Gartner, Inc. (IT) may be making the case for cloud services providers (CSPs) easier than many realize by recommending that global organizations limit data centers to two per continent of major business activity.

According to the IT research firm, "global organizations have too many data centers in too many countries," adding that these organizations can save costs and optimize service delivery by following a particular topology.

"It's a fact that most global organizations run too many data centers in too many countries," said Rakesh Kumar, research vice president at Gartner, in a prepared statement. "This is normally the result of business expansion, either organically or through acquisition over many years."

Kumar went on: "While the logic of business growth makes sense, having too many data centers results in excessive capital and operational costs, an overly complex architecture and, in many cases, a lack of business-IT agility."

Dante Orsini, senior vice president of business development with iland, concurred with Kumar's assessment.

"Mr. Kumar’s recommendations to enterprises to simplify their datacenter topology in order to save costs and optimize service delivery coincides perfectly with the requirements we are responding to everyday with our clients," he said.

To solve these issues, Gartner's recommends that global organizations follow a "twin data center topology for each continent of major business activity."

"The twin data center topology provides many benefits, such as allowing for an adequate level of disaster recovery," Kumar pointed out. "This can be through an active/active configuration where each data center splits the production and development work and can fail over the load of the other site in the event of a disaster."

Additionally, Gartner suggested that this approach enables central IT organizations to more effectively manage data center sites, since, obviously, these sites have been limited and are of a significant size.

But that's not all. To address business expansion concerns, Gartner said that as a business grows, increased IT needs will come from existing sites, resulting in remote sites closing "as part of the initial acquisition process and not deferred because of complexity, lack of decision making or organizational politics."

On the other hand, there's another angle to look at. While many global organizations will typically own all of the sites, Gartner acknowledges that "it makes sense to use a hosted site that provides the physical building, power and cooling, while the global organization owns the IT assets."

If no assets are owned, Gartner said, a service management contract could be appropriate. A third party will then provide IT services through two data centers in a region.

Carbonite Datacenter Operations Director Brion L’Heureux agreed to Gartner's alternative of global organizations leveraging hosted sites.
 
"While it may make sense for companies who own and operate their own data centers to limit them to two per continent, there are other ways to avoid the cost and complexity -- such as using hosted data centers," he said.

Orsini called Gartner's recommendations a "movement [that] opens the door to crafting meaningful strategies about what parts of data and applications belong in owned data centers and what part of businesses are better served through third-party cloud solutions."

Gartner reported last month that about half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017, acknowledging that hybrid cloud computing is at the same place today that private cloud was three years ago.