Data Center Infrastructure – An Insight

I see a ton of posts in threads on forums asking about data center infrastructure. Are cross connects available? What providers are available? What uplink speeds are offered? What kind of redundancy do they offer? What’s the best procedure to control airflow? What kind of alarms are available? How are they monitored? What are recommended monitoring programs? What kind of managed services are available? Do they employ certified on-hand engineers?

Is your data center up to date?

Against what benchmarks do you measure one data center versus another? Surely, the cost of power speaks directly to the efficiency of the data center itself. One such calculation multiplies the efficiency of one’s technology by the efficiency of the physical facility. Simply calculate IT efficiency by multiplying a data center’s IT asset utilization rate by the energy efficiency of the servers. This determines the facility’s efficiency by calculating the amount of space used and multiplying that by the energy efficiency of the building. The higher the number, the more efficient your data center.

Does your provider have multiple data centers?

Are they tied together via fiber optics? Do they have failover? What is the history of their uptime? Are they growing?

Data Center Infrastructure – How important is it?

The real question should be, “How important is your business to you?” Can you trust your business to a data center that is not top-of-the-line?

I read a post from an OP years ago in a hosting forum in response to a thread querying if anyone had experience with a specific data center in Florida. The entire post focused on a scheduled tour of that data center’s facility that never happened. Apparently, one of their VPs agreed to give a tour of their center to a media consultant, then canceled. Then their public relations firm took over and scheduled, then canceled every other avenue for any kind of interview (telephone or email). 

Did this data center have something to hide?

They were given his list of questions so they could pre-screen them. Plus, all the questions were general in nature.  His post raised red flags on several issues. He smelled smoke and surmised, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

How many data centers have online tours available on their website? And when you call to ask about their infrastructure, are they tight-lipped?

When you’re researching data centers, prepare a long list of questions (because it’s your business at risk). Use due diligence. I’ve read hundreds of threads from OPs who opted for the lowest price, then got burned. Over half of them didn’t have disaster recovery or business continuity plans.

What happens when you outgrow your existing data center, and what factors may force you to consider upgrading?

A couple of major considerations are power and HVAC. Perhaps you’ve merged and consolidated services, but your existing infrastructure won’t support both company’s data requirements. Maybe it’s as simple as just outgrowing your existing space. Have your costs spiraled out of control?

Moving is not as easy as simply disconnecting and reconnecting at a new location.

If you have branch locations, the move must be coordinated via multiple vendors. Can this happen overnight? Absolutely not. Preparation must begin months in advance, and countless scenarios must be considered.



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