Tag Archives: Data Centre

Three Questions to Ask When Choosing a Data Center Location

Choosing a good data center location requires smart research and planning – make the best choice using the guidelines below.

You’ve chosen the perfect backup data center: the rates are affordable, the site is reasonably close to your company’s main office, and there’s always someone on staff in case of an after-hours emergency.

It’s also located in a flood plain, which you didn’t know until a tropical storm blew through your city and put your newly selected data center – and all of your company’s critical information – under three feet of water.

When it comes to choosing an offsite data center, you have to think beyond prices.  After all, a competitive yearly rate doesn’t mean much if your data center is prone to floods or other disasters.

Is your company in the market for data storage?  Here are three questions to ask before making a choice.

Question 1:  Can the location withstand natural disasters?

Avoid locations near the coast, which is prone to hurricanes and flooding, and avoid areas with a high risk of tornadoes and earthquakes. Ideally, a data center located underground will provide the best protection against natural disasters–as long as it isn’t in a flood plain or earthquake zone.

If your data center happens to be in a seismic hotspot, realize that you will need to take proper building code precautions. Requirements include securing equipment to the floor, latching all cabinet drawers and isolating servers for their own protection.

Question 2:  Is the location easily accessible?

Think in terms of emergencies or equipment delivery. Say a server shuts down unexpectedly and needs to be replaced immediately. Having a data center located off of a major highway means that delivery trucks can easily get there and switch out equipment without causing much down time. If the center is located underground, it would also be ideal to have an elevator to aid in the transfer of servers.

Question 3:  Who will be working the data center?

Reliability in the people running the center is essential, so find out who your operations manager will be as well as the person responsible for day-to-day maintenance of the servers.  Make sure that there are clear procedures to follow in the case of an emergency, and ensure that your staff strictly adheres to regular inspection schedules of the building and equipment.

These three questions should help you find a reliable and professional offsite data center.  What do you think of this list?  Are there any other factors that you think are important?  Leave a comment below and let me know.

Approaching the Data Centre Market

“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.

Booming UK Data Centre Market

Data compiled by the Data-Center Dynamics Industry Census 2011 has highlighted the UK as having one of the leading data centre markets in the world.

“We believe the numbers released today well reflect the UKs position as a leading global data centre market, and look forward to refining the model and using it in other markets,” said Andrew Jay, Head of Data Centres EMEA.

Data centres are cropping up all over the world and the survey found that 7.6 million square metres now exist throughout the world.

The Data Center Development Index (DCDI) ranks markets according to their state of development. It does this through taking into account, size of the economy, number of data centres and influence of technology, power consumption and human resource. This index has ranked the UK just behind the west coast of the US, highlighting a strong global market position.

Studies have revealed that British data centres consume 6.4 GW of power every year. This is enough to facilitate 6 million homes.  Furthermore power output is set to increase by 6.7% in the next year. However this is far behind the expected global increase, set to rise by 19%. These figures represent the hugely growing efficiency of data centre operations in the UK.

Investment in data centre operations is also set to increase. The next year will see a growth of £2.15 billion. This will allow construction of more data centres in addition to existing facilities being upgraded.

Growth is set to be most significant in the SE of England, rising by 68%. With Scotland, the NW of England and the Midlands also seeing substantial growth.

“When you look at the size of the operations of just a handful of organisations, you quickly get a sense of the market’s scale,” stated George Rockett, co-founder of Data-Center Dynamics.

London Out-competed for Cloud Storage

Terremark decided to locate their flagship data centre in Amsterdam rather than London after concerns were raised regarding power shortages caused by the Olympic games.

The data centre is going to be one of 50 which are to be dotted around Europe.

Hermann Oggel, president of business at Terremark in a statement said:

“London was full with the Olympics, with no power. And no power is a big issue.”

The server racks in addition to the other equipment are expected to utilise 46MW of power when running at full capacity. The Amsterdam-based Network Access Point (NAP) will possess the highest level of performance, power and connectivity across the company’s entire European datacentre network.

In addition to the Olympics being a spanner in the works with regards to placing the data centre in London the two parties could also not agree on the financials.

“We spoke to utility companies in London and looked at premises, but found it economically better to manage from Amsterdam,” Oggel.

Verison is positioning itself to take a slice of the Cloud market which it predicts will grow to $150 billion by 2020 from around $10 billion – which it is at now.

“We think we’ll have a pretty big share of that” Kelly Baily, group president of Verizon unit Terremark Worldwide. “A lot of companies are moving into this space”

Verizon have already purchased Terremark and CloudSwitch for a collective $1.4 billion and are actively in the process of making further acquisitions.

Google: Leading the way in DC Efficiency

The rise of the internet economy is a rapidly shifting  business activity from stores and highways into data centres.

As data centre infrastructures become a major focal point of the global economy the amount of electricity they consume increases exponentially.

Google in particular have been more open about their power usage than they were traditionally and this is thought to be response to Greenpeace, who called for increased disclosure of DC efficiencies.

In fact Google have released impressive statistics which demonstrate how their server farms are five times less resource hungry than typical data centres. They are leading the way and have set the bar high for other companies to follow.

Furthermore Google have revealed a five step plan outlining exactly how they wish to achieve minimal impact on the planet’s resources. The plan includes minimising the amount of electricity required by servers, their housing facilities and also outlines Google’s policy on e-waste recycling and water conservation. Google has for some time led the way in remaining carbon neutral and has invested heavily in all these aspects in addition to putting much money into renewable energy sources.

In total Google only consumed 2.2 million megawatt hours of electricity to run operations in 2010. This would generate a relatively modest carbon footprint of 1.46 million metric tons of Carbon Dioxide.

Urs Hoelzle, Senior Vice President of Technical Infrastructure at Google had this to say: “to provide you with Google products for a month not just search but Google+, Gmail, Youtube and everything else we have to offer – our servers use less energy per user than a light left on for three hours. And, because we’ve been a carbon neutral company since 2007, even that small amount of energy is offset completely, so the carbon footprint of your lifetime is zero.”

Cloud Analytics: Delivering More Using Less

With Cloud Computing becoming an ever-encroaching wide-scale reality, driving data centre efficiency is set to become a huge priority.

What has come to be referred to as Cloud Analytics is quickly becoming a crucial investment.

One company, Sentilla is currently leading the way and has patented technology allowing the ability to monitor the resource consumption of virtual machines. Monitoring a non-physical asset has proven to be relatively difficult making such technology extremely valuable.

Although Sentilla are in front at the moment other players are also looking for a piece of the action including VMWare, Power Assure, Synapsense, HP and Modius.

“Sentilla is the only company that can provide the diagnostic insight to drastically reduce data centre costs and increase company revenue as well as profitability” According to Mike Kaul, CEO of Sentilla.

The other reason why the timing is good for this form of service is that new business initiatives are constantly looking to achieve more on smaller budgets, making such detailed management crucial.

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