The fast-moving world of the internet and e-commerce means that the need for a high-class data centre to manage information is more important than ever. However, with so many services on the market offering physical space to store servers, it’s important to define what separates the world-class data centres from the substandard ones.
As data centres store and manage important company data, it’s important to think about how much power is used and where the power comes from. The amount of power needed to keep a data centre running is startling. For example, when it comes to running data centres for the biggest firms in the world – Apple, Google, Facebook – one data centre can use around one hundred megawatts of power.
However, while most firms won’t need to use half of that amount, it’s important to remain attentive to the impact of the environment from the use of this power. Organisations looking to reduce their carbon footprint should pay particular attention to the efficiency and effectiveness of the power used, as that is what separate world-class from sub-class – the use of clean power and renewable energy.
The dependence on a stable, functioning business is critical when running a company. As a result, downtime is an unwanted hindrance which can impact negatively on revenue, credibility and client perception. In order to sidestep downtime, choosing a data centre with redundancies is critical in that respect.
Providing at least two of everything, from generators and power feeds to cooling units, gives businesses the opportunity to continue running as normal – despite any failure in a piece of equipment. Furthermore, the presence of un-interruptible power systems (UPS) will also deliver power regardless of any incidents that may occur. Of course, without data centre redundancy, businesses are taking a big risk – a risk they could do without.
The physical location of the data centre is also what separates the best from the worst. The best location is one that adequately safeguards the technology inside, is close to multiple network points of presence (PoPs) and allows for growth/change.
In addition, a data centre that resides close enough to the business is key, meaning employees can reach it after a malfunction but leaving the centre far enough away so it isn’t likely to be affected by a single disaster. For example, which would you choose out of a data centre housed on a cramped flood plain in Japan and a large expanse of protected land in the UK?
Security is paramount when trying to search for the best data centre. Physical security is often neglected when it comes to IT management but the presence of on-site personnel can be effective in creating a secure facility. A world-class data centre should be treated as if it were a bank vault; given thick walls, no windows and limited entry points. Considering the importance of the technology stored in the centre, it should not be an office where
people can simply wander into by accident. The presence of surveillance cameras can also be a sign of a well-handled data centre. Increasingly, companies are outsourcing their data centre requirements but are unaware of the difference between a high-quality centre and a poor one. As a result, it’s important to consider the differences between the two before making a long-term business decision.