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DATACENTRES: DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS?

ByDave Stopher

Dec 20, 2017 #Datacente

Choosing the right data centre for your organisation has never been more important, an IBM report this year found that ‘every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data’. That’s a lot of data by anyone’s standard.

 

This number is likely to continue to increase with even more data being produced, consumed, stored and analysed. This vast amount of data needs to be stored somewhere and data centres are the answer for most businesses, but many businesses are unclear what a data centre is or if their current solution meets their business needs?

 

We’ll explain the different types of data centre and what your considerations should be when picking one.

 

What is a data centre?

 

A data centre is a dedicated space where companies store their IT infrastructure, therefore, they are incredibly important. Managed well by a competent data centre manager they can help deliver great business results, or if done poorly, can bring even the largest multinationals to a grinding halt.

 

Data centres can store anything from simple documents, images and files to the companies entire operating system. They also come in a variety of sizes from local single racks to entire buildings depending on the businesses storage needs.

 

Now we’ve explained what a data centre is, we’ll delve into the various types.

 

The 3 Main Types of Data Centre

 

Self-Managed

 

If you want to have complete freedom and control of your data centre then self-managed is a great option for you. Servers will be stored on your own business premises giving you complete control over the hardware and software being implemented as well as security protocols.

 

Being self-managed does also mean that any upgrades or maintenance to the server, hardware and facilities will be your responsibility. Server rooms must be kept at optimal temperatures to avoid servers overheating and security measures must be put in place to avoid physical data breaches.

 

This solution works best if your business has the time, resource and storage capabilities, otherwise, colocation is a better option.

 

Colocation

 

Many refer to colocation as the best-of-both-worlds due to your business still having full ownership of the hardware and software but the servers being physically stored off-site at a third-party location.

 

For a monthly fee colocation services provide scalable storage that can increase with your business needs and physical security that can rival covert government facilities. A consideration with colocation is the physical location of the data centre, a data centre that is too far from your where your business is based will prove inconvenient.

 

For example, a London based business will ideally want a colocation centre in the city. There are many providers based in London, Telehouse London data centres are a possible solution with numerous locations across the capital offering superb security and connectivity.

 

If managing your own hardware and software isn’t feasible then managed hosting is a good choice.

 

Managed Hosting

 

The main benefit of managed hosting is that your IT infrastructure is effectively outsourced to a third-party to manage taking the burden off your organisation. Some companies prefer not to do this as it can restrict the type of content they can host and the level of security provided is uncertain.

 

If this option makes you a little uncomfortable one alternative is to partially host your IT infrastructure in an external datacentre but store mission-critical applications elsewhere.

 

4 things to consider when choosing a data centre

 

As we’ve covered the differences between data centre solutions here are four considerations your business should take into account when making its decision.

 

Location

 

This is important for many reasons including convenience, data compliance and disaster recovery.

 

Being located close to your business means regular maintenance checks will be less of a disruptive also storing your data physically in another country an cause compliance issues. If your data centre is located in an area that is prone to flooding, earthquakes or wildfires such as the ones recently in California this can cause serious disruption to your business operations.

 

Security

 

You need to take into account both the physical and cyber security of your data centre.

 

Who has access to your server room? What times are employees allowed access? What firewalls and encryptions do you have in place to prevent cyber-attacks? These are questions that you should ask when choosing a data centre.

 

Scalability

 

As your business grows so will its data storage needs, plan not only for now but also for the future and make sure that your data centre can accommodate future growth.

 

This should be easier to predict with colocation or managed hosting but it’s still useful to inquire.

 

Reliability

 

Even a few seconds of downtime can cost your business money and agitate customers, the reliability of your IT infrastructure is paramount.

 

Make sure that either your business can dedicate the necessary time and resource or that your provider can with a SLA.

 

Armed with the knowledge above you should now be able to make an informed decision on the right data centre.