IT plays an increasingly crucial part in business operations. At the same time, it is becoming more and more common for critical IT systems to be hosted externally. The reasons for choosing an external party are usually to reduce costs, achieve a higher uptime, or to ensure support is available 24x7. Location is also an important factor, but how do you determine the right place to build a data centre?
The majority of organisations that manage their own data centre have not given conscious thought to its location. Often, this is just due to the organisation's history; because there was space available for the servers in an attic or cellar, for instance, where they wouldn't be in the way and the server park gradually expanded to become a full-sized data centre. Naturally, the type of data centre that has grown over the years does not meet the requirements of a modern data centre location in terms of quality and performance. More and more organisations are therefore looking for an external hosting party.
Above sea level
It's not that simple to make an objective decision regarding the perfect location for a data centre. In fact, you can only really rely on two sources of information. Firstly, your own common sense. After all, you are the person most familiar with your own organisation and its IT requirements. Some risks may not apply to you at all, while others may weigh more heavily. It is not always sensible to have a data centre on your own industrial estate. Nor is a data centre that is below sea level. And there are yet other factors that will apply to your own organisation. Secondly, there are external sources you can refer to, although one problem with this is that many of them may not be reliable. If, for instance, you contact market participants with enquiries, it's hard to say to what extent you will receive objective answers. In addition, it costs quite a long time to compare different providers.
Nevertheless, there are also objective sources available that can give you more insight into the ideal location for a data centre. These are all sources you can consult from behind your desk without much difficulty. The risk map of the Netherlands (www.risicokaart.nl) is one such external source and is one of my favourites. The risk map was developed by the government as a way of visualising all risks related to a specific location. Risks can include floods, earthquakes, stored fireworks and much, much more. The government itself uses the map when planning residential areas. The map is freely available and is updated regularly and can therefore serve as an important source of information for you. Just enter a postal code, and your company premises and future data centre will be displayed.
The risk map, your market research and your common sense combined will all help you determine the safest location for your data centre. And we have a sneaky suspicion you'll end up choosing Previder. Just to illustrate, Previder has two data centres located in a risk-free area above sea level (Amsterdam Ordnance Datum).