Why running your own data centre needs to be reconsidered

Feb 9, 2021


By Adam Scully, Chief Sales Officer

As our world becomes ever more digitalised and interconnected, organisations of all shapes and sizes have discovered that their data centre has become the new engine room of their day-to-day operations, and the driver for growth. While many large corporations, government departments, and financial institutions continue to run at least some of their I.T infrastructure in-house, increasingly the challenges of connecting to multiple clouds, applications and data pools located in many locations is causing a rethink. Flexibility, scalability, agility, security and complex connectivity requirements are driving new strategic mindsets. Organisations need resilience and stability of performance more than ever as their digital transformation journeys advance like never before.

Risky business

As data volumes compound and core business processes evolve, the continuity of infrastructure services, physical security and flexible connectivity become key risk factors. The consequences of downtime, data breaches or underperforming networks can be dire so mitigation against the possibility of this happening is a high priority. Of course, maximising uptime can be achieved on-premise, but it comes with a significant capital investment and requires a broad range of increasingly expensive, skilled personnel or a bevy of partners. The challenge for organisations that continue managing their own data centres resides in the need to continue investing capital to keep pace with constantly evolving configurations of a suitable operational environment. It is unlikely that individual, self-managed data centres will be able to fully reap the cost reductions, resilience, energy efficiencies, security standards and productivity improvements achievable when addressed at scale through co-location services.

Digital is core

Our accelerating dependence on interconnected technology is showing no sign of slowing down. More applications are becoming mission critical and customer facing, so not only do they always have to be available, but they also have to always be performing optimally. Productivity and customer experience depend upon it and, in a globally competitive marketplace, survivability can be at stake.

Enhancements in processor technology mean servers are much faster, smaller, and denser than previous generations while the volume of data now being captured, stored analysed and archived means the number of servers required also keeps multiplying.

Keeping the power on

Most buildings aren’t built to safely and consistently draw the amount of power now required to run enterprise digital infrastructure. Meanwhile, the cooling requirements to keep these systems in an optimal operating environment extends well beyond what is required just for human habitation. And that is not even touching on all of the additional expertise and investment required to build and operate this environment so that it is as energy efficient as possible, another factor that is important to achieving sustainability and total cost of ownership objectives.

Can you hear the dollar signs mounting up and visualise the damage to the capital expenditure budget?

Achieving required levels of ‘operational sustainability’ is a central goal of all large data centre managers and it demands specialist, dedicated staff backed up by a team wholly focused on delivering data centre excellence.

The secret sauce

It’s not enough to merely claim you have achieved a suitable level of operational sustainability, it must be backed up by independent certification. In the data centre industry, the organisation providing that trusted third party verification of quality in design, construction, and operations for over 25 years is the Uptime Institute.

Uptime Institute Tier IV classification is the highest certification available for data centres globally. NEXTDC customers benefit from being in the first colocation data centres in the Southern Hemisphere to achieve Tier IV Gold Certification of Operational Sustainability by Uptime Institute. This guarantees them the resilience and energy efficiency that is required.

Human error is the biggest challenge data centres face when it comes to outages. Around 80% of outages across the globe are cited as ‘accidental’.

Tier IV Gold Operational Sustainability certification recognises the significance of these human factors in running a data centre to meet fault tolerant standards. It also includes contemporary challenges such as climate-change preparedness and takes into consideration the growing need for edge computing, outage risk mitigation, energy efficiency, increasing rack density, and staffing trends.

If staff are not properly trained and the correct processes are not in place, it doesn’t matter how good the building and hardware are. It’s only a matter of time before an outage will strike. We invest hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to educate staff, partners and vendors in an effort to maximise operational sustainability so that our customers don’t have to.

Other data centres may claim they have procedures and trained staff but unless they’re regularly assessed by an independent third party and benchmarked against the best data centres on the planet, their claims are worthless.

When our customers choose to locate their critical infrastructure in our facilities, they benefit from the rigid processes managed by highly trained staff. To achieve Tier IV Gold Operations status, we conduct quarterly training sessions for all our operations team and have to provide that evidence for each individual to Uptime Institute. Any new staff that have joined since the previous audit are subject to a competency-based assessment.

This attention to detail across the whole process – including design, construction, staffing and maintenance of our facilities – is what assures our customers that they are in Australia’s best data centres. It is why they have come to trust is to deliver on our 100% uptime guarantee

Book a tour and see for yourself how NEXTDC can take all of the capital investment and stress out of mitigating all the risks of a digitally dependent world.

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