Where to store your data? It all comes down to location, location, location

There is a strong case to choose a facility based outside of major cities, which have historically been the de-facto location of choice.

Location plays a critical part within our decision-making process. From choosing where to live, where to work, where to holiday to even where we do business and how we manage our information.

The growth in data volumes coupled with the need for more flexible and bespoke IT capabilities means committing significant investment into managing and maintaining your own internal IT infrastructure is becoming increasingly difficult to justify.

Instead, the rise in third party outlets, such as colocation facilities, and the flexibility of terms offered by these providers now means you can pass that responsibility onto someone else, giving you peace of mind in knowing that your IT infrastructure is safe and secure. But once you’ve made the decision to outsource, how do you choose a provider?

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Historically, London has often been the de-facto location to store your information, but as considerations such as rent, scalability and data growth continue to creep higher on operators’ agendas we are starting to see a much bigger pull towards alternative locations.

Recently, a report from the data centre consulting group BroadGroup, revealed Ireland to be the best place in Europe to set up a facility, citing several benefits including connectivity amongst cities, taxes and active government support. Both Amazon and Microsoft have facilities in Dublin, with Microsoft’s being one of the largest in Europe.

Now, Apple is looking to build an €850 million data centre in Athenry, outside of Dublin and in doing so reinforces why many are starting to look past more traditional data centre locations. So what are the considerations you need to take on board when looking for a location?

To start with, facilities located in major cities are automatically are privy to the costs and risks associated with city life. In somewhere as land precious as London for example, the rental market is very competitive and because of this the costs associated are then passed onto the customer.

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Another consideration is future costs – is your business likely to grow, meaning you may require more rack space? If this is a possibility, you need to ensure that the centre can provide the space to grow, because relocating to a new facility can be costly. Centres outside of London are often bigger, with greater capacity to grow and scale, and therefore are easily able to incorporate new technologies.

While the costs associated with location are likely to be specific to a given business, one common concern is security and risk. Traditionally, hubs can often be found in close proximity to one another.

In London, you’ll find the majority located in the east of the city. While obvious conveniences such as proximity to financial districts and key exchanges will ring true, there are also risks to this, notably having all your centres in one basket.

People live in a society where the threat of terrorism is very real. The recent London and Manchester attacks are an unfortunate reminder to this, but also severed to demonstrate that we can’t take anything for granted.

In the event of an attack a city may go into lockdown – the powers of remote working mean the impact of this is lessoned, but what would happen if an issue occurred at your data centre and no one was around to fix it?

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Additionally, the natural surroundings of a data centre can also define vital elements of security, inherently increasing or reducing your exposure to risks. Is the data centre located close to a river, like the Thames for example? How is this going to impact the data centre should there be heavy rains and flooding?

Locating a data centre on a floodplain is always a risky strategy – all that needs to happen is for flood defences to fail once and your entire IT system could be compromised. Fire is also a constant threat for major cities. While today’s advanced fire prevention systems go a long way to protect the city’s data centres, those located outside of the city carry far less of a risk.

When looking for a data centre partner, these are all things that you’ll need to consider. Your business will have unique requirements, and it is critical that any facility is able to meet these.

Even though major cities, such as London, might appear to be the obvious choice when it comes to outsourcing your information, it is important to understand that these are not the only choice, as the rise of communities such as Ireland have demonstrated. Recognising this might allow you to unlock more features and benefits, reduce the threat of risk, and all at a significantly lower cost.


Sourced by Greg McCulloch, CEO, Aegis Data

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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