27 September 2020

When it comes to data centres, there are apples and there are oranges

Written by: Steve Martin, Head of Channel

2020 has forced a re-think of almost every aspect of business and operations, including the consideration of dedicated office space and hosting critical IT infrastructure on-premises.

With so many people working from home, many of whom will never return permanently to the workplace, why would you keep the critical systems that support your organisation located where your people used to be?

Increasingly the penny has dropped that it makes more sense to have your strategic IT assets right next door to the cloud platforms, carrier services and IT expertise that your business relies on to succeed.

Not all data centres are created equal

When it comes to selecting a colocation solution that’s right for your business, comparing apples with apples is crucial. Here is some of the top considerations to weigh up;

  • kVA is not kW – Some solutions are sold as kilovolt-ampere (kVA) and others as kilowatts (kW). They may seem similar in description, but in actual terms, kVA and kW are not comparable. The difference matters. kW is the globally standardised unit measurement for real power while kVA is a unit measurement of apparent power. kVA can be as much as 20% LESS than a kW. All NEXTDC solutions are provided in kW.

  • Only pay for power that you use – Many assume that if you buy 3kW of power you get to use 3kW of power. 100% of the power contracted is always available. This is an incorrect assumption, as some data centres will automatically shift you to the next level of billable power when you hit 80% usage (or 2.4kW). If your data centre provider enforces power upgrades at 80% usage, you aren’t getting maximum value for money.

  • What uptime is guaranteed in your SLA?– NEXTDC offers an industry leading 100% uptime guarantee. No-one else in the industry places that much faith in the design, engineering, and operational excellence of their data centres. A provider who offers 99.999% uptime allows for ~5.3 minutes of downtime a year. However, as many have experienced, even a one second outage can result in hours or days of downtime. Can you afford any data centre outage?

  • Has your data centre provider been independently assessed and certified? – Many claim to have ‘world-class’ facilities, but is it validated? Uptime Institute is the only globally recognised independent organisation assessing and certifying facilities to the highest standards. Don’t be fooled by uncertified claims, because when it comes to your most valued resources (your data and IT infrastructure), quality that is independently verified, matters. If your data centre isn’t Uptime Institute Tier IV-certified, it isn’t best-in-class.

  • How good is your security? – Security threats are real, and the events of 2020 have seen a surge in malicious acts. Minimising the potential damage from security breaches starts with physical protection of the buildings that house your critical infrastructure. That defence in depth needs to be cutting edge, proactive and visible 24/7/365. Be sure to ask questions about security standards, certifications, and ease of access. This is detail you want to know.

  • Monitoring and analytics – When it comes to infrastructure health, you want real-time visibility and insight into what is happening in the environment. The number of data centre services providers who provide their customers with a comprehensive, centralised view of their data centre footprint can be counted on one finger. Our customers are empowered to manage their infrastructure and access the services needed at any NEXTDC facility through our ONEDC infrastructure management portal. This is a powerful value-add our customers tell us saves them time and money. It also introduces a few security and governance improvements for them too.

  • Electronic rack-locking – NEXTDC’s data centres pull some of the most basic redundant processes out of the dark ages. One of those includes electronic rack-locking, which can be managed from the palm of your hand. If you had the choice, would you rather your people and contractors spend their time waiting around for keys? Or would you prefer self-service capabilities – to get in, and out in a fast and frictionless manner? When you weigh up the two; key systems are inherently less secure, cumbersome to manage, time consuming and high risk. Our customers tell us this is one of their favourite features, enabling enormous productivity gains and cost reduction of contractor time on site.

These are just a few of the key factors to consider to, help you sort the apples from the oranges. If we can help make your choice of partner easier, and get you to the right solution first time, reach out.