Archive for the ‘Hardened Data Center’ Category

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Thinking about moving a data center? Many organizations are. A few things are driving this trend:

Uptime – Uptime is more important than it used to be. More businesses “bet the business” on the availability of their computer systems. The costs of data center downtime can be high: lost credibility, lost revenue and lost clients.

Moving the office – The buyers market for office space is appealing to many companies. And along with the office move, the old enterprise data center in the converted office in the back room has to move too.

The big switch – Many companies who have used outsource data center facilities for their secondary or disaster recovery data center are switching locations of their primary and secondary data centers. Most organizations do this to improve uptime, but there are other reasons as well.

The costs of building a data center is high. Data center capital costs for 1000 square feet can easily exceed $1 million. And the costs of ongoing support for the facilities are significant as well.

Why are in-house data centers so expensive to own and operate? Data centers are a combination of two complex disciplines: information technology and mission critical facilities management. Server management is very different from managing multiple utility feeds, generators and UPS systems. Network management is very different from expertise in hardened data center construction techniques. The expertise required to build and operate 99.995% uptime data center just doesn’t exist in most organizations.

Cost and expertise are the reasons why so many companies have adopted some form of colocation or cloud computing for primary data centers and disaster recovery centers. Wholesale and retail colocation allow companies to farm out the facilities expertise and concentrate on the information technology. Cloud computing further simplifies owning and operating a data center by allowing companies to farm out both facilities and some part of the information technology.

Whether you have a large data centers or a small ones, moving it is a complex set of projects. Talk to the data center facilities experts before building a new data center.

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When is colocation a better fit than cloud computing? That’s one of the most frequent CIO and data center strategy questions we hear as companies tour our Indianapolis colocation facility.

Let’s define terms.

Colocation is outsource data center facilities: hardened data center buildings, power redundancy, cooling redundancy, physical security, fire suppression, and access to telecommunications carriers. Colocation providers could also be called high-tech landlords, providing data center as a specialized real estate offering.

Cloud computing is many things (read up on cloudwashing), but generally it is one of more computing resources delivered via the Internet. Many companies use cloud computing to eliminate the need to buy and own disk storage, servers, network and security devices.

Let’s assume that high data center uptime is a requirement, regardless of whether a company uses colocation or cloud computing. Most companies expect at least 99.995% uptime for their production data center. 99.995% uptime is 28 minutes of downtime per year or less. The cost of downtime for companies like this is almost always a combination of lost productivity, lost revenue and lost clients. Both colocation and cloud computing can offer high data center uptime.

Here are a few instances when cloud computing may be a better fit.

Companies are in start up mode and are trying to keep costs low.
Cloud computing offers low start up costs, almost no capital expenditures up front. Cloud computing typically offers server and network management as part of the service, so the need for on-staff IT help is also reduced.

Scalability (cloud bursting) is a key requirement.
A few of the more sophisticated cloud providers offer the ability to protect a company from its own success, i.e. an onslaught of web visits without a crash. Think of a successful marketing campaign that drives so much traffic that your website topples under the load. Cloudbursting offers a solution to this problem.

Avoidance or reduction of on-staff IT support.
If a company is trying to cut IT staffing costs, cloud computing can offer the benefits of IT delivery support without the FTE burden.

Here are some of Lifeline Data Centers’ observations on when colocation is the better fit.

Companies wish to control the hardware that supports their applications.
This is often a result of the applications a company uses. Many mission critical applications require extra memory, processor power, and/or network resources to meet performance goals. Controlling all hardware components end-to-end improves reliability and performance.

Companies wish to own and operate their own hardware, for whatever reason.
This could be to take advantage of sunken costs, to leverage lower costs of owning hardware over time, or just because it’s important for the CIO to own his own hardware.

Data center compliance and certification requirements are complex.
HIPAA, FDA, FISMA, NIST, PCI/DSS and SOX compliance are easier to manage in a physical data center than a logical of virtual data center offered by cloud computing.

