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Dec 21, 2017

5 Highlights from the Gartner IO Conference 2017

INAP

Insights and Advice from our Experts

INAP was fortunate to be a sponsor at Gartner’s annual IT Infrastructure, Operations Management & Data Center Conference 2017 in Las Vegas.

In addition to exhibiting our high-performance managed hosting and service solutions, our team of experts had the opportunity to attend some of the popular keynotes and sessions throughout the four-day event.

The conference included more than 150 sessions, so naturally we weren’t able to attend every one. We would have liked to, but since time travel is still unreliable at best, our experts picked the sessions they knew would be most relevant to the future of our business and our ever-evolving industry.

And they weren’t disappointed.

Here are five key industry insights and trends our experts brought home with them from the Gartner IO Conference.

1. Make Way for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

You probably already use some form of automation in your business. Chatbots and virtual assistants are increasing in popularity, but are you doing enough to improve the efficiency of your infrastructure?

During their opening keynote address, Gartner’s Milind Govekar and Dave Russell predicted that if you don’t effectively adapt artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) into your environment and workloads by 2020, your infrastructure may not be operationally and economically viable.

As a result, they expect an increase in software-centric or programmable infrastructure to support advanced platform thinking and integration with minimal human intervention. If utilized correctly, this technology will enable your environment to process more data faster with less cost.

Stay tuned.

2. Living on the Edge

It was just a few years ago that the internet of things (IoT) took off as the next big advancement in digital technology.

Businesses now need to embrace the edge by blending physical and digital resources to create an experience that provides value and makes a difference.

It’s not about rolling out technology for the sake of doing it. In a session about top trends in 2018 and their impact on infrastructure and operations, Gartner VP David Cappuccio pointed out the necessity of creating an intelligent edge. This focuses on utilizing connected devices that provide a real-time reaction and allow for interaction between things and people to solve a critical business need.

3. Data is More Valuable Than Ever

In a digital world of AI, connected devices and intelligent edges, data is becoming even more important.

Machine learning and automated systems will require additional data to analyze trends and behaviors to make logical decisions to improve efficiency, especially when connected with multiple devices. To manage the influx of digital information, a greater priority will be placed on data storage and backup. (Shameless self-promotion: INAP launched a new managed storage offering during this conference.)

More data also means more opportunities for hackers, and businesses are being forced to take additional steps to combat this risk. In a session about the state of business continuity management, we learned that average disaster recovery budgets were expected to increase in 2017.

4. Cloud Reaches New Heights

One of the overwhelming themes that kept coming up during sessions and keynotes was a focus on the cloud.

You’re probably already familiar with some of the stats that predict massive increases in cloud computing over the next few years. Gartner’s Govekar and Russell doubled down on those forecasts, claiming that by 2021, 80 percent of organizations using DevOps will deploy new services in the public cloud.

It appears we can expect more businesses to transition to a cloud-only model, where before it was just cloud first. The impact remains to be seen.

5. Mind the Skills Gap

With technical innovation and the transition to a more cloud-focused infrastructure, IT teams are being driven to master additional skills.

Some employees may be fast learners, but the reality for most businesses is that they’ll likely experience disruptions due to infrastructure and operational skills gaps.

Rather than being specialists or generalists, IT talent should strive to become versatilists – meaning they are a specialist for a certain discipline, but can easily switch to another role. In the meantime, companies need to consider the experience level of their existing teams when rushing to adapt new technology.

Implementing New Trends

Your business may already be in the process of implementing changes based on these trends. Or perhaps you’re aware that you need to get the ball rolling, but you’re not ready just yet.

Regardless of where you currently sit, you should consider how these trends will impact your industry and business model or you risk being left in your competitors’ dust.

It may seem like a daunting task, but you don’t have to do it alone. Consider a trusted partner who will be there every step of the way to provide guidance, support and the necessary services to help you achieve your business goals. That’s where INAP comes in. Our team of experts will assist you in preparing your organization and infrastructure for the technology of tomorrow. Contact us to learn how we can help you build a better IT infrastructure for today and the future.

