned Data Centers, which extends this Cloud Builder trend into the co-location data center space.  This partnership allows Cloud Builders to consume the data center as a utility by creating the industry’s first pay-for-use consumption-based model for the data center.     

Traditional co-location data center providers have required customers to predict future usage then, under a long-term contract, billed them based on that over-provisioned resource prediction.  This traditional model has allowed customers to move from CapEx to OpEx, which has been beneficial, however it is in the form of a fixed cost, independent of the actual resources they are consuming.  Under this model, customers lack real-time reporting and visibility making it impossible to understand how their resource usage relates to the price they are paying.  Aligned Data Centers is turning this model on its head through an extremely innovative and modular approach to building their data centers.  This new pay-for-use model allows a just-in-time and right-sized OpEx model for customers.  Accomplishing this goal requires a next generation approach for the delivery of power, cooling and network infrastructure as well as means to provide transparent usage reporting on all aspects of the services being consumed.    

Uber and AirBNB are excellent examples of modern businesses that have digitally disrupted their respective markets and differentiated themselves by creating very efficient access to resources that were previously underutilized.  Aligned Data Centers is digitally disrupting traditional data center architectures.  According to Jakob Carnemark, Aligned CEO, “Cloud players need data center infrastructure that is as agile and frictionless as provisioning servers, storage and software.  Our partnership solves for this by allowing customers to provision infrastructure capacity to align with application needs, significantly reducing stranded capacity and improving speed”.  Aligned Data Centers has built the world’s first true application-defined data center from top to bottom, including power and cooling that adjusts based on customer application requirements.  This has never been done before and it revolutionizes the cost model of building reliable data centers.  

Aligned Data Centers’ modular approach to building their data centers creates an environment where nothing is over-provisioned (power, cooling, floor/rack space, and network capacity).   They offer cloud providers and enterprises “plug-and-play” pods dynamically provisioned to deliver on-demand agility per application.  These pods can scale IT resource requirements from a single rack environment to thousands with ease.  Their vertically integrated supply chain enables them to rapidly deploy new power, cooling and network infrastructure capacity on-demand.  Customers no longer need to choose between low and high density.  They begin with what they need on day 1, then rapidly scale up or down to consume services when and as needed.  Real-time visibility is provided through personalized data center infrastructure management (DCIM) dashboards allowing customers to visualize their power, cooling and network capacity consumption.  This is how Aligned Data Centers is able to offer the industry’s first and only pay-for-use model.

The cloud has made it possible for organizations to access all the compute and storage they need, on demand, and only pay for what is used.   Aligned Data Centers believed it was time for all components of the data center to do the same and be a comprehensive private cloud.  They spent the past 25 years, gaining the knowledge and experience to create innovative electrical and mechanical solutions providing on-demand consumption of power, cooling and data center space.  In order to bring a pay-for-use model to market, they needed to find a data center network fabric that offered the same characteristics. They wanted a fabric that, like everything else they were doing, did not require them to start with over-provisioned capacity.  They needed it to provide a modular approach that could support day 1 requirements and seamlessly scale-out as needed.  They were looking for real-time elasticity with application-awareness to support workflow automation and deliver SLA accountability.  It needed to support geographic independence so that customers did not have to pre-reserve floor and rack space, but could instead add storage and compute capacity anywhere and have it behave as one elastic pool of resources.  They needed a network fabric that could easily integrate with their own data center visualization, management and self service portal tools.  They also needed that fabric to provide robust integration with virtualization platforms like VMware and OpenStack, converged/hyperconverged infrastructure like Nutanix and Simplivity, and big data analytics platforms like Hortonworks and Cloudera.  Finally they needed an open network fabric that provided the extensibility to enable customers to provision services on the fly from a self-serve portal.   They looked at all network providers in the market, and realized that only one was able to provide the next generation fabric they required to change the face of the data center.  That vendor is Plexxi.  

Aligned Data Centers offers dramatically differentiated co-location services where the customer is in full control.  Their customers consume data center resources  (power, cooling, rack space and network capacity) as a service, in an OpEx model, while only paying for what they use.  They have the ability to self-provision, allowing them to rapidly scale up and down, and through a customized DCIM portal, they can see in real time what they are paying for.  Together Plexxi and Aligned Data Centers are dramatically altering the landscape of the co-location data center marketplace.  

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