Why are companies moving primary data centers to wholesale colocation facilities like Lifeline Data Centers? Part 4

Why are companies moving primary data centers to wholesale colocation facilities like Lifeline Data Centers? More companies are using outsource data centers to meet data center certification and data center compliance requirements.

There are dozens of data center certifications. Popular data center certifications include SAS 70 Type II, TIA-942 compliant data centers, and Uptime Institute Rated-4 data center ratings.

SAS 70 certified data centers define a set of controls and commit to adhere to those controls. Some call that the fox guarding the hen house. SAS 70 Type II data centers audit the adherence to these controls using a third party auditor. SAS 70 is being replaced by a new standard, SSAE 16.

TIA-942 was designed by the Telecom Industry Association. It is a granular look at the design and implementation of a data center or telecom facility. TIA 942 compliant data centers offer high levels of uptime. With data centers, redundancy is a good thing. N+N data center redundancy is sought by most companies, because it translates to a higher level of data center uptime. Redundancy refers to the existence backup system for every important system, including redundant utility feeds, redundant generators, redundant UPS systems, redundant data center cooling, and redundant telecommunications. Two of everything is expensive, but it's the only way to guarantee high levels of uptime.

The Uptime Institute tiering system is probably the most talked about certification, though few data centers carry the actual certification. The tiering system rates data centers based how they are designed, focusing on the power architecture and other features inside the four walls of the data center. Rated-4 data centers are designed to deliver 99.995% uptime. The benefit of these redundancy certifications is that they help companies evaluate providers' relative levels of uptime with the theoretical goal of a zero downtime data center. Companies that are shopping for outsource data center may choose to combine certification requirements with a "see for yourself" approach to the outsource computer room's N+N data center redundancy.

Data center compliance is about passing audits. Common audits in the data center include HIPAA, Sarbanes Oxley, FDA, FISMA, NIST, and PCI. Wholesale colocation providers should meet a company's industry, government, vendor and client compliance requirements. A good provider will come to the table with the company when an audit is taking place. This doesn't take the compliance burden away from a company; it allows the company to address the physical security and compliance problems by handing them off to the wholesale data center.

Why are companies moving primary data centers to wholesale colocation facilities? Outsource data centers offer a way to "buy" data center certifications and compliance. Companies can avoid the incremental FTE burden of data center compliance issues. And the right data center provider will act as a trusted agent of the company when the auditors come to call.

In Part 5 of this series, we’ll address how wholesale colocation can solve data center consolidation challenges.

Alex Carroll

Alex Carroll

Managing Member at Lifeline Data Centers
Alex, co-owner, is responsible for all real estate, construction and mission critical facilities: hardened buildings, power systems, cooling systems, fire suppression, and environmentals. Alex also manages relationships with the telecommunications providers and has an extensive background in IT infrastructure support, database administration and software design and development. Alex architected Lifeline’s proprietary GRCA system and is hands-on every day in the data center.
Alex Carroll