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Dec 6, 2017

3 Signs Your Business Might Need Managed Storage

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How to Win the Storage Wars

New technology is both a blessing and hindrance in the IT world.

Data is becoming more complex and businesses are demanding faster access to larger amounts of digital information. As a result, new equipment is constantly being developed which can accommodate more speed, storage and performance.

This new technology is great if you’re in the market for all new equipment; but let’s be honest, you’re probably not. And even if you are looking to do a full upgrade of your systems, investing in top-of-the-line equipment is likely a more expensive solution than most businesses are comfortable spending.

The result is a less than optimal solution which may not seamlessly integrate into your existing environment and cause more problems down the road. Plus, you risk untimely disruptions and downtime while deploying your new infrastructure. And we won’t even get into changing SLAs and business priorities.

Fortunately, there is a solution which can provide the options you need with the convenience of passing the grunt work to someone else: Managed storage.

Does Your Business Need Managed Storage

Managed storage is a service that allows all aspects of your data storage – from monitoring to maintenance – to be administrated and supervised within your environment. This reliable and high performing solution combines flexibility and scalability with the speed and efficiency you need to keep your applications running smoothly.

It doesn’t matter which industry your business occupies, you will likely have a need for managed storage. The bigger question isn’t if you need managed storage, rather when you will need it.

[Tweet “The bigger question isn’t if you need managed storage, rather when you will need it. #managedstorage”]

Here are three big signs your business might be ready for a managed storage solution today.

1. Your Current System is Outdated

Just like how a new car loses value the moment you drive it off the lot, your IT infrastructure can quickly become outdated after it’s deployed.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the innovation and speed at which new technology is unveiled. Just look each fall when the major cell phone companies release their latest and greatest devices.

It’s not feasible or practical to replace your storage system with each tech advancement, so some IT departments are getting by with patchwork improvements or continually adding capacity to legacy systems. This may temporarily solve the problem, but with limited flexibility, you will run into more problems when you inevitably need to scale up your storage capacity again.

2. You Are Constantly Playing Catch Up with Your Storage Plan

Did you know the International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that enterprise data doubles every 18 months?

If you’re not adequately planning for this surge of digital information, you’ll soon be faced with a situation that involves investing more of your budget to storage instead of spending capital dollars elsewhere, which could negatively impact the overall performance of your business applications.

Even if you have a solution in place, are you proactively managing your storage capacity and performance? For instance, your environment should allow you the flexibility to seamlessly scale out when you reach your capacity limit. If you’re not planning with your current and future needs in mind, you’ll always be playing catch up when it comes to your storage solution.

3. You Don’t Have Time to Properly Manage Your Storage

It’s no secret that running an effective IT infrastructure takes time and hard work. In addition to maintaining the upkeep of your equipment, you are constantly monitoring performance and storage to ensure your website and applications are running optimally to provide the best experience for your end users.

And when you do need to evaluate your storage lifecycle, you may find the process is lengthy and complex ­– providing insufficient data that’s not conducive to making an informed decision.

If you’re looking for a solution that can streamline the storage management process by making proactive decisions using predictive analytics, and allowing you more time to focus on your core business, you might want to consider managed storage.

Why INAP’s Managed Storage Solution Makes Sense for You

INAP offers a storage solution that meets or exceeds all of the standards you’d expect and require from a managed hosting provider. Our service provides performance, reliability (99.9999% availability) and security, with proactive flexible and scalable options so you’re never caught off guard when you are running out of space. Plus, our team of experts provides all the maintenance to keep you operating 24x7x365, so you can focus your time and resources on more important business matters.

Contact us today to learn more about how our managed storage solution can improve your performance and efficiency.

