Advantages of Using a Data Center: Why Your Server Closet Won’t Cut it

Imagine you’re a chef trying to cook in a kitchen the size of a shoebox.

While the space may work as you perfect your recipes, once you’re ready to expand, the lack of room will prevent growth.

Similarly, businesses may start out with an onsite server closet and quickly find that the room doesn’t have the ability to expand with their business. Often, despite how integral these information centers are to the operation, they may be an afterthought to anyone except the IT department.

That is until there’s a problem.

On a good day, you’ll lose a few billable hours while the server is down. On a bad day, your limited and overheating server closet crashes entirely taking your valuable and perhaps irreplaceable information along with it.

Have you outgrown your server closet? How might it be limiting your growth potential and what can you do about it? That’s what we aim to find out.

START BY ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

Before you can know for sure whether your server closet has the capacity to support your business, it’s important to map out your needs.

Tech Soup, a global technology donation platform, suggests businesses ask the following questions when planning their network:

  • What networking infrastructure (including number of computers and networked devices) do you already have in place?
  • Does your office’s design and layout impose physical constraints on your planning process? For example, is there available space in your floors, walls, or ceilings (often in the form of electrical conduits) where you can string your network cables?
  • What networked applications do end users rely on most heavily, and how much bandwidth do these applications consume?
  • Are you planning any changes to your technology infrastructure (such as additional employees or new applications) that might have an impact on your networking needs?
  • How much money do you have budgeted for the installation and maintenance of your networks?

And one more thing:

  • How will it impact your business if your internet connectivity goes down during business hours, or when you need it most?

WHAT ARE THE LIMITATIONS OF ONSITE SERVERS?

Once you have those answers you can begin to evaluate the possible limitations of your onsite server closet.

For starters, your IT department is a valuable asset that will ideally be used to help expand your business. Utilizing them strategically becomes more difficult if their time and energies are siphoned off by a demanding and outdated server infrastructure.

What’s more, with only one small, over utilized server closet running your entire network, your data is constantly at risk. That’s because your ability to back up and store data is severely compromised. One flood, fire or natural disaster and you can kiss your business continuity and data recovery goodbye.

Perhaps most importantly, when your network is run in-house, expansion or relocation becomes problematic. Whether you want to open new branches or move to a different location, local servers can make it difficult to connect to headquarters.

It’s also difficult to project how fast or how much your company will grow. Overestimate and you could spend a lot up front for little return. Assume too little and you could put your entire network at a disadvantage, unable the meet the needs of your operation.

ARE THEIR ADVANTAGES TO SWITCHING TO A DATA CENTER?

Three main concerns that are automatically alleviated by switching to a hosted data center environment include security, redundancy and fire suppression. Here’s a closer look at each:

  • Security – Most customers that house their own equipment have few physical security processes in place. This includes server rooms that would pass compliance for a SOC, PCI or HIPAA audits. Our data centers are compliant on all counts and have ACL implemented for the rooms. We also install security camera systems that monitor the premise. This footage is retained for a minimum of 90 Days. Finally, with our electronic badge system we can assign different levels of access designating between Visitors, Customers, Vendors and employees entering the facility.
  • Power Redundancy – Often, businesses operating within a multi-tenant building share a generator with the rest of the tenants. This means that in the event of a utility outage, the building’s generator will be burdened with a greater load than it is designed to handle, resulting in complete generator failure. In contrast, our UPS and generators are specifically designed, serviced and continuously tested to prevent against power outage. We also use multiple carriers to service our buildings to guarantee redundancy and give multiple recovery options in the event of an outage.
  • Network Redundancy – We understand how critical internet connectivity today for businesses. Our self-healing network is designed to eliminate any single point of failure with redundant routers and connectivity to multiple carriers, so you can still be up and running in case a carrier goes down.
  • Fire Suppression – Even if the businesses in multi-tenant buildings create their own server rooms by adding additional power, airflow, redundant network carriers, they are still at risk. That’s because commercial multi-tenant occupants are rarely permitted to change or modify the fire suppression in their server rooms. Problematic when you consider that changing the fire system for one server closet would involve the removal of a facility-wide water based fire suppression system. That means, that anytime the sprinklers were triggered within the same zone as their server room, their equipment and all of their data could be lost. In a datacenter environment, fire suppression is both effective and customized to protect costly server equipment and irreplaceable data.

Whether it is a maintenance relief, increased security, guaranteed uptime, backup storage or cost that has you looking at switching to a colocation or data center, businesses of all sizes can benefit from a datacenter hosted environment.

Be it 2 a.m. on a holiday or peak business hours, if you could benefit from 24/7/365 support, contact us. We’re here to serve our customers anytime.

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