DCN December 2016 - Page 29

modular systems Some clients even do the reverse, and use building modular data centres as a way to offer additional space for other parts of their operations – at Secure IT Environments we have undertaken projects that include design requirements such as adding a multi-faith room in a build specification. We have also built roof gardens, which is a great addition to what is ordinarily perceived as a ‘tech space’. Building or upgrading a modular data centre has costs that are fixed and pre-determined. The initial outlay, although often significant, is planned and in effect a one-off investment that requires limited funding for a number of years before any upgrades are required. Certainly a build that is well planned can provide state-of-the-art equipment that is energy efficient and up to date. They can even generate revenue, by renting to other nearby organisations as a shared services scheme. The total cost of ownership for these schemes can offer additional benefits to any business. Plan for expanding to compromise. A well designed and built modular data centre will add capital value to an organisation as well as peace of mind that the IT infrastructure is on site and within sight – the build is flexible and you have complete control over the intricacies of how it is put together. Even when space is limited, a data centre can be fitted into ‘dead space’ within an office environment. Using modular data centre systems, spaces that would ordinarily be wasted can be turned into highly secure IT environments. Expanding a data centre can be a struggle if you are limited to using internal office space, so think about your future needs, even if your implementation is small. External data centres do not have to be large, but designing for expansion through modular technology can offer a quick and easy route to achieve a seamless expansion programme, making for a swift and clean process when the time arrives. Should I cohost? Many organisations choose to cohost, but others consider it to offer less flexibility, with concerns over sharing facilities, the infrastructure being out of physical reach, and ultimately a feeling that they are not in control. Cohosting facilities are however by their nature continually upgrading and improving facilities, giving organisations with little or no budget the option to tap into new technology on an ongoing basis. In addition, the services that you are buying require no capital expenditure, and the way they are accounted for can be very attractive to the finance director. Assuming the cohosting costs are managed and capped within reason, access to this ongoing technological development can be achieved on a relatively low budget. This can give companies a competitive advantage. If your organisation has a small IT team with limited experience, the cohosting option allows the team in effect to ‘outsource the IT responsibility’ to someone with more experience – providing a knowledge base that ordinarily would not be available in a smaller IT unit. Speed is also a very attractive benefit in cohosting – changes to the environment are almost instant giving a level of flexibility that is not available within an owned data centre. On and on… So whilst there are benefits and shortcomings of both cohosting and building a modular data centre, the truth is that circumstance will dictate the route to take. Think about how much control you need and how close you want to be to your data, as well as the financial commitments that you are prepared to make in the short and medium term. Make your own decisions and have an open mind, don’t let the experiences of others sway you too much – a data centre is a strategic investment whichever route you take, and has to be the right one for your business, not somebody else’s. 29