Organisations of all sizes are becoming ever more dependent on their digital assets, which means a greater emphasis on the safe storage of data and intellectual property. This rapid expansion in data volumes, the requirement for archiving and more vigilant back-ups, and the need for more hard-drive real estate to accommodate newer and more sophisticated software and operating systems, is causing many companies to outgrow their on-site space and consider more elaborate IT solutions. As a result, organisations are increasingly facing the challenge of deciding where and how they will store their data and equipment.
Each situation is unique, and what’s best in each case depends on the challenges being faced by organisations. Some might be prioritising disaster recovery and back-up, others might be looking for ways to improve their business processes, and some might be trying to alleviate the pressure on in-house storage facilities and IT staff.
The move from in-house storage
Whilst storing data in-house using an on-site facility can give an organisation’s IT team the scope to modify, adapt and expand provision as needed, and offer the peace of mind that critical data remains under their control, businesses choosing this option face some key challenges:
- Pressure on IT staff and difficulty adapting to changing storage requirements within a fixed space
- No provision for disaster recovery unless data is backed up remotely
- Increasing and sometimes punishing costs of infrastructure investment and the ongoing power, cooling, bandwidth, security and manpower costs associated with maintaining an in-house facility
Frequently, in an ever more complex data environment, businesses are unable to make a binary decision about data storage options and opt instead for a solution that distributes the workloads, combining physical storage of equipment and servers 0ff-site with cloud back-ups and the use of online apps and services. Colocation’s hybrid cloud solution offers the best of both worlds: safe, secure and resilient physical storage of servers and equipment (this is particularly important for organisations that handle sensitive data) alongside cost-effective, scalable data solutions in the cloud with no downtime or latency issues.
Making the move to colocation (and getting it right)
Migrating data and servers to other locations can be a daunting process, and something that can’t be done half-heartedly. All colocation centres are not made equal so it’s important to make the right choices. And there are many factors to consider.
Together with IDG Connect, we carried out research in 2017 with 100 UK respondents, the majority of whom already used colocation services, in order to evaluate the factors that are considered most important when considering moving data from on-site storage facilities or from one data centre provider to another. This research identified a whole host of reasons given by respondents for outsourcing to colocation, notably:
- improving IT operations resilience
- ensuring business continuity or facilitating an office move
- benefiting from enhanced security
- reducing pressure on the in-house IT function and freeing up space on site
- benefiting from scalability as organisations and storage requirements flex up or down
The research showed that organisations are looking for a solution that:
- mitigates the risk of downtime and offers clear performance SLAs during and after the transition. Datum’s solution? A 100% power and connectivity SLA
- offers excellent levels of service – everything from on-site engineering services, access to complementary services to add value (e.g. connectivity), flexible contracts, transparency, outstanding facilities, compliance assistance, partnership-working, remote support and reporting, and accreditations. The list goes on …. Datum’s solution? The provision of all of these services, and more
- offers ultimate security. Datum’s solution? A List X location with 24/7 security and access procedures
- is conveniently and strategically located so that physical servers and equipment can be easily accessed. Datum’s solution? A strategic location on the edge of London with excellent transport links
- is environmentally efficient - data centres consume significant amounts of power so colocation providers cannot ignore issues of power consumption. Datum’s solution? Environmentally intelligent cooling to minimise energy consumption, the use of energy from renewable sources, and adherence to ISO50001
- ensures a smooth transition. This smooth transition is key because even a small glitch can have significant consequences. Datum’s solution? A two-phased approach: consolidation and transformation
Datum’s two-phased approach
At Datum we appreciate that our clients aren’t simply looking for a secure location to ‘park’ their data and equipment. IT real estate and data, even if it is stored remotely, still forms an integral part of their business development strategy. The colocation service we offer forms part of a longer digital transformation journey, so we work in partnership with our clients to assess their current needs as well as their long-term plans and future requirements. And our partner relationships mean that we can negotiate excellent contracts with service providers.
- Phase 1: Consolidation of a client’s IT estate together into one location. Before making any decisions it’s vital to map, organise and control a client’s IT infrastructure and understand how it all fits together.
- Phase 2: Transformation of a client’s IT estate into a multi-platform hybrid solution. This is an ongoing process, so our contracts remain completely flexible to enable organisations to flex both up and down in terms of power, space and footprint, and allow for adjustments whilst decisions are made about the location of workloads.