In the last year, there has been a significant shift in the way businesses manage and process data. Since the switch from individual servers to network systems, the cost of in-house data centres have soared. There are significant expenses involved in maintaining and updating the infrastructure, and security and repairs also require additional budget allocation. As a result, businesses are switching to colocation centres and outsourcing the responsibility for the data centre infrastructure and in many cases the physical compute, storage support and data management.

The biggest benefit to decentralising IT resources is that businesses gain access to specialist staff and state-of-the art infrastructures These shared services reduce costs, improve efficiency and allow business to focus on their customers And the market for colocation services is growing, with providers having fine-tuned progress to meet demand – Key benefits of colocation

But what challenges are involved and what should you consider before outsourcing data management to a colocation centre?

Location and connectivity – key to selecting a data centre provider is ensuring your business meets any specific latency requirements. No matter how fast your devices, data suffers from latency due to the fibre-optic media over which it travels. Selecting a data centre provider that is carrier independent increases your chances of delivering connectivity from your existing wide area network. Leveraging the data centre providers shared internet connectivity is often a bonus, guaranteeing resilience and scalable performance. Considering whether you’ll outsource locally or long-distance is another important factor. This often depends on where your business is located. If it’s based in a major metropolitan city, then local centres offer the advantage of full-control over the management of day-to-day operations. If you’re based in a less populated or more rural area, then long distance is likely to be better, as your data will be stored in areas with stronger internet connectivity.

Services – moving core infrastructure to a colocation partner often means increased awareness of the roles and responsibilities of staff. Look for complementary services such as remote hands and hardware maintenance services, meaning that your staff are free to concentrate on your business. It is also important to consider future services – like if you want your colocation partner to look after the management of your servers, hypervisors, storage and networking infrastructure. And, if you are looking to either leverage any private cloud infrastructure as your assets reach end of life or move applications to the Public Cloud, hosting providers that offer these services provide more options for future development.

Reliability is imperative, too. It’s important that you have fast and flexible access to your data, as and when you need it. Outsourcing gives you improved speed & reliability by taking advantage of rapid and resilient connections, through interconnected data centres and networks.

The key to selecting the right colocation centre is to make sure you partner with a trusted and respected provider. Your provider should understand the needs of your business, what you require and how you can benefit from colocation. They should assess any imposed limitations around locations, the capability for scaling, the workload your business is aiming to deliver and what is needed to service demand.

At SCC, we believe that colocation can benefit businesses both big and small, by giving businesses access to instantaneous and secure global connections. For further advice on how to successfully make the switch from an in-house data facility to a colocation centre, see our Data Centre Services advice page.

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