When You’re Ready to Upgrade, Choose a Colocation Provider You Trust
Legacy data centers are scary.
- Patching things together after yet another outage
- Running capacity into the red with fingers crossed
- Unplugging a cable and preparing for the worst
- Dreading the next regulatory audit
However, with 70% of data centers still maintained in-house, it is clear that concerns such as budget constraints and loss of control have trumped the decision to make a change. The following are high-level thoughts on a prospective data center upgrade plan for your business. Should you need to talk more in-depth, please contact a member of the Iron Mountain Data Centers team and we will gladly offer feedback from our decades of data center management experience.
1. Create a data center upgrade pros and cons list. Sometimes it helps to put things on paper to see whether a data center upgrade is right for your needs. Whether you are for or against the upgrade, it is your responsibility to assess risk vs. reward before anything serious occurs.
- What Is your data center's PUE? If it's above 2, you are wasting money and energy.
- What is your cost of downtime? What is your uptime track record?
- How old is your data center infrastructure (UPS, CRAH/CRAC, generators, etc.)? When is end-of-life?
- What level of transparency do you have into the health and utilization levels of your data center?
- How stable/predictable is your data center staffing situation? Near retirement/high risk of turnover?
- What are the third-part data center options in your desired markets? Viable? Why/Why not?
- What is the worst-case scenario if you keep the status quo? Make the upgrade?
- What is the best-case scenario if you keep the status quo? Make the upgrade?
- Could the state of your data center affect a regulatory audit? How?
2. Develop a data center RFP. Even if you are not considering a third-party data center provider, filling out a detailed data center request for proposal will help document exact project needs and by extension produce a more accurate budget. The RFP is an excellent tool for comparing in-house vs. colocation data points as well as side-by-side data center provider comparisons. Don't have a data center RFP template? Below are some common elements to include. However, we recommend contacting an Iron Mountain specialist for a free RFP consultation before you get started.
- Infrastructure configuration/design (N, N+1, 2N, 2N+1, etc.)
- Security features, capabilities (officers, access denials, access logs, mantraps)
- Compliance (ISO, FISMA, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, SOC, etc.)
- Capacity needs for space and power - current and future needs
- Target PUE/energy efficiency
- Cost per square foot or kilowatt
- Project timelines, milestones and restrictions
3. Develop a data center upgrade business case. Should you find yourself on the side of a data center upgrade, the next step is to create a business case.
- Know your company’s cost of downtime, including all things affected such as ecommerce, worker productivity, and brand impact amongst others. Can’t come up with a viable number? Use the industry standard of $7,900 per minute of downtime.
- Present multiple options – base/best/worst case scenarios, in-house vs. outsourced
- Understand and document the financial impact of energy efficiency. For example, how much money is wasted each year choosing a data center with a 2.0 PUE in lieu of a 1.5 PUE?
- Identify any/all potential fines due to a data center-related failed audit
- Describe the potential customer effect. Could it lead to attrition? If so, what revenue is lost?
- Can outsourcing reduce project costs? Will you have soft-cost human resource gains? More productive workforce with less downtime/latency?
4. Consider a third-party data center/colocation provider. With 70% of enterprise data centers still managed in-house, the time has come to consider third party data centers for your new location(s). Chances are, your data center is a cost center not a differentiator and therefore will not gather the long-term corporate attention and resources it needs to thrive. Reputable third-party data center companies focus everything they do on the data center. They have armies of trained personnel focused 24-hours-a-day on nothing more than optimal data center operations. They are constantly up-to-date on the latest in design, security, energy efficiency, government regulations, infrastructure, and capacity planning trends to ensure ideal continuity of their business and that of their customers. And, many have ample space and power capacity as well as infrastructure management software to provide a viable, transparent long-term solution. Free your business from the CAPEX-heavy, depreciating real estate assets that are your in-house data centers and take advantage of reduced total cost of ownership, increased business agility, and the superior operational efficiency of third-party data centers.
5. Create a detailed data center migration/consolidation plan. Many aspects of the migration/consolidation plan will have been accounted for in the data center upgrade planning and pitch process, but having them incorporated into a formal plan is important. The migration/consolidation plan will ensure consistency in vision across all project stakeholders and influencers, keep the project on-time and on-budget, and reduce conflict amongst other benefits.
Iron Mountain customers have access to our team of data center experts and Professional IT Services partners. You don't have to do this alone. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.