It’s assumed that Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are leaders of innovation in Data Center Industry. As believed, which is not wrong, these companies design much of the hardware and software that they run in their own massive data centres across the globe.
There is additional fact to it which we cannot afford to ignore. The big cloud players don’t have a monopoly on data centre disruption. Smaller players are impressively doing great in their bit to make data centres more efficient, more adaptable, and easier to manage.
Well it is true that many corporate applications are moving to a public cloud like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, we are still early in the cloud era and many businesses still want to control their own infrastructure for some jobs.
Let’s talk about giants other than these famous giants. See for example what Equinix is doing with its home-grown data center management software. This software gives customers a view into how their workloads are operating and the physical conditions at the various Equinix facilities. Equinix operates about 179 data centers around the world used by many customers.
But there are other interesting infrastructure plays out there. Backblaze is a feisty start-up that made waves by claiming to store customers’ archival data storage data cheaper than any of the name-brand cloud providers. (Anecdotal accounts from customers back that up.) The company builds its own storage hardware to facilitate that and has even made the design specifications available to anyone who wants to build their own.
The San Mateo, Calif. company launched its B2 storage service a year ago, and many are impressed. Because Back blaze specializes in data backup, it has a set usage pattern which lets it tailor its offering for that sort of work, says Sebastian Stadil, CEO of Scalr, a San Francisco cloud monitoring company.The newer B2 service, however, can be used for any sort of storage, Backblaze CEO Gleb Budman told Fortune.
“Since the work is so specific and constant, Backblaze can be optimized for it, while Amazon’s S3 storage has to accommodate lots of different use cases including sudden spikes and traffic bursts,” he said.
Cloud storage provider Dropbox is also innovating. Up until last year, Dropbox user data had resided in Amazon’s cloud. But is now in Dropbox data centers in the U.S. Last week the company said it is rolling out a worldwide private network and load balancers of its own to speed file access for the 75% of its half-billion users living outside the U.S. (Dropbox still uses AWS data centers in countries that mandate that user data stay local.)
Most of us know Netflix (nflx, -0.45%) as the leader in streaming video. But the company has also made a name for itself among techies for a building a set of key software tools that help it run on AWS more efficiently. Netflix itself finished its transition to AWS servers last year, and has made a practice of filling gaps in those services with its own software, which is available on Github, a sort of library for freely available software.
All in all, there are lot of start-ups taking the uncharted routs of innovating data center industry either by changing software or by remoulding the infrastructure. They’re up and roaring that the giants mould is not the right fit for many corporate clients looking for an affordable yet efficient data outsourcing solution.
Here’s What LinkedIn Could Mean for Microsoft Cloud
LinkedIn earns mention—even though it is now owned by Microsoft—because it still seems to be pursuing its own data center agenda. It is, for example, backing the Open19 Foundation, a group that is pushing companies to build a new generation of data center hardware that will fit into existing data center racks.
As my colleague Jonathan Vanian wrote last month, businesses use the racks to house their servers and routers. Since that gear tends to be stacked one atop the other, its important to have a standard rack for those devices. Complicating matters is that another standard from the Open Compute Foundation, backed by Facebook (fb, -0.04%), Google (goog, -0.99%), as well as LinkedIn parent Microsoft, is about building larger servers which will not fit into that mold.
As Yuval Bashar, LinkedIn principal engineer and president of Open19 told Fortune, the Open Compute Foundation may be great for the biggest of the big web companies like Google but is less applicable for the many smaller businesses that still run their own data centers.
Note: (June 30, 2017 8:23 p.m. ET) This story was updated to add Backblaze comment.