There are many popular brands here in the United States that are also well-known across the world: fast food restaurant chains, athletic apparel vendors, technology companies and many more. However, these companies didn’t start out with a global presence – for most, it happened gradually.
Businesses interested in expanding their footprint into international markets look to obtain the benefits of such growth – including increased revenue, enhanced exposure and brand recognition, global partnerships and a more diversified product and/or service offering – but they also face challenges in making that expansion occur successfully.
Resources for Redundancy
As manager of global colocation product management for CenturyLink, I speak with a lot of people whose companies want to expand into new markets, both nationally and internationally. However, their data centers are typically far smaller than those of a multi-tenant colocation provider, and it’s difficult for them to get the funding to pay for a facility with a high level of resiliency.
Some have smaller, less resilient server rooms and data centers scattered about, making it especially hard for them to get applications that require more resiliency in the exact location they need them. Others may have smaller, less redundant facilities along with perhaps one highly resilient, centralized facility. As a result, most want to move to a colocation provider that has a facility that can be leveraged with resiliency across all critical systems in multiple geographies and also enables their cloud applications to be as close to their end users as possible.
Most companies expanding internationally like to deploy at a single point of presence to test a specific market, especially if there are some legal hurdles or political concerns. They’ll go to an interconnection hot bed where the colocation may be a bit more expensive than going to a facility that’s away from a major city or a secondary city, allowing them to maximize their radius of coverage. In the U.S., we see a lot of European companies going to either Ashburn, Virginia or Manhattan to get access to as many carriers from one facility as possible. They can get access to as many eyeballs as possible rather than just going full force into a new market and deploying in multiple geographies.
Looking abroad in Europe, business are deploying in London, Amsterdam or Frankfurt, the hot beds of interconnection for the region. In Asia, it would be either Singapore for Southern Asia or Hong Kong for Northern Asia. When it comes to China, I see a lot of customers deploying a colocation environment in Hong Kong that’s directly tethered to an environment in China where they could deploy virtualized resources. In case anything goes wrong and there is a political flashpoint, they can pull the virtualized environment back to Hong Kong.
In my next blog, we’ll discuss specific IT items and costs companies should consider when expanding into international markets, and regulatory issues they may face in those markets. To learn more about the advantages of scalability and expansion through colocation, please read our executive brief, “Data Center Expansion Options.”