A modern business needs a modern data centre. Yet, many enterprises are still quibbling over making the decision to co-locate.
Over the years, organisations have capitalised heavily into specific network, storage and computing capabilities, creating a data centre unique to them, in which to manage and host their applications.
Hardware and software aren’t the only areas to have seen large investment; skills and knowledge required to run these systems have also been acquired. Thus, a ‘data centre refresh’ is a daunting prospect.
Nevertheless, on-premise IT infrastructure is becoming much more difficult to maintain. Maintenance, upgrades and new functionalities are rising in costs, are much slower to develop, and the ability to retain and attract skilled members of staff to maintain these legacy systems is becoming harder.
So, how can you competently make the transition from on-premise to colocation? By creating an efficient data centre strategy and following these considerations, you’ll soon be on your way:
1. Define your objectives
A data centre strategy should define the business goals it needs to achieve. Ask yourself – what are your business drivers? Identify the key reasons you wish to co-locate. It may be to: cut costs, more-easily facilitate growth or improve resilience. It’s important to keep these at the forefront of your mind, as they will help create the strategy.
2. Understand the IT environment
The IT environment is constantly evolving as technology develops. Having good knowledge of how the IT setting has advanced over the past few years, as well as how it has influenced business and the data centre facilities, is key.
Find out how any existing or planned projects will affect the strategy and if they should be included in the implementation plan.
3. Choose key team members
Getting the correct technical advice before you make big decisions is imperative; you don’t want to muddy your foundations. Advice should be sought from within your own team, from network providers and service specialists right from the onset. Also, it may be worthwhile identifying and assigning a project manager to take lead and make sure your plan is well executed.
4. Document data centre requirements
Once you’ve spoken to domain leads and team members document and review their requirements; each data centre needs a clearly defined purpose. These requirements may include certain levels of performance, capacity and disaster recovery. The team can validate that these requirements are aligned with other business and IT objectives.
5. Choosing your data centre
Selecting where to store your data is a huge decision and will require research. Ensure you consider:
Location – make certain your data centre’s connectivity has the international reach you need;
Reliability – unplanned data centre outages can be very expensive – advisory firm Gartner reports that network downtime costs an average of £4,000 ($5,600) per minute;
Scalability – your data centre needs to grow with you, offering different levels of flexibility to meet your fluctuating needs;
Connectivity – look for a carrier-neutral facility that can give your business access to multiple global carriers;
Security – look for a data centre that can clearly demonstrate and explain its security policies.
It takes time to implement a data centre strategy. It requires careful planning, research and teamwork. There’s an abundance of choice out there regarding cost, capability and hosting solutions, but invest time now and determine your needs correctly.
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Kat Cooke is Senior Content Writer at SCC. She was previously Senior Journalist at the Aesthetics journal, and has worked for Sky News, providing live coverage of the last two General Elections and the EU Referendum. Kat has a 2:1 degree in Journalism from City University London.