Sometimes companies and organizations evolve and grow too big to be able to handle their own operations, or store all their information in a single computer, or a system of computers. What they usually to do is hire or establish their own really large group of networked computer servers for the purpose of remote storage, processing and distribution of large amounts of data.
This system is called a data center. The data center is an actual structure or location where the computers running the servers and associated components can be housed.
Are you one such group, company or organization that is now eyeing this option? What should you look for in a data center?
“Location, location, location” is a real-estate credo for a good reason. Where a data center is located is a very important thing to consider. How easy is it for someone from your company to be able to reach this location if an upgrade, equipment servicing is needed? Having a data center you can get to quickly can spell the difference between smooth operations and total mayhem. Consider the travel time and a worst-case scenario; the time it takes for you to travel to the data center and make repairs should be less than the time you are willing to let your system be inoperable or off-line.
Flexibility and expansion capability
If you plan to avail of the services of a data center make sure first that they are able to meet your present needs and any needs you foresee. Do you think you will need a new cross connect or additional rack space in the future? Can the data center provide this? Not all data centers are equal and different data center providers offer different levels of flexibility and scalability. Some will be unique in their solutions while others will tend to stick to the safer and standard practices.
In the data center world, reliability is measured in uptime. A reliable data center should have five 9s uptime, meaning they are reliable at least 99.999 percent of the time. Reliability also extends to their ability to supply power to run the servers, and the ability to be able to quickly provide backup power in case of failures. Remember your server has to be kept running 24/7.
One tip to scouting a good data center involves location: If the area has similar structures, chances are it’s a reliable data center.
Do your homework on where the data center stand financially; you don’t want to go for a data center that looks like it will fold up in a few years.
Here’s a tip: You can look at the data center’s press releases, financial reports and financial history to get an idea of how stable it is.
Data migration refers to moving your data from one system into another, and this takes up a lot of time depending on how much data you have and how sophisticated your infrastructure is. A good data center should be able to get your data in and get your infra up and running in no time.
Consider the interconnectivity in a shared data center space. Do they already have a large ecosystem of customers already interconnecting with each other? Are you able to connect with partners, distributors or even competitors for peering?