Understanding the business benefits of a data centre

As more and more companies are shifting from individual servers to networked systems which rely on being online, numerous businesses are realising that the original benefit of running your own server room in order to have your servers close by, is being outweighed by the advantages of an outsourced solution.

Many companies do not realise that you could save money and have greater resilience in a data centre. Here's why businesses should be exploring the benefits that a data centre could provide their organisation:

The benefits of a data centre

Reductions in operational expenditure and the ability to focus your IT team on your core business, means that data centres offer organisations the ability to maximise the potential within their businesses. Firms who operate their own server rooms need to ensure they have a team where people are available 24/7/365 to reboot their servers or air conditioning when it fails at 3am. Colocation companies specialise in data centre and network services, so they don’t have to.

For financial directors and IT directors, a data centre provides the perfect win-win scenario, providing cost savings and delivering state-of-the-art infrastructure. When you compare the capabilities of a standard comms or server room versus a data centre solution an assessment of the power costs alone, demonstrates the gap between an in-house solution versus utilising the expertise of a specialist.

Whilst many in-house server rooms have access to power and may well have air conditioning and battery backups, this system does not fully protect your infrastructure. Organisations need to consider whether in addition to the raw cost of power itself, that their power solution includes diverse power feeds and distribution paths? Do you have dual generator systems that can be refuelled whilst in operation as well as on-site fuel reserves? Do you have diverse cooling systems, with UPS support in place? Who is monitoring your power and battery levels 24/7? Do you have a 100% uptime solution? Can your company afford to manage a fully resilient system and can it afford the repercussions if your IT fails?

Connecting quickly and securely

For an IT director moving from an in-house solution to a data centre is like providing a kart driver with an F1 vehicle. When it comes to connectivity, a data centre means that your business is connected globally, quickly and securely. We find that many companies with on-site server rooms often do not have on-site access to a fast uncontended resilient Internet connection with dedicated personnel monitoring traffic flow to ensure that they always remain on.

Data centres enable organisations to benefit from faster networking and resilient connectivity at a fairly low price – as delivering 100 mbps of bandwidth an office location to create a redundant solution that continually replicates your data is often financially unviable. Data centres are connected to multiple transit providers and also have large bandwidth pipes meaning that business often benefit from a better service for less cost. Firms often have vast amounts of data that must be stored and data centres provide them with the flexibility to store information securely and quickly as well as duplicate records for extra security.

With these considerations in mind, some organisations start to look to cloud solutions rather than a data centre in the first instance. Cloud does not provide organisations with a fully auditable system and the ability to have full control over their own infrastructure. A data centre often enables businesses to avoid spending money on storage bills in the cloud, as it is often cheaper to store information on their own servers.

From the periodic necessary replacement of the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) batteries, to the maintenance and testing of UPS systems, cooling and chiller solutions, generator and fire suppression systems, to pest control, the hidden costs of sustaining your infrastructure to optimal levels can be surprising. Indeed as part of a standard data centre solution financial organisations instantly benefit from high level security with ISO 27001 certified processes, on-site security teams and infrastructure. For financial firms, standards such as ISO 27001 are invaluable to demonstrate comprehensive information security management systems are in place to protect clients’ private information.

Additionally, data centres have the time, resource and impetus to continually invest and research in green technologies meaning that not only can businesses reduce their own carbon footprints at their own office locations, they are also benefitting from continual efficiency saving research. Companies who move their servers from in-house server rooms typically save 90% on their own carbon emissions.

Data centres offer business opportunities

Businesses should look to invest in out of town data centres with lightning quick connectivity and attractive power capabilities. They also provide the security of being away from centrally targeted terrorist activity. Many audits require this kind of protection and moving in-house server rooms also releases valuable real estate costs for other uses.

A data centre solution provides companies with a variety of opportunities. Exceptional SLAs such as uptime guarantees and having data secured off-site, provides organisations with added levels of risk management. By reducing operational costs creates the opportunity to invest in better equipment and state-of-the-art servers. This can enable IT teams to explore options such as virtualisation and condense the amount of racks and servers required.

Most IT directors understand that their equipment is mission critical to their organisation – data centres are able to meet business requirements at a lower cost than if the service was kept in-house. They have the ability to have businesses up and running within hours, as well as provide the flexibility to grow alongside your organisation. Rack space, power, bandwidth, and connection speeds can all be increased where required to ensure that all sizes of clients can be catered for.

Rowland Kinch, CEO at Custodian Data Centres