Disaster Recovery Q & A with Patrick Doyle, Director at LDeX
Patrick Doyle, COO at London based colocation and network connectivity provider LDeX, shares his thoughts about why organisations should opt for colocation over keeping their disaster recovery in-house for business continuity purposes.
First of all, what do you see as the main reasons for organisations opting for colocation over having an in-house facility which caters for its disaster recovery needs?
There are many reasons for choosing colocation over keeping disaster recovery in-house:
Businesses opt for colocation based services due to the scalability benefits of having a datacentre facility which caters to the client’s expanding customer base. Datacentres have extensive capacity to be able to cope with large increases in the number of servers, infrastructure and systems which need to be installed, connected and maintained at a moment’s notice. This is something which is not always feasible in an in-house facility.
2) Stronger bargaining power to negotiate energy pricing
Datacentres have stronger bargaining power to negotiate prices on energy pricing for power, cooling and critical load protection. LDeX for instance has recently fixed prices for a three year period so that customers are able to obtain colocation without the heavy price tag which would usually go hand in hand with data storage.
3) Security and 24×7 support
Having your systems stored on site poses a tremendous risk to the organisation in that if the systems go down or there is a fire in the building, the business may be offline for a substantial period of time which would lead to decreasing revenues and profit margins. By storing your systems offsite in a location which is away from a flight path or a flood plain which is safe, robust and secure with perimeter control, companies can be assured that there will be 100% uptime and that there are datacentre engineers and security measures such as facial recognition monitors and mantraps to ensure your company’s online presence is protected at all times. LDeX owns its own datacentre facility which is situated on Staples Corner, beside the M1, giving customers access to the site without being in the centre of London.
4) On hand expertise
Datacentre specialists are on hand 24 x 7 to provide support when needed within a timely period so that in the unlikely event that something does happen, it is being dealt with by engineering experts. At LDeX, the data centre, network engineering and senior management team are on hand on a 24x7x365 basis giving clients reassurance that their business is our priority.
These services are critical and clients like to have that extra support to have advice about how to mitigate against potential network attacks such as DDoS attacks. Having that specialist expertise at the right moment is priceless when you compare it to how much your company would lose if something happened to your business which affected your revenue stream.
5) Full control over your systems
Colocation offers the business a way of installing its equipment into a resilient datacentre with the ability to have full control over its IT systems. It means that the business can focus on what it does best while the datacentre provider looks after the backend and its business continuity.
6) Minimal risk of construction charges
Finally, locating your infrastructure within a carrier neutral facility such as LDeX means that the business has an array of network providers to choose from which minimises the risk of excess construction charges.
With over 20 years’ experience in the industry, what do you see as the specific considerations for choosing a colocation provider for disaster recovery?
Access to the support team
Having a support team which has the experience and knowledge to cope with any situation which may arise in a calm and reasonable way is paramount in being able to deliver on tight SLAs. When disaster recovery is required, the onsite data centre support team should be able to react on behalf of the client in a promptly manner. Clients often appreciate that the advice that we offer on how this problem should be dealt with and give updates on what work is being done as and when it happens.
As mentioned, datacentre operators have rigorous physical and network support using a multi-tiered approach in order to mitigate any breaches which might arise otherwise on an onsite location. Datacentre facilities are not only monitored on a 24×7 basis via an offsite security company, but security staff on hand would have set procedures to follow to alert police automatically. Facial recognition monitors, tags, mantraps and laser trip wires are just some of the additional measures which are in place acting as a deterrent to intruders.
Proximity to the client’s site
Clients often have different preferences and requirements with regards to how close they would like to be in proximity to the datacentre which they use for their business services. Some clients prefer to be a reasonable distance away from the client’s site in order to provide protection from a major disaster. You also get clients who like to be in proximity to the colocation facility for ease of access.
Are there any hidden costs associated with colocation that users need to be aware of?
The norm would be that all colocation related costs which arise post contract are usually well documented. From time to time, there are usually some services which arise on an ad hoc basis such as remote hands or scheduled engineering, copper and fibre cabling work which needs to be availed of when the client cannot get to the facility within a specific time period. Although this is charged on top of the standard service, the client is always given options in these instances.
Is there a certain point where enterprises are basically too big to use a colocation provider for disaster recovery?
At the moment, there is a lot of consolidation taking place in the market place where large global companies are consolidating their regional disaster recovery from multiple data centres into one large datacentre. LDeX has recently signed contracts with a two US based clients which are currently doing this.
Do colocation providers offer visibility into systems remotely? Or is that just something you have to set up on your own, or assign staff to work at the remote location?
Datacentre providers typically offer visibility into power utilisation per power feed so a client can see how much power they are using at any given time. The clients IT systems are usually managed by the client which is one of the main unique selling points of colocation.
Patrick Doyle, COO at LDeX Group