Stiff competition from cloud-platform giants, rising costs and an increasing menu of choices for customers all are making it tough for colocation providers to carve out and sustain market share.
A number of new competitors have emerged, such as Cyxtera, which formed when CenturyLink sold its data centers and colocation business. In all, the top 12 colocation providers account for more than 30 percent of the global market, according to a report by Global Info Research. Smaller providers capture 1 percent or less market share.
Even though the market is going through consolidation, the colocation industry includes more than 1,000 additional companies.
Members of the Channel Partners Editorial Advisory Board and Business Advisory Board shared their views with us on what it takes to succeed in colocation.
Rick Beckers, president of CloudTech1 and editorial advisory board member, said as it relates to agents that participate in the channel, a cutting-edge colocation provider, and SaaS or hardware-as-a-service (HaaS) provider, must provide an easy-to-use management interface and automated billing system.
|Our other recently published “top 20” lists include providers of UCaaS, enterprise telephony, SD-WAN, antivirus software, and backup and DR.|
“The reason for this is because most agents are not as tech savvy as a full blown MSP,” he said. “They own and maintain the relationship, and want to sell licensed and subscription-based products and services. They want to maintain account control by keeping others out of their accounts, so they seek providers that have these easy-to-use, management portals that allow them to sign up, sell, or subscribe their clients to the products and services they need without having to engage a third party or divulging the key contact information that they protect dearly. The colocation and data-center providers that can – or will – provide such interfaces will benefit by obtaining larger market share than the traditional data centers.”
Gina Kennedy-Toney, Fusion‘s vice president of channel marketing and alliances, and a business advisory board member, said today’s environment has become extremely competitive and customers have more choices then ever when looking to colocate their facilities.
“With so much competition, Fusion has found it increasingly important to educate both its current clients’ and new prospects on what Fusion does well versus the competition,” she said. “The major obstacle customers appear to face when making their decision is who is truly the best fit for them. Our consultative approach effectively educates consumers on exactly who we are and what we will do best for their business so they may make the most educated decision.”
The biggest challenge is coming from the large public cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure and Google Compute, said Paul Cronin,“facilitator of excellence” for Cronin Corp. and editorial advisory board member. These public platforms allow for “endless just-in-time” provisioning and scalability of compute, storage and multi-region availability that is “next to impossible achieve with your own metal in a single collocation facility,” he said.
“It is getting harder to be different and add value and services that other providers do not also offer,” he said. “The colocation market is commoditized with many providers’ options in the larger geographic areas that offer the same network peering and uptime/availability. Older colocation facilities were built and designed before the explosion (of) public cloud in the last few years, leaving them empty and expensive to maintain without clients they expected when they were brought online.”
Based on feedback from editorial and business advisory board members, and recent news reports, we’ve compiled a list, in no particular order, of 20 colocation providers that are making the most of the current competitive landscape and charting success.
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