How to choose a data centre in five easy steps

When a business struggles to handle huge volumes of data and hasn't the space for additional hardware and equipment to fix the problem, migration to an external data centre could be the answer to ensure a company runs smoothly. But according to Ashley Sterland, Communications Director of the Change Organisation, a successful data centre migration is like entering into a marriage, get it right and you’ll have many years of happiness, but if you choose the wrong centre, you will be reaping the financial implications for years to come.

With data centres playing a critical role in managing the IT requirements of any business, no matter how large or small, choosing the right one can mean significant cost savings in the long run. But what is the best approach and what should be considered?

1. Location

It might be an estate agent’s favourite mantra but location is equally important when it comes to choosing a data centre. The last thing a business wants is a data centre located in a flood plain or an area prone to natural disasters.

2. Scalability

This isn't a short term marriage so it’s essential you choose a data centre that can meet your needs both now and in the future. Flexibility is absolutely key, so choose a data centre that can offer you additional space, power and connectivity when you need it.

3. Reliability

It’s all about uptime. If your chosen one is reliable 99.999 per cent of the time then it will offer you the stability and reliability to protect your company. You should also consider a data centre which offers service-level agreements and data centre tier classification.

4. Security

We're not talking about a data centre of Fort Knox proportions but a data centre should offer you a level of security that ensures your data is safe. 24/7 surveillance, biometric access and permanent security should be the norm, while cloud based protection should prevent data breaches in the non-physical world. The last thing you want is a data breach of Ebay or Ashley Madison proportions.

5. Connectivity

Whether you require Internet connectivity for cloud based applications or links to a private WAN, this is a key issue for data centre users and consequently has become a priority for data centre providers. Before committing to a data centre, ask the question about colocation and whether the data centre will allow you to utilise shared data centre space. And remember, once your data centre is in place it’s a lot more difficult to add physical connections so get it right first time.

Whatever way you look at it, a data centre is a complex beast. When there is a history of failed marriages, the five points above will help you and employees in the long run and ensure you are on your way to choosing a data centre that meets the needs of your business long into the future.

Ashley Sterland, Communications Director, The Change Organisation

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