Organizations have turned to co-location in a bid to rapidly expand their IT capacity and capabilities during the pandemic, as building out on-premise has become so challenging.

That’s according to Marc Naese, senior vice president of network infrastructure at Panduit, talking to DCD’s George Rocket in the latest DCD>Talks video.

“Customers’ preference right now is co-location because they don’t have the ability, necessarily, to build on-premise and it’s not their preferred methodology. We’ve already experienced that shift to cloud over the last several years, and this has now accelerated because it’s an easier option for these customers while they are remote.

“So we’ve seen a lot of customers moving towards cloud for their IoT applications. We’re seeing a lot of hyperscale companies and others leveraging MTDC [multi-tenant datacenters] because it’s an easy ‘turn on and scale up’ option. MTDC has been a very hot market, one of the few that is growing drastically at such a challenging time,” Naese told Rocket.

However, for a provider like Panduit, the challenge has been one of sourcing and logistics: “That’s been a big focus area [for us]. How can we ensure we have the right products in the right place to be able to deliver quickly for that MTDC space? Now we’re in an ‘accelerated scale’ mode, which is putting a lot of constraints on everybody’s supply chains.”

As a result, organizations are maxxing out network and fiber densities in a bid, not just to keep up, but to future-proof their operations as far as possible.

“People are deploying 3,456 fibers in a bundle in hyperscale markets, and even in co-location markets we’re seeing that trend. The quantities of fiber density is so much higher than what it used to be… people want to put it in once, but realize that they need more capacity down the road, so let’s just pull it once and do it the right way. In copper we’re seeing similar trends as well,” said Naese.

As a result, demand across the board has exploded, he added, to match: “The amount of density and power requirements that we’re seeing in cabinets is absolutely exploding and will continue to. So power has been a really big area for us.”

The big question is whether such demand will continue after the Covid-19 pandemic. However, Panduit has established its own laboratories to work-on longer term developments.

“The labs consist of various [types of] expertise from AV to copper cabling to fiber optics to a thermal lab, to name just a few… The focus is on the next big bets – products that are going to drive significant amounts of revenue for us over the next five years.

“It’s things that we might develop today and launch tomorrow, but not see revenues for another year or two as the market develops,” said Naese.

Some of these big bets include single-paired Ethernet (10base-T1L) , power infrastructure to provide greater scale, and even just simplified cable management and routing techniques to help organizations manage the new scale of IT that they need to run.