Commercial industry has been radically changed by the application of digital technologies, and companies can no longer afford to sit still. Simply put, they can either seize the digital opportunity or see their organization disappear.
While the effects of digital disruption on business models are familiar territory for many, the impact of digitalization on data center strategies could be the Achilles’ heel for many organizations. The innovations which are revolutionizing business — cloud computing, social media, mobile apps, the Big Data explosion and on-demand services — are most effectively delivered from purpose-built, highly efficient data centers, and many organizations haven’t yet designed their long-term data center strategy.
Building (Or Buying) a Future-Proof Data Center Strategy
The wealth of possibilities opened up by digital disruption are only achievable if an organization has an IT infrastructure able to seize them. And the need to balance a company’s immediate needs with its long-term growth and has led to the resurgence of the build versus buy debate.
When IT was a peripheral addition to the organization’s main operations, in-house facilities were a logical decision. But now there is the need to support an environment where tech innovation is moving at lightning speed, and this means that requirements of an in-house data centre are increasingly complex. In fact, in many cases, the requirements of an on-premise facility are no less than those of their commercial counterparts, but most fall far short.
For example, few have 24/7 manned security, duplicated power systems, duplicated diesel generators (if any) and multiple fiber providers. Space, especially in cities, is expensive, and leaves little room for growth.
Of course, various new options are also now available, including public SaaS services, public or private PaaS services, on-premise cloud appliances, or even multi-cloud, hybrid infrastructures. Soon, distributed architectures and new services being developed for IoT systems (fog computing and network function virtualization, for example) will also increase the range of solution options.
Ultimately, however many choices or combinations of choices there are, the critical nature of the data center, combined with unprecedented economic pressures, means that outsourcing infrastructure is the only route to success. And, because digital disruption continues apace, experts agree that now is the time to harness the power of robust and reliable data center providers.
In a digital economy, the management, manipulation and communication of information is the main function of most businesses. Disaster recovery and data loss prevention naturally becomes top-of-mind for many. Simply, data is business, and data loss is disaster.
It’s nearly impossible for companies to eliminate any single point of failure in their IT infrastructure, and having a robust disaster recovery plan is the only way to ensure that a hardware or software failure or human error doesn’t interrupt service or cause data loss.
Even for well-prepared organizations disaster recovery and its big cousin Business Continuity (BC) are a cumbersome duo. One of the popular strategies is to have an external site that can support business systems, applications and customer data until the primary data center can be returned to normal operation. However, managing a mirrored data center is time consuming and expensive. And the alternative of recovery — an always-on architecture, where resiliency is built directly into the architecture itself — is difficult to set up and manage.
For many, it’s the intense pressure of disaster recovery which really seals the fate of the build versus buy argument. While in-house facilities once gave companies complete control over all aspects of their infrastructure, outsourcing to a third-party now provides the best protection against increasing data center complexity, cost and risk, and eliminates the need to worry about uptime.
With an expert team working around the clock, data is processed with great efficiency, resulting in an ultra-reliable performance. And, when outsourcing with multiple connectivity options, the potential for carrier failure is reduced, protecting critical applications and infrastructure performance. Additionally, if disaster does strike, recovery comes quickly. Put simply, it’s these companies’ business to get you up and running again as quickly as possible.
Getting the data center strategy right means that companies have an intelligent and scalable asset that enables choice and growth in a world of digital disruption. But getting it wrong means their entire business could fail, and for data center managers across the world, the pressure is unprecedented. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that companies are quickly turning to those expert providers who can help.
About the Author
Darren Watkins began his career as a graduate Military Officer in the RAF before moving into the commercial sector. He brings over 20 years’ experience in telecommunications and managed services gained at BT, MFS Worldcom, Level3 Communications, Attenda and COLT. He joined the VIRTUS team from euNetworks where he was Head of Sales for the UK, leading market changing deals with a number of large financial institutions and media agencies, and growing the company’s expertise in low latency trading. Additionally, he sits on the board of one of the industry’s most innovative mobile media advertising companies, Odyssey Mobile Interaction, and is interested in all new developments in this sector. Darren has an honors degree in Electronic and Electrical Engineering from University of Wales, College Swansea.