Modular Data Center Providers and Go-to-Market Strategy (GTM) for Growth
Are you part of a modular data center provider or operator?
Do you work on a go-to-market team that needs a better GTM strategy to achieve your company’s growth goals? Across all relevant areas -- including sales, marketing, customer success, product, channel partnerships, and executive leadership?
With the growing popularity of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), the Internet of Things (IoT), hybrid cloud services, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and software as a service (SaaS), the need to securely store this information is also rising.
However, efficiently and effectively reaching their target market has often been a go-to-market challenge for modular data centers.
Modular data centers are innovative and scalable solutions designed to address the growing demand for data processing and storage flexibly and efficiently. These data centers are constructed using pre-fabricated modules or containers that house all the necessary components, including servers, cooling systems, power supplies, and security measures. This modular approach allows organizations to rapidly deploy or expand their data center infrastructure cost-effectively without requiring lengthy and costly construction projects.
One of the key advantages of modular data centers is their mobility. These self-contained units can be easily transported and deployed in various locations, making them ideal for organizations with dynamic infrastructure needs.
Modular data centers are also highly energy-efficient, incorporating advanced cooling and power management technologies to optimize resource utilization and reduce operational costs. This adaptability and efficiency make modular data centers popular for industries ranging from IT and telecommunications to disaster recovery and edge computing, enabling businesses to stay agile and responsive in an increasingly data-driven world.
Modular data centers also improve reliability and scalability. Organizations can add or remove modules as their requirements change, ensuring they always have the right computing power and storage capacity. This modular approach minimizes downtime during expansion or maintenance, as each module can operate independently. Overall, modular data centers offer a forward-thinking solution to the ever-evolving demands of the digital age, providing a flexible and resilient infrastructure foundation for businesses of all sizes.
Comparing Modular vs. Edge vs. Colocation Data Centers
Modular, edge, and colocation data centers are three distinct approaches to data center infrastructure, each catering to specific needs and scenarios.
Modular Data Centers
These data centers excel in flexibility and scalability. They consist of prefabricated modules that can be easily expanded or relocated as requirements change.
Modular data centers are ideal for organizations with dynamic infrastructure needs or those looking for rapid deployment. They are energy-efficient, typically employing advanced cooling and power management technologies. However, they might not be as suitable for ultra-low-latency applications, where edge data centers come into play.
Edge Data Centers
Edge data centers are strategically positioned closer to end-users or IoT devices to minimize latency and improve real-time processing capabilities.
They are smaller in scale compared to traditional data centers but distributed across various locations.
Edge data centers are vital for applications like autonomous vehicles, IoT, and content delivery, where immediate data processing and response times are critical. Their compact size and geographical dispersion enable faster access to data, enhancing user experiences.
Colocation Data Centers
Colocation data centers offer a shared infrastructure model where multiple businesses rent space, power, and cooling within a single facility. They are cost-effective, as organizations can leverage economies of scale and shared resources.
Colocation facilities often provide robust security and redundancy features. However, they may need more control and customization found in modular or edge data centers.
Colocation is an attractive option for businesses seeking a reliable and secure environment for their IT infrastructure without the burden of managing a dedicated data center.
The choice between modular, edge, or colocation data centers depends on an organization's specific requirements, whether it's flexibility and scalability (modular), ultra-low latency (edge), or cost-effectiveness and shared resources (colocation). Many organizations may combine these data center types to meet their diverse needs.
Who Needs Modular Data Centers?
Modular data centers are well-suited for a range of companies and industries with varying infrastructure needs:
- Growing Businesses: Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) experiencing rapid growth often find modular data centers appealing. These businesses may lack the resources for large-scale data center construction but require scalable solutions to accommodate expanding IT requirements. Modular data centers allow them to incrementally increase their computing capacity and storage as needed, aligning with their growth trajectory.
- Remote or Harsh Environments: Industries operating in remote or challenging environments, such as oil and gas exploration, mining, or disaster relief, benefit from modular data centers. These modules are designed to withstand extreme conditions and can be (relatively) easily transported to remote locations. Modular data centers ensure critical data processing capabilities remain available in challenging environments where traditional data center construction might be impractical.
