Companies are increasingly making the decision to move their IT real estate and workloads from their in-house computer rooms to an outsourced colocation centre, and with good reason! By doing this, they can reduce capital and operating costs whilst benefiting from a secure, controlled and resilient environment for their data and equipment. So far, so simple…
But having made the decision to colocate there are many factors to take into account when choosing a colocation datacentre – accreditations, security, levels of service, to name a few – but what about location? We argue that data centre locations should be a fundamental factor in your decision-making, and here’s why …
Near enough to (but a safe distance from) key economic hubs
Companies are increasingly outgrowing their on-site IT facilities due to ever-expanding data volumes and the need for archiving, more vigilant back-ups and more hard-drive real estate to accommodate newer and more sophisticated software and operating systems. In answer to this, data centres numbers are growing. But whilst one data centre may look much like another, what goes on behind closed doors can vary significantly.
Companies whose paramount priority is the security of the data and workloads they hold (most notably those who manage sensitive data on behalf of their clients) cannot compromise on security. In terms of location, this often means selecting a data centre that is located a safe distance from high-risk areas (such as London) and choosing one that offers outstanding levels of security.
Our two colocation facilities (FRN1 in Farnborough and MCR1 in Manchester) are ideally located for access, security and connectivity. Our Farnborough data centre is situated in the Cody Technology Park and Datum’s own multi-layered security measures mean that we offer our clients unparalleled levels of security. Our Manchester facility, meanwhile, is a stone’s throw from Manchester’s Airport City development - the only major colocation facility in south Manchester and ideally located for air, motorway and rail connections to the rest of the UK (and the only data centre in the world with an NSI Gold Approved BS5979 security centre on-site).
Connectivity and network speed are key
Businesses demand that business-critical IT is always-on and always available, so good connectivity is crucial. The further a data centre is from a peering point, the greater the risk of connectivity issues. Therefore, data centres must be located in well-connected areas with access to many carriers and multiple redundant fibre connections to major bandwidth providers. The only way to provide consistent and reliable bandwidth at the volumes required by an enterprise-grade data centre is to build many connections to various network providers, so proximity to an urban hub is advantageous.
Network latency (the nemesis of digital business) detrimentally affects business performance and client satisfaction. Today, more than ever, business transactions rely on applications running all aspects of business operations. Customers need quick access to applications, and the applications increasingly need to communicate with each other (even more so with the increase in Internet of Things and AI technology). The further data must travel from the place it is stored to the place it is used, the higher the latency, so data centres need to be near enough to business hubs to reduce latency issues.
Farnborough is fast developing as a strategic London-edge data centre hub, so multiple connectivity providers have developed their networks in the area. We are located on a highly secure site a safe distance from London and its associated risks, and have connected latency to Slough and the City of London of less than 1 millisecond. Our London-edge data centre facility will be connected directly to our Manchester facility, which is a Point of Presence (PoP) for LINX Manchester (London Internet Exchange - Manchester). This opens up a host of opportunities for those with colocation requirements in the South and North, and avoids the need to source two separate city centre data centres.
Space to grow
Businesses cannot predict how their requirements might change in the future, but growth will no doubt be on their minds. That’s why it is vital to partner with a data centre that can guarantee the ability to flex up (or down) in line with requirements.
Inner-city locations are often constrained by a lack of room for expansion, whereas those a little way outside major conurbations tend to be larger and more spacious, and often newer, so they can be easier to update and remodel accordingly.
Datum’s spacious Farnborough facility offers space for expansion. The second floor of FRN1 (Farnborough) was built out during 2020 and a new state-of-the-art facility (FNR2) will be completed by 2024 - more space but the same Tier 3+ resilience, high service levels and excellent, established connectivity. In parallel with the construction at our Farnborough site, an entirely new data centre facility will be built at our Manchester location offering up to 25,000 ft2 of space, 4MVA of power and over 1,000 new server racks.
Partnerships and a skilled workforce without sky-rocketing costs
There’s so much more to colocation than the storage of IT real estate and workloads. Partnering with a data centre provider with a strong network of partners offering related services (e.g. connectivity, cloud services, managed services) means the provision of a full-service offering for clients. And this kind of partner network is more feasible within close proximity to densely populated areas, which is where most businesses are located.
Datum’s key differentiator is its service-enhanced approach. Our data centre locations, both close to the country’s most prominent economic hubs, and our means that we have access to some of the best providers of associated services with whom we have formed strong alliances through Datum Connect (our network of partners).