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Your data centre colocation, your home: finding the right premise to sustain and grow IT and business operations

Shehara Viswanathan, Head of Cloud Portfolio, Telstra | Oct. 14, 2016
For most companies, the process of licensing space from a data centre colocation service provider is no different from purchasing a new home. You wouldn't want critical information and processes to reside in a facility that is far-removed, susceptible to outages and breaches, and lacks the necessary amenities to sustain day-to-day business operations and growth.

Value-added services

You would also consider who developed the property and who is currently managing it, so you have the confidence to stay in it. Building certification would be on your agenda and you would want your home to be built according to international safety standards. Similarly, your data centre of choice needs to adhere to international tier standards and be able to withstand natural disasters in areas that are more susceptible.

Most of us would also surely appreciate building management that proactively sends trained personnel to maintain and upgrade elevators, air conditioning or lighting, and perhaps even refurbish the building exterior from time to time. Similarly, look for a colocation provider that delivers more than just space and an electrical hook-up.

Your provider should have a team of dedicated data centre experts who can act on your behalf and execute your plans remotely, along with a service-level agreement (SLA) detailing service metrics related to onsite support, power and cooling, and facility management. Business and IT excellence is a game of inches and you'll soon find that these value-added services play a significant role in delivering your IT infrastructure's finest performance.

Don't buy the house, buy the neighbourhood

Security is another chief concern. You wouldn't want to reside in a neighbourhood that reports a break-in every other week. The presence of physical perimeter fencing, CCTV and a team of security guards patrolling the estate 24/7 would no doubt give you an additional sense of security. Top-tier providers are constantly evaluating their data centre facilities for vulnerabilities. As technology quickly becomes outdated, engage providers who remain diligent in protecting their facilities and clients' valuable IT assets. Physical-security considerations should include physical barriers, layered security zones, monitoring systems, and fire detection and fighting apparatus.

Online security is just as important. Your data centre colocation provider should also offer services such as DDoS protection, network security and threat detection, as well as certifications like ISO 27001 for Information Security Management to safeguard your data.

Additionally, having the ability to tap on multiple carriers makes your IT more resilient. Imagine having to travel from your new home to your workplace only to find that the only route is congested or blocked off due to an accident. A data centre that is connected to multiple carriers is like ensuring your home is close to multiple roads and highway entrances or exits. Route diversity is key to ensuring you can conveniently continue with your day-to-day activities, even under unfortunate circumstances.

Once you make a significant investment to move your business's web servers to a data centre, you'd be in a catch-22 situation if you face problems with your carrier's network but have to move to another data centre to switch carriers. In a carrier neutral facility, you are not limited to any one provider for connectivity and can make a carrier change when necessary. In addition, consider that IT best practices typically require at least two carriers be used to connect crucial systems to the Internet, so that if one fails, the other carrier will continue to function and your critical systems will stay connected. 


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