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Nov 19, 2013

Customer spotlight: Rhapsody International cranks up IT infrastructure for global expansion

Ansley Kilgore

Music_Notes_680x340Rhapsody International, the parent company of leading subscription music services Rhapsody and Napster, gives members unlimited on-demand access to a global catalog of more than 32 million tracks, whether they’re listening on a PC, laptop, Internet connected home stereo or TV, MP3 player or mobile devices. In December 2011, Rhapsody International acquired Napster International and is now available in 19 countries worldwide.

As Rhapsody International looked to bring Napster to new markets across Europe and Latin America, Rhapsody needed to address a new set of customer demands. An Internap customer since 2010, Rhapsody must make sure its IT infrastructure can provide the scalability, storage and speed required to ensure subscribers consistently enjoy a premium streaming experience.

Managed Hosting
With a growing footprint across Europe, Rhapsody International needed to optimize the content delivery to Napster. To solve this problem, Rhapsody added Internap’s managed hosting service in London, which significantly streamlined the exchange of content through faster performance and reduced latency.

Colocation footprint
The continued global expansion of Napster meant a huge increase in the amount of data that must be transmitted and stored. As a result, Rhapsody International secured options to increase their colocation footprint in Internap’s Seattle data center, including more power and racks, to accommodate the influx of data. High-density power capabilities allow Rhapsody International to continue scaling up their storage needs and get the most out of their colocation services.

Performance IP
Rhapsody’s global account management services uses Internap’s Performance IPTM service, which ensures the data is transferred as efficiently as possible. Instead of relying on a single ISP, Internap’s internet service leverages up to 11 major carriers simultaneously. All Internet providers experience outages and latency at some point, so having multiple carriers reduces the risk of poor performance. In addition, Managed Internet Route Optimizer™ (MIRO) analyzes Internet performance across the globe, and makes intelligent route adjustments based on real-time data. By finding the fastest route available with the lowest latency, Rhapsody International can provide a better quality music streaming experience for users.

Through managed hosting, colocation and Performance IP services, Rhapsody International has set the stage with the right IT infrastructure foundation to accommodate their expansion needs. With a solid business model and an eye for even more growth in the near future, the scalability of their infrastructure will continue to be a critical part of their strategy.

Learn more about how Rhapsody International uses Internap’s services.

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Nov 5, 2013

Maximize your colocation investment with key data center features

Ansley Kilgore

Through a foundation of reliable IT infrastructure, colocation provides increased scalability, security and performance. Many organizations incorporate colocation into their operational strategy as a cost-effective way to manage scale and gain access to advanced technology. The economic benefits of colocation and data center services can help your business accommodate high demand application deployment or big data initiatives.

Despite the benefits of outsourced colocation services, there are heightened concerns about colocation providers’ ability to scale cost-effectively, mitigate service interruptions, and reduce total cost of ownership.

Choosing the right provider
The decision to invest in colocation requires careful evaluation of the provider’s data centers to make sure the facilities are designed for maximum flexibility, scalability and resilience.

In this webinar, we examine the key features you should look for in a data center to maximize the return on your colocation investment.

Watch the webinar recording to learn:

  • How a service provider’s data center design choices influence costs and impact application performance and availability
  • Why a data center’s power density is one of the primary considerations for an IT infrastructure buyer
  • The difference between redundancy and concurrent maintainability and how the latter can optimize your uptime at a reasonable cost

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Oct 1, 2013

Data centers of the future, no flux capacitor required

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18 kilowatts (kW) is a lot of power.

According to eia.gov, the average US residential utility customer consumes just 1.3 – 1.8 kW of electricity. So 18 kW is about the same amount of power being used in 10 to 14 average US homes.

18 kW is also the equivalent of about 24 horsepower. That’s enough power to run a very nice riding lawn mower. Or keep two average American cars with air conditioners running, cruising along at 60 mph.

An 18 kW tankless water heater can deliver 105-degree water from input water at 62 degrees at a rate of 2.5 gallons per minute. So a never-ending supply of comfortable hot water in your shower is just 18 kW away.

