Why a colocation data centre is key to managing data without breaking the bank

IoT is placing greater demand on data centres, and they have to update their infrastructure to keep up. You only have to look as far as Australian ‘IoT at home’ market which will grow to $3.2 billion in 2019 to see how much data will need to be captured, processed and stored in the future. Building a data centre and the costs and resources involved in storing and managing data in your own data centre is immense. Keeping your data centre fully optimised, eliminating latency, reducing downtime, maintaining compliance with continually evolving standards at ever-increasing transmission speeds... that’s quite a challenge.

So how can your business take full advantage of capturing immense amounts of data and meet demand for real-time access while keeping costs down? What could be an effective data centre strategy for your business? For many organisations, the answer lies in colocation data centres.

What is a colocation data centre?

A colocation data centre, also known as a multi-tenant data centre, is a facility where organisations can rent space to host their data – it provides the space and networking equipment, connecting an organisation to service providers, at a minimal cost. A business can rent as little as a server rack to an entire purpose-built module to suit their needs.

Colocation data centres offer all the benefits of a data centre, without incurring the high costs associated with data centres, such as power consumption, real estate and capital expenditure.

Why should I outsource my date centre operations?

To put it simply: costs, uptime and security.  

Outsourcing your data centre will drastically improve your IT team’s capacity and ability to support the business as a whole. Any IT team managing its own data centre is focused on maintaining, upgrading and ensuring the data centre is working at optimum level at all times, rushing to meet demand spikes while working to address downtime and data loss. This consumes resources away from strategic IT objectives for enabling business growth.

The costs involved with keeping your data centre onsite also extend to the wider business: building and maintaining data storage in-house, from power to repairs to security to the physical footprint, impact the business. By outsourcing your data centre to a colocation facility, your business will be able to redeploy capital and resources into critical business initiatives for growth.

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What are the challenges involved?

Reliability is critical.

The key challenge is ensuring the reliability of the colocation data centre to assure access to your data whenever you need it, fast. It’s no easy task to deliver seamless bandwidth capacity every time you need more provisioning and increased service velocity.  

For example, Pier DC is a Tier III certified colocation data centre in Western Australia. Tier III certification requires 100% uptime and multiple distribution paths to allow for no shut downs for maintenance, repair or replacement of equipment. To meet this, Pier DC deployed an all optical fibre cabling infrastructure. The high-density pre-terminated optical solution supports integrated control systems as well as the passive optical cabling for customer cross-connects. This enables Pier DC to provide their customers with the assurance that they will have access to their entrusted data and services at all times, regardless of demand spikes, capacity requirements and moves, adds and changes (MACs) that occur during the lifetime of any data centre.

Will colocation data centres be around long enough to justify my investment?

More and more organisations are looking to outsource their data storage and services. In fact, spend on outsourcing to colocation data centres is expected to double by 2022 to US$60 billion from $31.5 billion currently. As the explosion of data proliferates, it’s becoming imperative for every data centre to ensure it is enabled to meet future capacity requirements.

For many businesses, outsourcing to a colocation facility is key to:

  • Accessing rapid deployment for low- and high-density applications

  • Leveraging the assurance of stringent SLAs

  • Scaling quickly to meet higher-speed technologies and applications

  • Sourcing maximum flexibility to assure future-readiness

  • Reducing total cost of ownership (TCO).

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Colocation data centres are focussed on enabling rapid connections for their customers, offering meet-me-room, distribution, cage or hall environment options to support a range of business, enterprise and cloud needs. As a result, data centre operators will undertake a hardware and technology refresh at least every 3 years. This would be over the anticipated 10 year lifespan of a data centre before major infrastructure upgrades are required. Thus, this evolution is supported, saving businesses from capital expenditure, time and resources.  

What do I need to look for in a colocation data centre?

One of the most important factors when it comes to selecting a colocation data centre is locality or physical proximity. It’s important that you stay close to your colocation facility, as once you outsource, reducing latency and increasing bandwidth are two of the biggest challenges. For example, if an Australian business outsources to a colocation data centre in the US, connection speeds drop and cause unnecessary latency, which would cause customer frustration and ultimately, loss of business.  

From an infrastructure perspective, scalability is key. Scalability within the data centre will support simple migration to higher-speed technologies and applications, this is important to meet future bandwidth and transmission demand posed by your customers. As the masses of data generated by IoT and other technological advancements continues to increase, so too does the need for your organisation to meet customer demand for zero latency and real-time access to data.

A colocation facility also provides a range of services and telecommunication carrier options. It is important to shop around for the colocation facility and services that suit the needs of your business and your customers. For example, if your organisation delivers services which require high speed, you can outsource that one part of your business. If you solely need storage, then another colocation facility might suit your needs. The key takeaway is to not feel restricted to one facility.

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Finally, network and physical security is an important factor in choosing a colocation facility. Colocation data centres tend to address security as a business imperative. If your data is outsourced, you need peace of mind that nobody can inappropriately access it, regardless of how important the data actually is. Consider if the facility has layered security zones, only allowing authorised personnel to access certain network areas and its physical barriers, such as fencing and high security access controls. Additionally, ask about monitoring systems such as CCTV and any systems which detect emergencies such as fire or flooding. This will give you the insight into how the colocation facility will protect your data, and support their client security. It is also important to consider that in a large hall, there will be a number of secure cages housing different companies’ equipment. There needs to be zero risk of one company accessing another’s cage. This is usually managed by security access shares the same key, or code.  

For business operators, both big and small, taking advantage of the immense capability of data is no easy task. Migrating computing needs to a colocation data centre takes the pain out of data management and reduces operational expenditure. A future-ready colocation data centre will offer scalability, flexibility, modularity and stringent SLAs to assure maximum uptime, client peace of mind, and rapid deployments to high-density applications when you need it, fast.