Companies need access to multiple telecommunications carriers.
This is not exclusive to colocation. However colocation providers that deliver carrier neutral data centers with no cross connect fees are more common that cloud computing providers who offer the same flexibility.

Cloud computing and colocation are not mutually exclusive. Many companies utilize cloud resources via their colocation facilities.

What are your requirements for the next generation of your data center? Will you choose colocation, cloud computing, or a hybrid solution that includes both?

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Can affordable colocation deliver 99.995% uptime? Does it make financial sense for you to move either your enterprise data center or your disaster recovery center to a colocation facility? And can the result of that move to colocation improve your uptime?

The answer is: do the math. You need to do the research necessary to determine if moving to an outsourced data center can be both affordable and deliver high uptime.

First, consider the uptime in your current data center. How many power feeds come into your building from the utility? How many generators support it? How many UPS systems? How many air conditioning systems? How many telecommunications providers and feeds come into the building? If any of these answers is less than two, you have the ability to improve your uptime by moving to a colocation facility, also known as an outsourced data center.

Second, consider the costs of operating your existing data center. Include real estate costs and labor costs. And remember to include power costs. If your computer room is in-house, your data center power costs may not be easy to determine. Remember, for every kW of power used to run your IT equipment, another kW of power is required for the air conditioning to cool the IT equipment. In-house power costs may be higher than you think.

How can you make sure that the colocation provider you’re considering can deliver 99.995% uptime? You can ask them, or you can check for yourself to make sure they have at least two power feeds, generators, UPS, HVAC and telecom entrances. F5 tornado resistant data centers are important in Midwest colocation providers. Hardened data center facilities should be one of your requirements.

How can you identify affordable colocation facilities? Compare a few data centers by getting apples-to-apples pricing. You’ll find out how they like to do business by examining their pricing model. A simple data center pricing model is usually a good sign. A good data center pricing model allows for incremental growth and change.

A few wholesale colocation providers price power based on usage, and not on the circuit size or the maximum potential load. This pay-as-you-use-it model is a more predictable and practical approach; it’s just like how you would pay for data center power at your in-house data center. Paying for power as you use it almost always results in savings over time.

Avoid monthly cross connect fees to the telecom providers if possible. Some colocation facilities offer no cross connect fees in a carrier neutral environment. This is another opportunity for significant savings when compared to other outsourced data centers.

Affordable colocation can deliver 99.995% uptime, the same levels as a tier IV data center facilities. Need pricing? Contact us.

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Data center management is a broad term. In many data centers, management can be split into two broad categories:

  • Information technology
  • Mission critical facilities

Colocation/Data Center Outsourcing - Lifeline Data Centers

Information technology is the management of everything in the racks: network, servers, storage, security appliances, operating systems and appliances.

Mission critical facilities is everything that surrounds the equipment in the racks: power feeds, generators, UPS systems, data center cooling , hardened data center buildings, physical security, and telecommunications access.

The driving force behind this management is normally data center reliability, or data center uptime. Most organizations are increasing their dependence on their most important software applications. To these organizations, data center downtime usually means lost productivity, lost revenues, and lost clients.

Many organizations manage both IT and facilities in their own headquarters building. These organizations often employ in-house FTEs to manage both IT and facilities. Many use outside help for segments of the management; integrators for a new application project, or preventative maintenance providers for ongoing generators, UPS and HVAC care.

Some organizations choose to outsource the facilities side of the data center by using outsourced data centers, or wholesale colocation facilities. These outsourced facilities providers provide reliability, removing the data center building and power management headaches from the IT organization’s to do list. Some colocation providers help clients address data center compliance and certification requirements, further reducing the facilities burden upon the organizations that use colocation space.

Outsourcing the facilities side of the data center can also be used to trade capital costs for operating expenses. F5 tornado resistant data center buildings are capital intensive to build. Even small data centers are expensive.