This is possible because 18 kW can be used to generate about 61,400 BTUs per hour of heat. A burner on your gas stove might offer up to 12,000 BTUs per hour. A wood stove that might be used to heat a small home is probably around 55,000 BTUs per hour.

And in case none of that hit home, 1 BTU = 252 calories. So 18 kW is the calorie equivalent of 28,132 Big Macs per hour.

Got it now. 18 kW is a lot of power, right?

Aside from being able to share some “interesting” trivia, I thought 18 kW was interesting because Internap now has customers using 18 kW per cabinet in our data centers. And not just one cabinet here or there, but a cage of 30 cabinets using up to 18 kW per cabinet. And it’s not some monstrous football field-sized cage. It’s a tidy 576 square feet of space. That’s right, better than a half a megawatt in less than 600 square feet. It’s not quite 1.21 gigawatts, but some say that at 10:04pm on Saturday nights, this space can actually travel through time.

Of course, Internap customers know all about time travel. They’ve been to one of our facilities, where instead of confining your business to 2005, we have solutions for today’s users. Like the fastest, most consistent Performance IPTM service. Like a flexible AgileCLOUD and hosting solution. And now also including ultra-high power dense colocation services.

Does your organization want to get back to the future? Learn more about high data center power density in our Next-Generation Colocation white paper. Or, come see what 18 kW of power looks like in person by touring our New York metro data center.

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Sep 24, 2013

Ten innovative features that your data center can’t live without

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NY_skyline_300x150Are you looking for a data center provider that can meet the needs of your business as you grow and scale? Cutting-edge data centers provide state-of-the-art features that can help you maximize performance, lower costs and increase efficiency.

Internap’s New York Metro Data Center offers some of the most advanced features available. The list below includes ten features to look for when evaluating innovative data center and colocation space.

  1. Wide breadth of services to build the best fit for your needs
    The NY Metro Data Center offers a flexible menu of Cloud, Hosting, Colocation and Hybrid infrastructure services to help you build the optimal environment for your particular needs.
  2. High-density power allows you to scale in place
    With power configurations up to 18kW per rack, you can simply add power as you grow – instead of adding a new physical footprint – and avoid incremental equipment costs, installation fees and hassle.
  3. Customer portal gives you a single-pane-of-glass view into your infrastructure
    View and manage your colocation environment remotely with our customer portal. Reboot servers, check power utilization and environmentals, monitor bandwidth and hybridize your infrastructure all via a single interface.
  4. Hybridize your environment easily within the same data center
    Seamlessly connect your colocation, managed hosting and cloud environments to maximize performance and lower bandwidth costs.
  5. Concurrent maintainability maximizes uptime and performance
    More than just N+1, industry-leading data centers are designed for concurrent maintainability of electrical and mechanical systems, resulting in maximum uptime and performance for your applications.
  6. Performance IP™ service enables optimized connectivity
    Internap’s Performance IP™ service provides optimized links up to 10GB through seven top tier carriers. In addition, our facilities offer a robust carrier Meet-Me-Room, including alternative transit and local access options.
  7. Energy-efficient design supports a “green” working environment
    Designed to achieve LEED certification, our facility’s efficient design components include outdoor air economizers, variable frequency drives on chillers and pumps and cold aisle/hot aisle containment zones.
  8. State-of-the-art security features ensure your equipment is highly protected
    Our facility’s comprehensive security measures include 24/7 on-site security personnel, closed-circuit television, as well as biometric, electronic and key card locks.
  9. On-site experts proactively monitor facility performance
    Our experienced team of data center engineers and technical support staff are on-site 24/7, proactively monitoring facility performance and resolving issues before they impact your business.
  10. New York Metro location offers convenience and accessibility
    Located in Secaucus, N.J., our facility is within easy access of the bridges and tunnels into Manhattan, the NJ Turnpike, the Secaucus Junction train station and the New York metropolitan area’s three international airports.

Learn more about the New York Metro Data Center here.

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Jul 16, 2013

Do you speak data center?

