It’s easy when considering a new data center to get carried away with your needs for today (and possibly for next year) and forget about your needs for 5 to 10 years into the future. After all, it’s much easier to talk to C-level executives about current trends and their budgets for next year versus guessing at expected growth 10 years from now.
In order to allow for future growth of your organization, you need to avoid these data center gotchas:
Everybody hopes his or her business will continue to grow within the next 5 to 10 years. This is why scalability is such a crucial factor in data center design and maintenance. Whether you are building your own data center or picking a colocation partner, it’s important that they have the flexibility to allow your company to grow. Your data center needs to be agile enough with both technology and contracts to allow growth without breaking the budget.
As power density increases, cabinets create additional heat as a byproduct. When growth requires increased density, make sure your data center can handle the additional power and cooling requirements.
Even IT veterans may not have the knowledge required to budget and build their own data center. Building, space, power, cooling, containment, and other concerns can be a major and expensive undertaking. When you build your own data center, you don’t get the combined years of experience from a group who has focused on data center design for a wide variety of needs. Like most types of technology, data centers and the technology that goes into them are forever changing.
You need advisors who can help you make the right decisions based on combined years of experience. This type of experience is almost impossible to get when one or possibly two people are doing the design.
Most data centers require ongoing maintenance in order to keep things running. However, it takes an experienced planner to plan for the future and realize what will be needed for growth. A properly maintained data center can greatly extend its life by providing proactive maintenance. This means as some things break, you will need to replace them with more current components that allow for growth in the future. This can deal with resource utilization, power, cooling, and space.
It’s human nature for us to try to get the best deal and this usually means focusing on price. Why not? We look at prices everywhere else so when considering the data center it’s easy to consider price as a major factor.
However, we aren’t buying canned goods here. It’s important to consider factors like how much downtime will really cost and the quality of service when selecting a data center. The success or failure of your brand can depend on the quality of service your data center provides.
Work with your provider to establish a service level agreement (SLA) that determines your expectations. Do they offer guaranteed uptime? If not, can your business afford to go down and what will be the cost if that happens?
“Enterprises shouldn’t have to choose colocation or cloud: it is about making sure that colocation and cloud services coexist so that IT can evolve,” Lilac Schoenbeck, Continuity Central.
If your data center has you tied to a certain vendor for cloud services or connectivity, it’s likely to impede growth. You need to make sure that your data center offers vendor neutral cloud and connectivity to ensure your colocation and cloud services can coexist.
These are a few of the data center gotchas that are likely to cause challenges and prevent your company from growing. Watching out for these gotchas can help you future-proof your organization.
Ernie Sampera is the Chief Marketing Officer at vXchnge. Ernie is responsible for product marketing, external & corporate communications and business development. Ernie brings over 26 years of marketing, sales, channel distribution, program management, strategic alliances, and business development experience to the company. Prior to joining vXchnge, Ernie was Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer at Switch & Data. Ernie has also held executive marketing and development positions with AT&T IBM, UNISYS, and the American Medical Association.