How can a datacentre support your business?
Written by: Liz Batley, Scholar’s Client Services Director.
Datacentres have been around for many years now, but it’s surprising how many businesses are still choosing to continue to host their business’ IT infrastructure in-house, with the ongoing expense of hardware maintenance, cooling and security. These days all businesses rely on IT to run multiple areas of their business, so the resilience of your IT infrastructure should be an important focus for any business operating in 2018.
I’ve been working with Scholar just over two years and it has certainly been a steep learning curve to learn all the different elements of the business and the industry. Technology is developing faster than ever before and there is a lot of noise online everyday about data breaches, hackers, ransomware and DDoS attacks. This would scare anyone into going off grid and living a simple life in a mud hut. Who would blame them!
I work alongside the technical team here at Scholar managing different client environments, on AWS and our own Scholar VMware Cloud platform. I get to speak to all different sorts of businesses about their options for managing their IT infrastructure and advising on the different options which are available to their business.
Managed and Unmanaged Colocation
For companies that want to keep their own physical IT assets; servers, switches, storage equipment etc. but don’t want to worry about maintaining the environment themselves, colocation is a great option. Colocation services offers businesses the peace of mind that the cooling, power, bandwidth and physical security of their hardware is taken care of.
Most datacentre rack spaces start with quarter racks (approx 11U) and scale up to full and multi-rack options. Choosing the right size rack will depend on how much equipment you need to colocate now and future growth plans.
You can choose to take pure rack space in a datacentre and continue to manage your hardware yourself, or partner with a colocation provider that offers managed colocation support. That decision really comes down to: Do I want or need my IT team travelling to the datacentre to swap out kit?
If you choose to colocate your equipment I would recommend visiting the datacentre if you can. The first time I visited one of our datacentres, I pulled up slowly to an unmarked building and was stopped at a secure perimeter fence with cameras. I was buzzed in and greeted by a manned security reception. I was then photographed, my ID was taken and I was instructed to step into a sealed man trap to be weighed and have my iris scanned. Once through the entrance I was given restricted access whilst on site and could only access the data halls which housed our kit. For anyone worried about whether a datacentre is secure, I tell this story.
For companies who want to take advantage of the latest cloud technologies, knowing where your data and applications are stored is still valid and an important question to ask. Cloud technology allows for you to change from a heavy CAPEX business model to an OPEX business model. You can choose to have dedicated servers with Virtual Machines (VM’s) running on top, or choose a shared cloud platform.
If your business is new to Cloud technology ask the primary questions first: ‘where is my data physically stored’, ‘is it backed up? ‘what is the resilience of the cloud environment?’ and… ‘who do we call if there’s any issues?’ These are all straight forward and simple questions for your cloud provider to answer.
Hosting your business infrastructure in a datacentre is the future for many businesses. My advice would be to work with a cloud provider who you trust and who you know has your businesses best interest at heart.
Housing your business infrastructure, whether dedicated or virtual, in a good datacentre alleviates the continual burden and expense of housing and maintaining your IT infrastructure environment in-house.
The decision is ultimately yours to make and an experienced datacentre and cloud services provider will be able to advise and guide you on the best set-up for your requirements, budget and your future growth plans.
Technology may seem overwhelming at times, but if used and managed correctly can be one of your most valuable business assets and one which will become entrenched in the future success of your business, by allowing increased productivity, innovation and expansion.