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Volume 30, Issue 2

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Friday, 19 May 2017 15:52

The Verdict Is In – Service Provider Data Centers Outperform Enterprise Counterparts

By DuPont Fabros Technology

Companies that rely on IT solutions to power their business and operations have multiple options for acquiring data center space and capacity. They can build a data center themselves, or they can decide to lease or purchase space in an already-built data center operated by a data center service provider.

Regardless of which option a company chooses, the most important attributes that its data center can possess are reliability and consistency. That’s because companies simply can’t afford for their data centers to experience downtime, making critical business applications unavailable and costing them time and lost revenue.

Many may assume that both enterprise data centers and service provider data centers are equal in consistency and reliability. But analyst firm IDC recently published research to the contrary. According to a recent IDC study*, data center providers build and operate data centers that experience less downtime than enterprise data centers. And there are a few reasons why.

Data center providers and colocation providers aren’t just host to one company’s critical infrastructure; they’re likely hosting multiple businesses – all in the same building. If the cooling system fails, or the power fails, multiple customers may be impacted. And that means productivity, revenue and business is potentially lost for all of those customers.

These ramifications, and the resulting desire to avoid downtime, are what drive data center and colocation providers to go the extra mile when it comes to redundancy and resiliency in their data centers. It also leads them to take some other important steps to ensure that the critical systems operating within their data centers are always on.

Let’s look at some of those steps.

Faster Refresh Cycles, Newer Infrastructure
Operating data centers is what data center providers do. It’s their core business and how they generate revenue. Data center space is their product and it’s central to their business.

SP1-(no-italics).jpgFor many enterprises, IT and data center operations are cost centers. It’s peripheral to their business, and is one of their operating costs, necessary to run the applications and workloads that enable them to service their customers, accomplish their mission and get their jobs done effectively. The data center is essential to them, but it’s not their only focus.

As a result, they may not always give their data centers the attention and budget that they demand and deserve.

Knowing that downtime is the adversary, and understanding that operating quality data centers is core to their business, data center providers tend to refresh and maintain critical infrastructure and equipment to ensure that uptime is not compromised. It’s an investment that is essential for delivering on their promise to their customers.

This same rigor may be less common within enterprise data centers. With tight budgets, IT departments need to prioritize where dollars are spent and may allow infrastructure and equipment to go longer between preventative maintenance and refresh cycles. For enterprises, data center refreshes are often planned as large upgrades. But even when these upgrades occur, everything may not be refreshed. Some legacy systems may simply fail to work with newer equipment, while others may simply be too expensive or require too much time or effort to replace.

More Alignment Between IT and Facilities
In a previous post on From the Racks, we discussed the benefits of aligning a company’s facilities managers with their IT department. The points we made in that article remain as accurate and salient as ever.

Data center providers work proactively to keep those groups working collaboratively towards common goals. This means that issues and processes are oftentimes more proactive in data centers run by service providers than in data centers operated by enterprises.

Priceless Expertise
With data center operations at the core of their business, data center providers work tirelessly to recruit and retain the most highly qualified and experienced data center subject matter experts (SMEs). And they utilize their expertise extensively.

Data center providers offer their SMEs to customers to consult and collaborate on everything from implementing room layouts that maximize space and cooling, to organizing data center migrations. This expertise helps to ensure that everything within the computer room runs as effectively and efficiently as the rest of the data center’s systems.

Taking Back Your Time
SP2-(no-italics).jpgAccording to a study conducted by Orbis Research, the North America data center colocation market is expected to more than double by the end of 2022. That’s significant growth over a span of just six years.

Part of the reason for this growth is that it gives IT departments back their time. Bringing new capabilities and applications to bear in a timely fashion is a top concern for IT departments today. Data center providers and colocation companies are effectively giving time back to the IT department by handling the cooling, power and connectivity systems for them. By taking those issues off of the hands of the IT department, the IT department can do what’s increasingly being expected of them – innovate and move the company into the future.

If your company is thinking about a move to a data center provider or colocation space, click here to download the white paper, “Top Criteria For Your Data Center Search - 10 Key Factors To Consider When Searching For A Data Center or Colocation Provider.”

*IDC's Datacenter Facilities Infrastructure Management & Operations Special Study, January 2017