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What is a Multi-Data Center Strategy and Why Do You Need One

By: Ernest Sampera on March 1, 2019

No matter what industry a company is in, chances are they have a complicated range of IT infrastructure needs. They may need to utilize multiple cloud computing services, maintain regulatory compliance, and implement cutting edge internet of things (IoT) technology all at once while also ensuring their data is backed up and protected in the event of unexpected downtime.

For these organizations, sometimes one data center just isn’t enough.

What is a Multi-Data Center Strategy?

While many companies view maintaining an on-premises vs off-premises data solution as an either/or choice, the truth is they can do both. In fact, several of them already do. According to an IDG study on data center operations, 53 percent of organizations are already leveraging both options as part of a multi-data center strategy. Rather than making a sweeping decision that could limit operational flexibility in the future, they’re choosing to diversify and take advantage of data center options that suit specific needs.

Why Do You Need One?

There are a number of specific reasons why a multi-data center strategy makes sense for an organization. Here are a few of the most common:

You Want Data Center Redundancy

Losing access to data at a critical moment can be a devastating blow for any organization. Downtime not only carries a significant financial cost, but can also cause lasting damage to a company’s reputation and brand. For some companies, the risk of downtime or even the loss of data due to a disaster situation is far too great to even consider. By implementing a multi-data center strategy that uses off-site storage to back up mission-critical data in a dedicated backup facility, companies can protect themselves from downtime. Data center redundancy can also provide protection from data loss in the event of a natural disaster or ransomware attack.

You Have Critical Compliance Needs

An on-premises data solution may be built to an organization’s specific needs, but it might not take into account the wide range of compliance standards in place to protect customer data. Colocating some IT assets with a third-party data center that holds a wide range of compliance certificates and attestations can make it easier for companies to comply with complicated regulatory standards. A multi-data center strategy would allow them to lean on the compliance expertise of an off-site storage data center while still hosting some of their operations on-premises.

You Have Legacy Infrastructure

Although lift and shift strategies make it possible to migrate some applications into a cloud environment, there are some instances in which companies have no choice but to continue operating their on-premises infrastructure. Perhaps they can’t make the change for security reasons or have too much capital expense tied up in an existing facility to justify relocation. When it comes time to grow, however, investing in a new solution or a colocation arrangement allows a company to develop the infrastructure it needs without having to rethink its legacy systems. With a rich range of connectivity options at their disposal, carrier-neutral data centers can build the multi-data center infrastructures these organizations need to accommodate their existing solutions while simultaneously growing to meet future needs.

You’re Using Edge Computing

The development of IoT devices has fundamentally changed the way consumers interact with network infrastructures. Thanks to the proliferation of WiFi-enabled devices with significant processing capabilities, cloud networks are being extended farther than ever before. For organizations looking to capitalize on the IoT market, edge data centers will form a key element of their computing architecture. By shifting computing workloads to smaller, more agile facilities located on the edge of cloud networks, companies can reduce latency and improve IoT performance.

Edge computing networks are also incredibly valuable for streaming content providers. Caching popular content closer to end users not only improves performance in smaller markets, but also reduces the burden on data centers in top tier markets. Any organization looking to implement edge computing will quickly find that a multi-data center strategy is essential to delivering services and content dependably and efficiently.

By incorporating two or more data center deployments into a multi-data center strategy, companies can position themselves to build upon their existing strengths and scale their networking needs to address new challenges. This diversification ensures that they will have the flexibility to compete effectively in today’s fast-moving global economy.

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