How to choose the right data centre partner for your business

With business IT headed into the cloud, here are six essentials to look for when choosing a data centre partner

It’s easy to see where business IT is headed; into the cloud, where applications hosted remotely and delivered ‘as a service’ will help businesses to operate more efficiently, make cost-savings and gain competitive advantage.

Why is a data centre important?

Data centre capacity is the foundation of any cloud based service and a data centre operator needs to ensure that it has the infrastructure to support the growing needs of its customers. A data centre survey recently carried out with small and medium-sized businesses reported that nearly half of the respondents said they were looking to utilise new technologies including cloud computing in the future.

The survey also discovered that 71% of respondents cited the most important consideration for cloud computing as connectivity with security a close second at 69%. Companies clearly recognise that in order to thrive cloud services need a stable platform on which they can operate and grow. Scalable and resilient connectivity within the data centre and at your premises are critical for businesses who wish to embrace productivity improving applications.

69% of the survey respondents also expected to increase the amount of capacity they were to take in a third party data centre in the near future.

What should you look for in a data centre?

With data centres becoming increasingly important, it’s essential that you choose wisely; pick the wrong data centre partner or a ‘broom cupboard’ server room, and you’re left with applications your business can’t rely on, or disgruntled end-users. Do it right, and you have an environment where everyone wins.

Here are a few things to think about when looking for a data centre partner:

  1. Scalable and resilient connectivity within the data centre is critical. Diverse routing of connections is essential and the availability of dark fibre owned by the data centre operator helps keep costs down and maximise capacity.
  2. Physical security and access control are of key importance for a facility that should support authorised access 24/7 and ISO 27001 status can help demonstrate a provider’s focus on security.
  3. ISO 9001 status can help verify quality processes and procedures in data centre operations teamed with ISO27001 confirming capability around information security. ISO14001 status it also important, this eco-friendly accreditation covers the whole operations of a business, including the impacts of its data centre.
  4. A provider’s understanding of its facilities power utilisation efficiency (PUE) and the steps it is taking to improve it. With PUE it’s not just about looking for the lowest numbers, many factors influence the generation of PUE figures. Buyers need to ask how the provider’s PUE is measured and calculated; good providers will be following the best practices as defined by the EU Code of Conduct for data centres.
  5. Does the operator of the data centre have a defined growth plan? Moving equipment between data centres is time and resource consuming so whoever you choose needs to have plans for expansion in the future and they should be able to share these plans with you. If your business is growing rapidly then you don’t want a lack of data centre capacity to constrain you.
  6. Independence. There’s a lot of consolidation in the data centre market and this can lead to unpredictable costs at contract renewal time and changes in the operational practices in what is effectively your data centre. Your provider needs to give you confidence that they’re not just in it for the short term and that they’ve got your best interests in mind.

Choose your provider carefully as they’ll be housing one of your business’ biggest assets.

For more information please email thedatacentre@zen.co.uk  or call 01706 782140. www.zen.co.uk

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