Gartner predicts that by 2016 cloud computing will make up the bulk of new IT spend. 2016 is also predicted to be a defining year as private cloud begins to give way to hybrid cloud and nearly half of large enterprises are expected to have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017. The resultant shift towards Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is having a fundamental impact on data centre priorities.
These cloud services require a physical infrastructure: a safe and secure environment from which the business critical servers and hard drives that contain the applications and data can operate. They require fast, uninterrupted data connections, a totally secure and reliable power supply and buildings that offer the highest possible levels of security.
However, in what is becoming a commodity marketplace there is a risk that organisations are failing to understand the essential data centre requirements. This is a business critical decision – rather than buying down to a price, expectations should be rising and organisations should be continually looking for more from providers to support an evolving business model.
Outlined below are five key to consider when finding the right home for your cloud:
Key One: Location
The right data centre location is not just about the obvious requirements of avoiding the flood plain or flight path, although these are clearly essential. For any Managed Services provider the time it takes engineers to travel to and from the data centre is a key consideration. While travel time is less of an issue for a colocation site that will rely on remote management and data centre staff for the majority of support requirements, most Managed Services providers have a far more hands on approach. A data centre in central London that can be accessed in minutes rather than hours reduces wasted travel time and costs, enabling a far more responsive service.
Key Two: Business Scalability
With many Managed Services providers making their first foray into the cloud, it is extremely tough to predict business growth – and hence data centre requirements. It is therefore essential to look for an environment that offers flexibility. Checking the options available for adding and expanding racks is essential for any provider expecting to rapidly scale up its cloud based business.
Key Three: Connectivity
Every data centre offers multiple Tier 2 carrier options. Few, however, are able to offer multiple Tier 1 carriers. Without diverse fibre connections, the back-up options are limited. For any Managed Services provider it is essential to look for a data centre with multiple Tier 1 carrier options and diverse entry points into the building as well as Tier 2 carrier services, in order to achieve full resilience.
Key Four: Power Supply
All Data Centres can be expected to have a dual power supply from the grid; and all have some form of resiliency or back up to the grid power supply from an array of batteries or generators. How many in central London, however, can offer dedicated 33KV transformers? Most urban data centres are limited to 11KV tapped into one main grid substation – if that goes out, they will lose both A and B grid feeds. A data centre should take dual feeds from different substations to provide true resilience – however, given the limitations regarding power supply in London this is becoming harder and harder to achieve creating potentially huge risks for Managed Services providers.
Key 5: Security
Security has always been a vital consideration within any data centre environment. From a bomb proof building to multiple levels of security to access the building and the server room and the additional option of adding cages around the racks, or even a dedicated private suite, a depth of security facilities is key to support the changing threat risk.
The cloud has transformed the way businesses operate and the way the world does business.
The right environment does not only minimise risk but also reduces costs by cutting non-productive engineer time and improves responsiveness to customers.