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Do you speak data center

Language is important for communicating with others and navigating your way in life – whether it is around a city, medical situation, or data center. To express your requirements or evaluate services, it helps to share a common understanding of terminology. Here is a sample of key terms that speak to your data center needs and highlight Internap’s approach within our data centers.

Uptime – Measure of availability. Internap offers a 100% uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA) guarantee for IT infrastructure and IP.

Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) – Backup power supply that, in case of power failure or fluctuations, allows enough time for an orderly shutdown. Internap offers properly sized units that maintain operations until generator power kicks-in in the event of power loss, supporting our 100% uptime SLA.

Computer Room Air Conditioning Units (CRAC Unit) – Monitors and maintains the temperature, air distribution and humidity in the data center. State-of–the-art units control the ambient temperature in the room based on ASHRE industry standards.

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) – Surveillance cameras to view and record activity. Rigorous security is maintained in data centers 24/7 through strategically placed cameras, HID card access, biometric scanners, and on-site security personnel.

Cabinet/Racks– Physical unit to house customer devices in a data center. Locking cabinets and racks with scalable power can safely host valuable equipment.

Cages– Mesh enclosed areas that are occupied by a single customer. Internap provides an optimum, cost-effective area that is calculated based on your specific requirements.

Scalable Power Density – Power in kW per unit area. Scalable power density up to 18kW per cab is available, allowing for cost-effective, flexible solutions.

SOC2 – An independent, professional audit of security, availability, process integrity, privacy and confidentiality. Data centers with SOC 2 certification offer stringent control systems that safeguard customer data and resources.

To discuss your specific data center requirements and learn how to customize the best colocation, managed hosting, or cloud solution for your company, contact Internap today.

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Jun 18, 2013

Industry news: cloud and colocation services offer data protection and security

Ansley Kilgore

Whether you’re trying to protect your data from a natural disaster, or concerned about meeting compliance or regulatory requirements for data storage, colocation and cloud services can provide peace of mind for your business. While there are many reasons to take advantage of colocation services, improved security and data protection can be some of the most important.

Below is a collection of articles to provide insight into the security capabilities of colocation and cloud services.

NIST releases cloud security documentation
The National Institute of Standards and Technology recently revealed a new standard document designed to accelerate cloud adoption in government settings. The guidelines are focused on helping public sector organizations establish cloud computing use models that are secure enough to meet stringent government requirements.

Colocation hosting offers value as a data protection strategy
Colocation providers offer remote storage, network security, firewalls and physical protections for your data. Access to your servers can be better controlled in a secure data center than in most office buildings. Colocation services can also help control access to your internal networks, making sure that only those who are authorized can access confidential data and company information.

Active Hurricane season predicted — colocation can be an asset
Colocation providers that offer complete infrastructure redundancy help minimize the risk of data loss in the event of a disaster. Data centers with reliable N+1 design and concurrent maintainability, such as Internap’s New York Metro data center, can protect against outages. When evaluating data center providers, make sure their facilities have the right infrastructure design and preventative maintenance in place so that your data and equipment are protected if disaster strikes. Since natural disasters are unpredictable, no data center can guarantee that your servers won’t go down, but data center facilities and colocation services can be a key part of your disaster recovery strategy.

Keep security in mind when choosing a cloud provider
The public cloud created security concerns initially, because multiple organizations were sharing resources from the same cluster of servers. If one company experienced a breach within its virtual machine, it was possible that other organizations sharing the same resources could also be affected. However, with dedicated private cloud options and secure networks, cloud providers can successfully protect data and avert threats.

For up-to-date information on IT industry news and trends, check out Internap’s Industry News section.

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Jun 11, 2013

Los Angeles data center boasts high power density, performance and LEED certification

Ansley Kilgore

Los Angeles data centerWhen evaluating colocation providers, finding data center space that meets performance and cost requirements can be challenging. Facilities built using green design techniques with sustainability in mind are able to offer enterprise IP, managed hosting and colocation services without sacrificing environmental responsibility and efficiency. Internap’s Los Angeles data center demonstrates a commitment to sustainability while meeting customer demand for industry-leading colocation services.

