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Brian Johnston, QTS Chief Technology Officer July 21, 2017

Hyperscale: The New Standard for Social Media Enterprises

The word “social” has taken on an entirely new meaning in the past decade. Transcending the definition that relates primarily to in-person interactions, social is forever tied to the online behavior of both individuals and organizations. Personally, I use a number of platforms to connect with various groups in my everyday life. For example, I use Snapchat… as it is one of the best ways to stay connected with my kids! We use it to send money, share locations and capture experiences.

I was recently on a hike and “snapped” the whole way up, sharing my experience along the entire journey. One of the thoughts I had along the way, besides how steep the climb was, involved what it takes to capture, edit and share these short “stories” around the globe in seconds. The amount of power, cloud compute and networking infrastructure needed to support this online behavior is unimaginable.

IT companies and data center providers are continually evolving to support how consumers behave online and social media activity is a crucial component of that behavior. Techopedia defines social media as “a catch-all term for a variety of internet applications that allow users to create content and interact with each other.” These users include a global community of individuals, government agencies, corporations, nonprofits and businesses of every size. Social media is not just where we store special memories, its where we turn for news, political involvement, philanthropic opportunities and community. Arguably, social networks have become the most dominate force since the arrival of the Web 2.0 era.

The amount of users engaging with social networks is astronomical. Forbes reports that Facebook has reached 2 billion monthly users. Meanwhile, Instagram has 600 million users. Add to that 301 million monthly Snapchatters and 66 million Tweeters and you can gain a sense of how digital “social” activity is going to just keep increasing. (And that’s not even counting some of the more narrowly focused networks and applications, like Pinterest and LinkedIn, that have tremendous engagement in their own right.)

Social media is one of the driving forces behind an emerging trend: U.S. consumers now spend more time in applications than watching TV. According to Techcrunch, that is nearly 18 percent more time in apps- totaling approximately 198 minutes each day. During those more than three hours, every like, share, view, snap, comment and message produce several thousand data points.

Every action we take on social media is recorded, stored, catalogued and eventually analyzed to produce a more enriched user experience and tailored advertiser content. Our social behavior - all of our photos, snaps, posts and even how we scroll through stories and engage with content, -  is generating an incredible amount of data. Social media companies are rapidly expanding their IT footprints and infrastructure to try and keep pace with this data creation.

Furthermore, these networks and applications are becoming more sophisticated and complex, introducing new features, smarter newsfeeds, more interactive functions, and, of course, new advertiser analytics and opportunities.

On top of that, social media enterprises are continually innovating to create new user experiences, like Facebook Live and Instagram Stories, to ensure they retain the interest (and engagement) of their users. So, in addition to the massive scale requirements needed to support user activity, social media companies need burstable power, space, network capabilities and personnel to support new innovation.

This is hyperscale. The ability to provision the resources necessary to scale rapidly without disrupting ongoing operations. Data center providers are in a unique position to serve this market if they can offer crucial support in key areas:

• Space and Power - Hyperscale companies require rapid deployment capabilities, with the fast provisioning of 2, 6, 20 or even 50+ megawatts.
• Agility and Flexibility - The ability to quickly expand, reposition and change how resources are utilized is vital.
• Advanced Visibility and Operational Support- Hyperscale CIOs need maximum insight and control into how their environment is performing and the expert support required to meet issue resolution, maintenance and other operational activities.

QTS has been innovating for the needs of hyperscale customers for over 10 years. As the industry’s only fully-integrated data center, managed hosting and cloud services company, we can offer seamless, multi-megawatt deployments to high-growth companies at competitive economics. Learn more about QTS Hyperscale and contact us to learn more about how our HyperBlocks can support your growth strategy.
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