Great data centers aren’t just about having racks, servers, and storage. You need more than physical devices and space to house them to ensure your data center provides nearly 100% uptime levels and ensures value for the businesses that store data on your servers. For instance, a recent outage at Fastly took down Amazon, Reddit, CNN, PayPal, and a host of other high-profile websites around the globe, causing consternation for users and distress for the brands using this distributed content delivery network, similar to a single location data center. Downtime, security failures, and other threats can sink your data center and the customers who use you to store critical data needed to manage internal processes and serve external customers.
The characteristics of great data centers aren’t difficult to identify, so let’s get started.
Characteristics of great data centers
In choosing a data center, a brand must consider its ability to serve current needs efficiently while providing for potential needs in the future. According to Forbes, a data center:
offers a comprehensive suite of solutions that grows with your business, delivers unparalleled customer service and augments traditional colocation offerings with a hybrid mix of cloud, network and managed hosting solutions over advanced networks
1. Local expertise
Data centers are located in one place to provide cloud services to customers. A data center with local expertise provides the best environment for your business to succeed. These localized data centers focus on the needs and demands of people in that region, providing all essential services for businesses in that particular location.
2. Low latency
The latency for your data is the difference in the time it takes to send a request and receive a response. Any increase in latency can slow down or even stop an application, hampering your ability to perform your own business operations effectively and quickly.
3. Disaster recovery plan
A well-designed disaster recovery plan ensures that all critical business functions are recovered within the shortest time possible. When choosing a data center, ask to see their disaster recovery plan and past performance in this area. Data centers with a reliable disaster recovery plan ensure that your business will be back online within minutes of a disaster, avoiding any downtime costs or loss of revenue. They also help avoid potential penalties for unplanned outages.
4. Energy efficiency and sustainability
Data centers require cooling to ensure the servers stay at a constant temperature despite the heat generated by the dense clustering of these devices.
Data centers that utilize energy efficiency and sustainable practices set the example for other companies to follow suit and help save money on utility costs while doing their part to reduce carbon emissions. For instance, a hot aisle/ cold aisle setup reduces energy consumption, increases the life of your equipment, and allows increased density in the data center. A self-sustainable data center allows your company to operate without relying on outside sources, keeping your business running during a power outage.
5. Geographic diversity
Data centers with geographic diversity provide the best protection for your important data by storing it in multiple locations. This ensures that even if one location goes down through a power outage or equipment failure, among other threats, your company can still access all your information and tools without interruption.
6. Scalability and flexibility
Businesses grow and change over time as do their data storage needs. Moving data from one center to another is a hassle and results in downtime that might hamper your businesses or damage your reputation. Customers trying to access your data need accurate and reliable information. For instance, they rely on up-to-date inventory reports to support their own needs. If your data suggests you have sufficient inventory when, in fact, you don’t, customers are disappointed and may find alternate an alternate supplier in the future.
Your business also wants the flexibility to quickly adapt to changing demands. A data center that provides scalable and flexible options saves your business from the hassle of purchasing additional server capacity when it is needed most. Data centers offering modular systems offer the greatest flexibility and scalability to support your business operations. This helps save money on future equipment investments, allowing your company to enjoy maximum return on investment.
Cybersecurity is critical to support your business operations and cybercriminals get smarter every day; finding new ways to evade your security efforts. Data centers with physical security are able to keep unauthorized personnel out of their facilities but that isn’t enough. Physical security protocols ensure that unauthorized personnel don’t have access to your company’s data, allowing for maximum confidentiality and compliance with government regulations. However, such physical security does nothing to fight cybercriminals who access your systems via the internet. To fight these cybercriminals, you need proper procedures and training to ensure employees follow best practices to protect your system. Constant threat testing is also needed to uncover any gaps in your security.
A data center that ensures the security and compliance of their network also sets the standard for other companies to follow suit. This helps ensure all data transfers are safe and secure while helping reduce unauthorized access and cyber-attacks.
8. Availability of services and solutions
A well-managed data center provides its clients with an end-to-end solution, from hardware to software services. This allows your company to take advantage of all the benefits that both physical and virtual data can provide.
Before diving in, carefully consider all factors that will impact your facility’s design, including building type, climate, location, business continuity/disaster recovery needs, staffing requirements, and electrical capacity.
Make sure all of your employees are competent and passionate about their roles in managing and maintaining the data center equipment. Also, consider implementing virtualization to save space and increase resource utilization. It is essential to have a backup data center located at another location to ensure business continuity.
Last but not least, your data center must be secure – with flexible access and awareness about social engineering schemes.
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