Perhaps the biggest practical benefits to outsourcing the data center facilities is control. In the wholesale colocation model, organizations retain full control of their information technology infrastructure. This control can be critical, especially if the cost of downtime is high.

Is your organization still in the mission critical facilities management business? Investigate the alternatives; it’s often a simple math problem to determine whether outsourced data center facilities might improve your information technology environment.

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In this info-rich post, Rich Miller (Data Center Knowledge) talks about there wheres and whys of proliferation of data centers in certain areas. His classification of data centers into three major categories is spot on.

The first building at Facebook’s data center campus in Oregon, built on a high plain above the small town of Prineville (Population: 10,000).

The changing shape of the Internet can be seen in a three-hour drive across the mountains and plains of western Oregon. The drive winds up and around Mount Hood, and across miles of wilderness to a high plain above Prineville, a town of 10,000 residents.

It’s about 150 miles from Portland, the nearest significant city. But this is where a big chunk of the Internet resides, serving status updates and photos to many of Facebook’s 850 million users. Millions more will soon see their music and videos routed through Prineville, with the news that Apple will build a server farm in town to support its iTunes and iCloud apps.

The notion of placing major Internet infrastructure in a small town in central Oregon would have been unimaginable a few years ago. When I began covering the data center sector more than a decade ago, the most critical facilities were located in the heart of the nation’s largest cities, close to customers and fiber intersections.

More of the Data Center Knowledge article from Rich Miller

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What plans do you have for your data center in the next 18 months?
The Lifeline Advantage - Lifeline Data Centers
Are you building a hardened data center?
Are you adding power or cooling to an existing data center?
Are you faced with data center compliance and certifications requirements?
Are you working to improve uptime?
Will you replace servers, network equipment, and appliances?
Will you move applications out of the data center and into the cloud?

Are you adding a secondary or disaster recovery data center?
Do you plan to modify your adds/moves/changes process?
Do you plan to implement more virtualization?
Will you change your IP scheme?
Will you update your backup/recovery process?
Are you implementing governance practices that directly affect the data center?

Many of these decisions are highly interrelated. What is your data center strategy? Do you have an overarching approach to how you will address IT infrastructure that supports your business?

Data center strategies are changing. Cloud computing, colocation, and multi-location high availability architectures are helping IT organizations control data center capital costs while simultaneously improving data center uptime. In-house data centers are changing as well. Can you meet the needs of your users today and in five years?

Want to learn more about data center strategy? Call the data center experts at 31y-423-2591.

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Why do hardened data center facilities matter? Hardened data centers reduce the risk of a prolonged outage due to natural and man-made disasters.

About Lifeline - Lifeline Data Centers

On the west coast, data centers are hardened by a number of different technologies to withstand the frequent shaking of earthquakes. In the Midwest, hardened data center facilities protect against natural disasters such as tornadoes. F5 tornado resistant data centers protect your mission critical facilities and equipment from natural disasters.

Although the risk of a natural disaster is low, the risk of a prolonged outage in a natural disaster is very high.

Is your enterprise data center protected by a hardened data center building?

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Colocation or cloud computing? Which one is right for your critical computer systems?

How Lifeline Helps Real Estate Professionals - Lifeline Data Centers

In simple terms, colocation (also known as outsourced data center or wholesale colocation) is high-tech real estate. Companies use colocation to solve the problems of hardened data center buildings, power, cooling, telecommunications and security. Companies use colocation to solve these problems without losing any control of their IT infrastructure and systems. Colocation is about control of IT without the worry of building facilities.

Cloud computing comes in many forms. Companies use cloud computing to access applications and resources without owning hardware or maintaining an IT staff . Cloud computing is about applications and solutions without the worry of IT staff, IT infrastructure, and building facilities.

When comparing cloud computing providers, make sure you understand the incremental costs. Simpler pricing models are usually better. Understand the built-in backup systems and redundancies and how you can build in higher reliability if you need to.

