“There is no good way to predict what the technical footprint will be,” states Rachel Dines, analyst at Forrester Research. She refers here to the decision all corporations face when deciding whether to host their own IT infrastructure, or to outsource it.
Many companies are now swaying much more heavily towards renting data centre space. This has become especially apparent during the downturn of the economy, between 2009-10. Many sectors have not opted to commit funds to construction within this period, according to Ted Chamberlin, research director at Gartner.
This is because leasing allows much more flexibility in terms of expansion and avoids heavy initial investments. If a company experiences a heavy increase in traffic they can tap into a third party provider’s extra resources.
The main concern with building your own data centre is planning for future capacity. If a company expands quickly and owns its own premises there is the potential of facing hefty bills for maintenance, equipment or revamping.
Upgrading your own facilities on a regular basis is a huge job and can often present you with the same or larger costs than the initial build.
However not all the factors are stacked against having your own infrastructure. There is the issue of politics. The US Patriot Act for instance gives the American government the right to delve into any data stored on its shores, a huge detractor for many European businesses. Furthermore there is the UK Data protection Act which places red tape around moving data out of the EU.
Another issue is security. With your own infrastructure there is less danger of someone gaining access to your data. Third party providers have also been known to place pressures on customers to move out, to make room for larger customers. It is therefore essential that companies have iron-clad contracts in place, when utilising data centre space.
In conclusion there are advantages and disadvantages for both building data centres and leasing them. Many companies are now adopting a combination of both options. Often this is structured in a way which allows less important aspects of a company’s infrastructure to be outsourced, while retaining the more essential data within a purpose built infrastructure.