The 2018 Data Center 100

The massive shift to the cloud as well as innovations including serverless computing, software-defined infrastructure and hyper-convergence are all changing the way today's data centers are designed, run and built. The explosion of data and the Internet of Things also are taking a stronger grip in the market. But solution providers are up to the challenge—creating solutions to teach customer's unique needs and IT budget and starting to sell hardware, software and services in new ways such as pay-as-you-go data center consumption models.

According to IT research firm Gartner, 10 percent of enterprise- generated data is currently created and processed outside a traditional centralized data center or cloud. By 2022, Gartner said that figure will reach 50 percent.

New technologies are at the center of the data center evolution. The Internet of Things is disrupting the data center though a boom in data and connected devices, giving rise to the edge computing phenomenon. Customers are looking at micro data centers—self-contained, stand-alone rack-level systems at the edge—to gain a competitive advantage.

Solution providers also are saving customers millions by driving new software-de¬fined WAN sales that slash IT costs and simplify data center network operations.

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"SD-WAN is completely changing the way businesses operate because we're doing so much more with less," said Frank Cittadino, CEO of Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider QOS Consulting. "We're automating the network function, removing the complexity of expensive engineers, and connecting anywhere in the world to any data center that can take a VPN tunnel with a click of a button."

The data center market includes IT titans like Dell EMC, Cisco Systems and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which are offering legacy and next-generation technologies to meet the data center demands of 2018. However, there's also a plethora of startups like Apstra and Nutanix that are striving to evolve data centers for their partners.

The Data Center 100 list shines a light on the key vendors powering today's data centers, offering a guide for solution providers to help keep their strategies—and their partnerships— thriving. The list includes four categories: infrastructure, the vendors that offer the hardware and software that make up the data center; management, the software and hardware vendors that provide monitoring and managing solutions for the data center; services, the companies that offer a variety of data center services that customers can use instead of purchasing their own assets; and software-defined, the providers of software and automation technologies that create greater flexibility and scalability in data centers.

20 Data Center Services Providers
As part of the 2018 Data Center 100, CRN looks at vendors offering services such as secure connections to hyper-scale clouds, asset management, managed hosted, co-location, network interconnect capabilities and disaster recovery.

20 Data Center Management Providers
As part of the Data Center 100, CRN looks at vendors offering the right management tools help businesses and solution providers ensure data centers run efficiently, and warn administrators and users of issues that might impact their optimization.

40 Data Center Infrastructure Providers
As part of the 2018 Data Center 100, CRN looks at companies providing the data center infrastructure that allows operators and their customers to run applications with maximum performance and efficiency.

20 Software-Defined Data Center Providers
As part of the Data Center 100, CRN looks at vendors providing the technology for software and cloud-like consumption models to meet today's demands.