Darren Watkins is Managing Director for VIRTUS Data Centres.
Industry experts assert that because the manipulation and communication of information is now a core function of most organizations, comprehensive data management strategies are vital. But despite being mission critical, the data center often remains siloed – a necessary, but not strategic, business service.
However, in an economic landscape defined by digital disruption, and where businesses are transforming at lightning speed, this is finally set to change. The innovations revolutionizing business – cloud computing, social media, mobile apps, the “big data” explosion and on-demand services – can only be delivered from purpose-built highly efficient data centers.
Getting the data center strategy right means that companies have an intelligent and scalable asset that enables choice and growth. But getting it wrong means their entire business could fail. For data center managers across the world, the pressure is unprecedented.
The Best Laid Plans
With the data center sitting firmly at the heart of organizations, disaster recovery and data loss prevention naturally becomes a priority for many. And because it’s nearly impossible for companies to eliminate any single point of failure in their IT infrastructure, having a robust disaster recovery plan is the only way to ensure that a hardware or software failure – or human error – doesn’t interrupt service or cause data loss.
In a difficult economic climate, some organizations report a worrying trend of “risk acceptance”. They are aware of the need for a plan but have not found the time or resource to prepare for it. Instead, they are choosing to postpone or eliminate business continuity planning from their budgets, even though they may have no plan at all in place. Too many businesses suffer because they were ill prepared for an IT disaster, or have ignored the threat, even when a simple solution like online backup could have easily saved them.
Security professionals are trying to counteract this by promoting a modular approach to data security, however, simple ‘risk acceptance’ should not be an option for anyone – good disaster recovery is crucial for any business. The most forward looking firms know that in the event of a disaster, the continued operations of their company depends on the ability to replicate IT systems and data, and are looking for new and cost effective ways of doing just that.
When Keeping the Show on the Road Means Outsourcing
Even for well-prepared organizations disaster recovery and its big cousin Business Continuity (BC) are a cumbersome duo. One of the popular strategies is to have an external site that can support business systems, applications and customer data until the primary data center can be returned to normal operations. However, managing a mirrored data center is time consuming and expensive. And the alternative of recovery – an always-on architecture, where resiliency is built directly into the architecture itself – is difficult to set up and manage.
For many, the intense pressure of disaster recovery needs helps seal the fate of the perennial build vs buy debate in data center management. Whilst in-house facilities once gave companies complete control over all aspects of their infrastructure, outsourcing to a third party now provides the best protection against increasing data center complexity, cost and risk, and eliminates the need to worry about uptime.
With an expert team working around the clock, data is processed with great efficiency, resulting in an ultra-reliable performance. And, when outsourcing with multiple connectivity options, the potential for carrier failure is reduced, protecting critical applications and infrastructure performance. Additionally – if disaster does strikes, recovery comes quickly. Put simply, it’s these companies’ business to get you up and running again as quickly as possible.
Choosing a Provider: Questions to Ask
So, with business continuity and disaster recovery such crucial tenets of success, the expertise of dedicated providers is compelling.
Before choosing a data center or colocation provider, though, organisations must ask questions about location, flexibility and expansion capabilities and of course, reliability. In addition, deployment efficiency – how quickly you need to get up and running – is also an important consideration. This can be difficult to quantify into a specific stat or number, but any company considering a data center to partner with should ensure potential vendors clearly communicate timeframes.
One of the biggest advantages of colocation is the ability to interconnect within a shared data center space. Before making a selection, companies must learn about the available connectivity options. Carrier-neutral connectivity means that companies within the data center environment can choose the carrier service provider that best fits their needs – and leasing a facility offers a substantially lower up-front cost. In addition, these data center providers can seamlessly allow companies to scale – quickly and easily handling growing storage needs.
Ultimately, then, we believe that the critical nature of the data center, combined with unprecedented economic pressures, means that outsourcing infrastructure is the only route to success. And, because digital disruption waits for no man, now is the time to trust the experts, and harness the power of robust and reliable data center providers.
Opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Informa.
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