Blog March 18, 2013

Top 6 Things to Consider When Looking to Expand Your Data Center Presence

If your data center is running out of space or power it’s time to make some decisions. Should you build a brand new facility? Should you lease from a colocation (colo) or utilize a managed hosting provider? Our friends at CyrusOne put together a great white paper on things to consider in these types of situations.

1. Do you really want to get into the construction business?

A new data center is a major investment for your company. Are you willing to give it priority over other initiatives? If so, consider the location of your new facility and factor in the cost of electricity, cost of land/construction and the availability of a qualified labor force.

2.    How soon do you need additional capacity?

Building a new data center typically takes a minimum of 8-12 months, so if you needed capacity yesterday, this option simply won’t cut it. You’ll be better off with a colo provider or a managed hosting service. Going the colocation route, you timing will depend on how long it will take to purchase, ship, and set up the hardware. With a managed hosting provider you can be up and running within a couple of days since all major components are in place.

Of course this all depends on your specific business needs and growth, if you are experiencing steady gradual growth, than the 8-12 month time frame may be viable, but if you are experiencing rapid expansion that may change the situation a bit.

3.    How much capacity do you really need?

How much space do you really need and how are your requirements going to change? By building a data center you are pretty committed to your investment. On the other hand, through a collocation or hosting provider you can minimize the risk by only renting the space or hardware you need right now and in the near future.

4.    Cooling Requirements

Cooling requirement provide an additional challenge when designing a data center. In low-density environments, a shared cooling approach can be taken. In high density environments, a zoning approach is preferred. Either approach involved computerized modeling, not a simple task.

5.    Environmental Requirements

In today’s world, data centers are required (and expected) to abide by strict environmental rules which require the latest technology and in turn, a larger investment. Utilizing a colocation service or a hosting provider helps solve that problem by you having instant access to existing (efficient) infrastructure.

6.    Investment needed

How are you going to get the money upfront to be able to support a project of this scale? Ultimately, the build choice will be a capital expenditure (CAPEX) while leasing will be an operating expense (OPEX). There are many implications and considerations for each that go beyond this post.

As described above, managed hosting or colocation  are viable options when considering the expansion of your data center. Please let me know if you have any additional questions on data centers and we’ll get them answered here.


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