- Edge Computing: With the rise of edge computing applications like IoT and real-time analytics, organizations need data processing capabilities closer to the point of data generation. Due to their mobility and scalability, modular data centers are ideal for deploying edge infrastructure in distributed locations. Industries like healthcare, manufacturing, and autonomous vehicles can leverage modular solutions to reduce latency and enhance the performance of their applications at the edge.
Modular data centers cater to a wide array of businesses and sectors seeking agility, scalability, and adaptability in their data center infrastructure, whether to support growth, operate in challenging environments, or deliver low-latency services at the edge.
Where Modular Data Centers Are Located
Modular data centers can be strategically located to meet diverse business needs and operational requirements:
- Urban Areas: In urban environments, modular data centers are often found within the city limits or its immediate vicinity. These locations are chosen to cater to businesses and data-dependent industries in densely populated regions. Urban modular data centers ensure low-latency access to data and services for companies in metropolitan areas, meeting the demands of digital ecosystems, cloud services, and content delivery networks.
- Remote and Harsh Environments: Modular data centers are frequently deployed in remote and challenging settings, such as remote oil drilling sites, military bases, or disaster-stricken areas. These locations require data processing capabilities where traditional data center construction is impractical. Modular units can be quickly transported to these remote locations and set up to provide critical computing infrastructure.
- Edge Locations: The concept of edge computing drives the placement of modular data centers closer to the edge of networks and nearer to the point of data generation. Edge modular data centers can be found in various settings, including industrial facilities, retail stores, or cellular towers. Edge data centers enable real-time data processing and analytics for applications like IoT, autonomous vehicles, and content caching, reducing latency and improving responsiveness.
Modular data centers get strategically positioned based on the specific needs of businesses and industries. They can be located in urban areas for low-latency services, in remote environments to support critical operations, or at the edge to facilitate real-time processing, catering to a wide range of data processing and storage requirements.
What Enterprises Are Looking for When Choosing the Right Modular Data Center Provider
When enterprises are considering a modular data center provider, several critical factors come into play:
- Scalability and Flexibility: Enterprises require data center solutions that adapt to their changing needs. A key consideration is the provider's ability to offer scalable modules that can be easily added or removed as the business evolves. Flexibility is essential to ensure the data center can grow with the enterprise's requirements without significant disruptions or costly overhauls.
- Reliability and Redundancy: Uptime and data availability are paramount. Enterprises seek modular data center providers that offer robust reliability and redundancy features. This includes redundant power supplies, cooling systems, and backup generators. A provider's track record for minimizing downtime and ensuring data integrity is crucial.
- Energy Efficiency: Sustainability and energy efficiency are increasingly important considerations. Enterprises look for providers implementing green technologies and practices to minimize their carbon footprint. Efficient cooling systems, renewable energy integration, and innovative power management solutions can significantly impact a modular data center's operational costs and environmental impact.
- Security and Compliance: Data security is a top priority. Enterprises want providers that adhere to stringent security protocols, including physical security measures like biometric access control and surveillance, as well as cybersecurity measures to protect against digital threats. Compliance with industry-specific regulations, such as HIPAA for healthcare or GDPR for privacy, is also a critical concern.
- Cost-Effectiveness: Cost considerations extend beyond the initial investment. Enterprises evaluate the total cost of ownership (TCO), including upfront costs and ongoing operational expenses. They look for providers that offer competitive pricing, predictable billing structures, and transparent pricing models that align with their budgetary constraints.
- Support and Service Level Agreements (SLAs): Enterprises seek providers that offer responsive customer support and robust SLAs. A dependable service and support framework ensures that issues or maintenance requirements are addressed promptly, minimizing downtime and disruptions to business operations.
Enterprises seek modular data center providers that deliver scalability, reliability, energy efficiency, security, cost-effectiveness, and excellent support. The choice of a provider should align with the specific needs and priorities of the enterprise, ensuring a data center solution that meets current and future requirements.
Why Modular Data Center Providers Need to Modernize Their Product Offerings and Go-to-Market Game Plan (Disrupt or Be Disrupted)
The need for modular data center providers to modernize their product offerings and go-to-market strategies stems from the rapidly evolving landscape of data center technology and business demands.
To thrive in this competitive environment, they must embrace innovation, adapt to changing customer expectations, or risk being disrupted by more agile competitors.
- Technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace. As businesses increasingly rely on data-driven operations, they demand data center solutions to keep up with the latest advancements. Modular data center providers must continually update their product offerings to incorporate cutting-edge technologies like AI-driven cooling, energy-efficient infrastructure, and enhanced security features. Failing to do so could render their offerings obsolete and unable to meet the performance and efficiency standards expected by their clients.
- The market is becoming more crowded and competitive. New entrants, including hyperscale cloud providers and edge computing specialists, are challenging traditional data center providers. To remain relevant, modular data center providers must disrupt their own business models by exploring new markets and partnerships. This approach could involve expanding into edge computing, edge data centers, or offering turnkey solutions for emerging applications such as 5G networks and IoT.
- Environmental and sustainability concerns are driving a shift toward eco-friendly data center solutions. Modular data center providers must embrace green technologies and practices to appeal to environmentally-conscious customers and meet regulatory requirements. Modernizing their offerings to prioritize energy efficiency, renewable energy integration, and reduced carbon footprints will address sustainability concerns and provide cost savings in the long run.
According to Gartner research, 83% of business-to-business (B2B) purchase decisions happen before a potential buyer even talks to a seller. This process includes conducting research, comparing options, and evaluating pricing.
McKinsey & Company found that between 70% and 80% of B2B decision-makers now prefer to make decisions using digital means, like websites and online resources.
In its B2B Thought Leadership Impact Report, LinkedIn and Edelman concluded that although thought leadership is still crucial for engaging customers, it's become challenging to stand out amid all the noise.
Have you ever been told to watch out for the six most dangerous words?
"We've always done it this way."
That mindset served the taxi industry poorly when Uber and Lyft came along. Blockbuster Video didn't fare well against Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming giants. And remember when Motorola and BlackBerry dominated the mobile market? They fell behind when smartphones took over.
And what about Microsoft? They didn't do so hot when they timidly entered the mobile device space while trying to protect their desktop OS franchise.
So, here's a critical question for modular data center providers:
Are you ready to be the disruptor rather than getting disrupted? And should you rethink your strategy for growth before it's too late?
To avoid being left behind, consider two undeniable realities:
- Your ideal clients only want to spend time with your sales team once they're far along in their decision-making journey. According to Gartner, that point is at 83%. Prospects actively now avoid speaking with sales reps during most of their research.
- Closing a sale isn't the endgame; it's just the start. In a world where customer happiness, retention, and growth are crucial, selling to the wrong clients can stall your company’s growth. To succeed, you need everyone on your go-to-market team—sales, marketing, customer success, product, channel partnerships, and leadership—to be on the same page with account retention and expansion.
Because technology is changing quickly, and customers want new ways of purchasing, modular data center providers need to update how they market and sell their services. If they do this, they can become flexible and focused on customers, providing the fast, adjustable, and unique solutions businesses need today.
Conversely, those who resist change may struggle to compete with more adaptable players in the dynamic landscape of modular data centers. A "disrupt or be disrupted" mentality is essential to thrive in this environment.
The reasons why modular data center providers need to modernize their product offerings and go-to-market strategies are clear.
Stagnation in the face of technological advancements, growing competition, and evolving customer expectations could lead to disruption by more innovative players in the industry. To succeed, modular data center providers must be willing to disrupt their own traditional approaches and proactively adapt to the changing landscape of data center technology and business needs.
About the Data Center Sales & Marketing Institute (DCSMI) and How It Empowers Go-to-Market Teams at Modular Data Center Providers
If you’re part of a go-to-market team for a modular data center provider, you play a pivotal role in the success of your data center-related business.
You and your colleagues ensure that products and services meet customer needs, get effectively promoted, and generate revenue in a competitive market.
Your team uses a combination of market research, strategic planning, collaboration, and customer-centricity to achieve its goals.
The Data Center Sales & Marketing Institute (DCSMI) is a boutique business advisory, consulting, and training firm for data center providers as well as IT, facilities, and sales and marketing companies that partner with data center providers.
DCSMI understands the unique go-to-market challenges and opportunities that modular data center GTM teams face in this rapidly evolving data center marketplace, and we're here to help you excel.
Welcome to DCSMI, your strategic partner in navigating the complex world of data center go-to-market strategy and the role of GTM teams.