Rockwell Uses Colocation to Move to the Cloud


Rockwell Uses Colocation to Move to the Cloud

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Rockwell Automation Inc., a provider of industrial automation and information services, is turning to colocation as a strategy to ensure data security as it moves to the cloud.

Colocation refers to the practice of a company locating their servers in data centers where they can connect to cloud service providers. In this case, Rockwell Automation is locating equipment in data centers where it can directly connect to AT&T’s cloud services. The practice enables a faster and more direct connection and also makes it possible to create a virtual private cloud, where sensitive corporate data remains under the company’s control. The setup has become increasingly important as corporations pursue so-called hybrid cloud arrangements.

In 2015, Rockwell Automation’s IT department faced growing complaints that engineers were having trouble collaborating due to the large size of CAD/CAM files, said Jerry Fox, vice president and global chief information officer at the company. Mr. Fox said he would have needed millions of dollars to build the type of network that could zip these files around the world. Mr. Fox was aware of cloud storage offerings but he was concerned with security since these new product designs are part of the company’s core intellectual property.

“Security is number one for us, our product designs are our most critical intellectual property,” said Mr. Fox.

Rockwell is using AT&T’s virtual private network service combined with AT&T’s Storage as a Service so employees at the company’s global design centers can share and collaborate on large design files from afar.

Since Rockwell connects directly into AT&T’s network at the colocation data center, employees can access the cloud services without traffic running over the public Internet. Instead, the company’s proprietary designs remain within a virtual private cloud for added layers of security.

Market research firm Gartner is telling clients that they need to have a migration path to the cloud because more IT environments are moving that way. “We get organizations that want to put as much in the public cloud as possible but they’re not quite ready to let the data leave their data centers,” said Mindy Cancila, a research director at Gartner.

Those companies typically colocate equipment with providers in data centers and create virtual private clouds where they can keep control of the data but use the computing capabilities of a particular cloud service, she said.

The availability of these colocation arrangements are encouraging CIOs to start down the path of adopting infrastructure as a service. The worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 16.5% in 2016 to $204 billion, up from $175 billion in 2015, according to Gartner Inc. The highest growth will come from infrastructure as a service, which is projected to grow 38.4% in 2016.


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