When shopping amongst colocation providers, make sure you understand the incremental costs. Simpler data center pricing models are usually better. Keep costs low by choosing a provider with low power costs. Midwest colocation providers tend to have lower data center power costs than other areas of the United States. Affordable colocation is available in many regions of the country. Most companies today look for a minimum 99.995% uptime carrier neutral data centers with no cross connect fees.

Use colocation to maintain control of your applications and infrastructure without the worries of building facilities. Use cloud computing when you’re looking to solve application problems with a minimum of IT overhead.

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Does wholesale colocation simplify data center management? Does outsourcing the facilities side of your data center make it easier to manage the data center?

Consider the what it takes for 99.995% uptime enterprise data center facilities management:

F5 tornado resistant data center building- for Midwest colocation

Full data center power redundancy – multiple power feeds, generators, UPS systems and rack feeds

Data center cooling redundancy – multiple, concurrently maintainable cooling systems

Physical security – two factor authentication and multiple layers of loggable physical security

Fire suppression – Reliable, industry standard systems with regular testing and maintenance

Data center compliance and certifications – from SAS 70 to SSAE 16, HIPAA, Sarbanes Oxley, FDA, FISMA and NIST certifications are just a few of the standards

Telecomm redundancy – Multiple telecommuncations feeds with separate entrances into the building

These requirements have nothing to do with Information Technology. They are facilities problems. If a colocation provider can take these requirements off your hands, you’re free to focus on data center management of your business, the applications that support it, and your underlying IT infrastructure.

Yes, wholesale colocation providers can simplify data center management. And if you’re selective, you can use the colocation provider to engineer higher data center uptime levels. Look for a wholesale colocation provider that delivers hardened data centers, N+N data center redundancy, multiple carriers, no cross connect fees, and 99.995% uptime. Power billing based on utilization is key. And don’t forget to shop for low data center power costs.

Wholesale colocation lets you stop worrying about data center facilities management.

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Is your in-house data center nickel and diming you to death?

Is your internal data center expensive to operate? Forget what’s in the racks. I’m not talking about servers, networking equipment and storage. I’m talking about facilities: your raised floor, your security, your power, your cooling, your telecommunications infrastructure and your fire suppression. How expensive is it to maintain?

Operating a data center in-house is expensive. Real estate floor space costs, raised flooring, reliable air conditioning systems, specialized security and fire protection all drive up the data center capital costs. Small data centers can easily exceed $1 million in capital up front.

Data center power and cooling redundancy is expensive. Multiple UPS systems are fairly common. Dual generators are rare. Rarer still are in-house data centers have two utility feeds. Data center capital costs are high, but the costs of maintaining and operating generators and UPS systems are high as well. N+N data center redundancy (two of everything) is prohibitively expensive for many organizations. You can’t deliver high uptime without power and cooling redundancy, yet uptime requirements continue to rise.

Staffing is expensive. Do you dedicate half an FTE or more to the maintenance of the data center?

Data center compliance and certifications are expensive. SAS70 (Now SSAE 16) data center certification audits start at about $20,000. Other certifications like the Uptime Institute’s Tier IV data center certification can cost more.

Not only are the data center capital and operating costs high, they’re also unpredictable.

How do you control costs?

Wholesale colocation offers an interesting solution. Wholesale data center providers build and operate high-tech real estate. Here are a few of the reasons that organizations choose to outsource the data center facilities.

You can rent the space you need in these giant data centers.

You can still have full control of your IT equipment and telecom infrastructure.

You can benefit from N+N data center redundancy in power, cooling, and telecom to improve uptime.

In a select few outsourced hardened data centers, you can protect your mission critical systems from F5 tornadoes and other regional risks.

Some Midwest colocation providers offer you access to multiple telecommunications providers with no cross connect fees. You can build telecom hubs to better manage the money spent on telecommunications.

You can trade capital costs for operating costs.

You can build a highly predictable cost model that allows for growth and change.

Sick of getting nickel and dimed to death? Call the outsourced data center experts.