To build the data center of the future, join an ecosystem
Let’s say you’re getting ready to open a retail store, and you’re choosing your location. Would you rather base the store in a residential neighborhood, away from other businesses, or seek space in a shopping mall or plaza? What about opening a doctor’s office, or a consulting firm – would you choose an office park over a remote area?
Businesses almost always draw power from numbers. A mall isn’t unlike the innovation ecosystems that have recently taken root in various industries, from cloud technology to delivery services. Some companies, such as Apple and Microsoft, are now taking the ecosystem model a step further and building communities that place their products and services at the center – and leave plenty of room for third-party growth.
This shift is a long time coming. In particular, the IT and security industries are ripe for change and consolidation, and that consolidation could greatly benefit end users. Security and IT pros are tired of operating within a fractured ecosystem, and as a result, they tend to seek technologies that avoid vendor lock-in and encourage collaboration with open APIs. These preferences drive the growth of platforms such as Microsoft Office 365 and Azure Cloud, and help differentiate tomorrow’s ecosystem-driven industries from yesterday’s single-purpose businesses.
Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow and research director with Stanford University, Duke University and Singularity University, recently discussed the value of ecosystems and the shift from pipelines to platforms in the Washington Post. As Wadhwa writes, “Building platforms requires a vision, but does not require predicting the future. What you need is to understand the opportunity to build the mall instead of the store and be flexible in how you get there.”
Not every industry is ready for an ecosystem. Core regulations may stand in the way, or technologies may have not yet evolved to support an ecosystem’s core tenets. In the case of security and IT, such regulations are no longer posing a roadblock – instead, it’s up to vendors and users in the space to demand change, and make it happen. It’s time to stop dealing with today’s fractured ecosystem, and instead approach both industries with a wider lens.
Data security will never be possible if the industry is only thinking about itself. Instead, the individual companies struggling with security issues and the partners and technologies making strides within the industry must be constantly taken into account.
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