Internap’s LA facility was planned in accordance with green design techniques, and followed the Energy Star Target Finder guidelines to ensure mechanical and electrical efficiency. This resulted in a 47% reduction in energy use. One of the largest costs associated with operating a data center is power, and using sustainable energy techniques can help reduce operating costs while meeting customer needs for high performance and availability.

As a result of green design planning, Internap’s LA data center has been awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The facility already holds a Green Globe® certification, which it achieved shortly after opening in September 2012.

Some of the services available in the LA facility include:

High density power of up to 18kW per rack, allowing businesses to “upgrade in place” without having to pay more for a larger colocation footprint.

Hybrid hosting allows businesses to seamlessly connect colocation, managed hosting and cloud environments through a secure Layer 2 VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network).

Concurrent maintainability and resiliency ensure maximum uptime for your environment. More than just N+1, our infrastructure system is designed for the concurrent maintainability of generators, UPS and cooling modules.

As part of its commitment to reducing the impact on the environment, the LA data center was built with pre- and post-consumer recycled materials. During renovation of the building, Internap reused more than 99% of exterior structural components. The facility was also designed to reduce energy consumption through the use of high-efficiency lighting, automated lighting controls, air-side economizer cooling controls and high-efficiency equipment.

Thanks to green design planning, the LA data center is able to provide high performance and high availability without sacrificing environmental responsibility. When evaluating data center providers, choose one that demonstrates a commitment to sustainability, energy efficiency and performance.

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Jan 17, 2013

Free-to-play model emphasizes need for data center services

INAP

need for data center servicesThe massively multiplayer online RPG (MMORPG) genre has thrived in two different payment models — subscription and free to play. If you look at the industry as a whole, it appears as if the subscription model laid the groundwork for the MMORPG, while the free-to-play style has helped the genre expand. However, there is a bit of subtlety to the interplay between subscription and free-to-play models. These nuances provide vital insight into the state of the video game industry and emphasize the importance of colocation and data center services in the sector.

Looking at MMORPG models
If you make a dedicated effort to seek out MMORPGs, you will not find too many games that still use the subscription model. Two leaders in the sector are “World of Warcraft” and “Star Wars: The Old Republic.” WoW has lasted an extended period of time as a leader in the genre and carved a major niche for itself. “The Old Republic,” on the other hand, has struggled to maintain an audience using the subscription model and transitioned to a free-to-play system on November 15, 2012.

These decisions make sense if you look closely at the MMORPG’s emergence. Initially, the MMORPG made sense as a subscription-based model because developers would release high-quality content and update it frequently. Over time, however, more developers realized they could release generally lower-quality games as MMORPGs, and make money by selling in-game items.

As this trend progressed, the subscription model became the choice for high-end MMORPGs, while free-to-play was used primarily for low- and medium-range titles that have a strong place in the market or high-end games that were losing players. “World of Warcraft” was initially released in the heyday of this industry climate. “The Old Republic,” on the other hand, came out toward the end of this cycle.

Considering the economics of free-to-play
In the free-to-play MMORPG model, you make your money by getting users to buy in-game items, such as hairstyles for their characters, special outfits or gameplay-related items, such as weapons or special tools. This provides consistent income for developers and publishers, allowing them to support operations. However, you can’t predict revenue as easily with a free-to-play game as you can with a subscription solution because you never really know how many people will buy items in the game.

As a result, developers and publishers hosting free-to-play content often have to find the least expensive method possible to maintain services. By turning to a colocation provider, organizations gain access to a number of systems that enable better services while providing access to more cost-efficient technologies. Therefore, third-party data center solutions can serve as a strategic asset for online video game providers seeking a competitive advantage over their peers.

To learn more about how data center and colocation services can contribute to the success of your online game, read our white paper, Five Consideration for Building Online Gaming Infrastructure.

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