At the moment, it’s easy to see where business IT is headed; into the cloud, where remote applications, software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) products will help businesses operate more efficiently and take advantage of cost-savings and new applications. We want to enable as many of our customers as possible to make the most of these developments and opportunities that’s why we are investing heavily in a new, purpose-built Data Centre.
We recognise that data centre capacity is the foundation of any cloud based service and we’re committed to ensuring that we have the infrastructure to support the growing needs of our customers. The design of the data centre provides large amounts of capacity but also enables us to lower the cost of entry for customers looking to get involved in delivering cloud or using data centre services. For example we can now offer Colocation Hosting for £59 per month, enabling even smaller businesses to enjoy the same benefits as larger ones.
As well as our own data centre, we also use third party facilities to provide geographically diverse disaster recovery services to customers. This experience of operating our own data centre and choosing third party data centre suppliers gives us great experience in knowing what to look for in a best of breed data centre provider:
1) Does the facility have good connectivity and can the provider advise on WAN design to help you get the best from it?
a) Scalable and resilient connectivity within the data centre is critical. Diverse routing of connections is essential and the availability of dark fibre owned by the DC operator helps keep costs down and maximise capacity. We offer instant access to cost effective bandwidth, all of our colocation products come with 1Gpbs ports as standard together with a free allocation of bandwidth.
b) The availability of WAN skills and experience of the provider can make a real difference. Data centre only providers can struggle to see the whole picture when your equipment is part of a wider MPLS network. We offer a range of hosting products, MPLS services and Voice/SIP services meaning we have the knowledge on hand to piece together the right solution.
c) Does the provider have SIP experience/capability? Hosted SIP is tipped to be big in the coming years, if your data centre provider has this capability it can give you a competitive edge.
2) Can the data centre provider demonstrate the security of their facility?
a) Physical Security and access control are of key importance for a facility that should support authorised access 24/7. ISO 27001 status can help demonstrate a providers focus on security. We are currently working towards ISO 27001 status and we already implement comprehensive physical security measures (CCTV, Access Control etc).
3) Can the data centre provider demonstrate their energy efficiency and their environmental responsibility? Things to look for are:
a) ISO14001 status, this eco-friendly accreditation covers the whole operations of a business, including the impacts of its data centre
b) A provider’s understanding of their facilities PUE (Power Utilisation Efficiency) and the steps they are taking to improve it. With PUE it’s not just about looking for the lowest numbers, many factors influence the generation of PUE figures. Buyers need to ask how the providers PUE is measured and calculated, good providers will be following the best practices as defined by the EU Code of Conduct (CoC) for data centres. We are currently working towards Participant status with the EU CoC and are happy to share honest PUE figures with potential customers.
4) Operator or reseller?
a) If you’re buying colocation, does the provider own and operate their own data centre or are they sub-letting/reselling space in a third party data centre? Operators are always firmly in control so make sure your reseller has a solid relationship with the operator.
b) ISO 9001 status can help verify quality processes and procedures in data centre operations teams. Zen has been ISO 9001:2008 accredited since 2010.
c) Does the operator of the data centre have a defined growth plan? Moving equipment between data centres is time and resource consuming so wherever you choose, needs to have plans for expansion in the future and they should be able to share these plans with you. If your business is growing rapidly then you don’t want a lack of data centre capacity to constrain you.
d) Independence. There’s much consolidation in the data centre market and this can lead to unpredictable costs at contract renewal time and changes in the operational practices in what’s effectively your data centre. Your provider needs to provide you with the confidence that they’re not just in it for the short term and that they’ve got your best interests in mind, choose the provider carefully as they’ll be housing one of your businesses biggest assets.
Want to find out more about our data centre, take the data centre virtual tour.