A need for greater reliability and built-in disaster planning often prompts a move to colocation. Other motivators may be an internal data center that is reaching capacity, concerns around physical security, escalating costs and the hassle as more staff and third party vendors are required to manage an increasingly complex data center. Here is what you need to know about these factors to make a good decision.
When mission-critical equipment and processes go down, the cost can be astronomical. Reliable up-time depends on three main factors: Power continuity, cooling effectiveness and network connectivity. If there is a weakness or lack of redundancy in any of these three areas, either with an on-site data center or existing colocation provider, then it’s probably time to look for a better solution.
Disaster Planning and Recovery
Data disasters can be crippling for an organization of any size. Data loss is usually attributed to one of two major causes: Physical disaster or data corruption. Physical disaster can occur due to power interruption, cooling loss or connectivity interruption. Data corruption can be cause by poor coding, human error, malicious employees and many other factors. Preventing disaster can be costly and complex. A good colocation provider will offer built-in redundancy on all critical systems, physical security and other features that significantly improve disaster prevention and recovery.
Storage Capacity Expansion
If your data storage center is nearing capacity, colocation is a natural consideration. Expanding an on-site data center can be fraught with challenges. More space can mean sacrificing office space or purchasing more square footage, building out new space can cause interruptions to productivity and delivering adequate power to support sufficient cooling in a retrofitted environment may not be feasible. Additionally, the logistics involved are complex and may include multiple vendors and their employees, all of whom may gain access to your data center during construction.
As data storage use increases, so does the number of people responsible for maintain the infrastructure. Besides the obvious IT personnel, the physical site may require access by generator maintenance crews, cooling system repair personnel and even cleaning crews. Each person who enters the space presents a potential security risk to the data contained within. Colocation drastically reduces the number of people who require physical access to the servers as well as places high emphasis on multi-layered physical protection and video surveillance.
Cost Control and Improved Logistics
Many companies are experiencing IT budget constraints even as the number and quality of available technologies increases. Colocation may reduce the power, cooling and support costs of data storage. Thanks to economies of scale, even design, maintenance, installation, network engineering and systems engineering costs may be lower. If your data storage requires multiple vendors and an extensive staff just to maintain the space and its support systems, logistics may be complicated and identifying the source of the problems can become a game of “pass the buck.”