If your data center suffers from low-quality power, size restraints or inefficiencies, you have several options for improvement: Go to the cloud, host or build. While the right choice depends on a variety of factors, there are five instances when building or expanding a data center is often your best choice.
Many of our clients are faced with ever-changing decisions concerning their data center space. Increased demands for improved functionality and lower IT operational costs are often overwhelming.
We realize that the decision making process can be frustrating – making improvements is expensive, and you’re fed up with a subpar facility. Plus, with so many options, where does one even start?
The first step in making your decision is to assess the condition of your current data center. This involves a study of the capacity and condition of the facility, including (but not limited to) the space, power, cooling and security that is currently available.
Additionally, you need to evaluate the condition and capacity of the IT equipment, including the percentage of services virtualized, storage on SAN and network topology.
The second stage is setting the direction – a stage that is sometimes met with resistance as some IT directors may struggle to foresee future applications for ever-changing IT equipment, as well as what organizational changes could occur.
Still, predicting future facility requirements helps to identify eventual capacity needs- an imperative step in deciding whether to host, move to the cloud or build. Doing so helps you better understand the IT equipment strategy and the impact it may have on your facility.
Although there are certain scenarios in which hosting or using a cloud-based solution is more practical than building, building may be more effective under the right circumstances.
Five Instances Where Building is Better Than Hosting
1. When leveraging existing facility capital investment is possible – If your existing physical facility already has allocated space, power and cooling, you may find that expansion or improving load density is the better option. This is especially true if your existing systems have useful life remaining.
* Electrical Systems: Service entrance, generator, ATS, UPS
* Mechanical Systems: CRAC, chillers, cooling tower
* Other Systems: fire suppression, fire detection, CCTV, access control
2. When investment in staff is returning dividends – If your existing staff understands and can effectively execute policies and procedures, they can often be an overlooked asset.
In the event of a crisis, trained and talented staff have the ability to respond to situations and escalate or control these crises based on business priorities, rather than being reliant on your hosting or cloud provider.
3. When building is a lower risk than the alternative – If your load requirements are known, then designing and implementing a data center space can help keep the cost of data storage constant, rather than relying on a hosting provider that may increase pricing in the future.
In addition, if your current network is designed around your current data center, you should consider the cost to segregate the network from server and storage.
Lastly, consider the impact to existing customer relationships if access to data is breached or compromised.
4. When physical control of data is vital – With the recent examples of high profile organizations undergoing public scrutiny because of their data breaches, unauthorized access to data could devastate your business. A few other items to consider:
* Uncertainty to policies and procedures governing the data center operations and ownership change
* Uncertainty to access corporate data particularly in a bankruptcy of hosting provider
5. When transaction response is paramount – Several factors comprise the transaction response, including the distance the data travels and the bandwidth.
Data may seem to travel instantly, but it actually travels at the speed of light. Therefore, data that needs to travel further distances will take longer to get there. The greater the distance between the user and the server, the greater the screen response. A lower bandwidth will also increase the screen response.
There are several situations when this is most pronounced. Some examples include if you’re conducting financial trading in fractions of a second, when queries against the database timeout, or when you’re waiting for screen response.
Building isn’t the right solution for every facility. However, if you’re able to leverage the necessary capital and fall under any of the five conditions we discussed, building may create a more efficient, better protected data center than hosting or going to the cloud.