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Own or Out-source, Build or Buy?

Posted By Steve Hone, 01 August 2012

These are questions I am often asked, I came across this article the other day on the subject and wanted to share it with you, Posted originally by Nicholas Greene a year or so ago but still very relivent today……..

For one reason or another, your enterprise organization's got some big computing needs right over the horizon. Maybe you're setting up a new consumer payment or accounts management platform. Maybe you've just developed the next best online game, and you need servers to host it. Maybe you just need some additional storage. Whatever the reason, you're gonna need a Data Center. One question remains, though- should you outsource, or build?

Constructing a Data Center's no mean task, as you well know- it's a positively herculean undertaking which brings with it overwhelming costs and an exhaustive time commitment just to construct it- never mind maintaining it after the fact. If you're going to build a Data Facility, you'd better make damned sure your business can handle it. If you don't, you'll flounder- it's simply reality.

There are a lot of things you have to consider- cost and budget, employees, time constraints…you know the drill. Today, we're going to take a closer look at the first entry on the list-the reason for setting up a facility- and use it as a springboard in determining when you should outsource, and when the management of a facility should be placed solely in your organization's hands.

Ultimately, you have three choices- it comes down to whether or not you want to outsource to a multi-purpose data vendor, construct your own purpose-built facility, or hire a contractor to custom-tailor a facility for you. Before we even get started, I'm going to say right out the door that most businesses are better off going with the first or third option.

To determine what choice is right for you, there are a few things you should consider. What does your business do? What shall you be using the facility for, and how intensive will your needs be? How important are the tasks you require the facility for? Are they key components of your business strategy, or of one leg of your corporation?

What your business does can play a considerable role in determining whether or not you'll run your own servers. Is your organization solely based in the technology sector, or is your primary area of expertise in finance. Are you a hardware or software vendor, or do you primarily sell consumer products? How large is your IT department? How well-funded are they? All of these questions should be taken into account, as they can very well help determine right out the door if your business is even capable of managing its own facility without some significant restructuring, let alone building one.

Of course, that's only the first thing you need to consider- what your organization does by no means restricts it from constructing its own centers- Facebook's a prime example of this. Of course, in their case, they have their own reasons for building their own servers- they are, after all, the world's largest and best-known social network.

As I've already stated, what you need the facility for also plays a very important role. If you are, for example, a cloud-based SAAS vendor, it should go entirely without saying that you should be building and managing your own facility. As a general rule, if you expect to turn a significant profit from your facility, or the need met by the facility comprises a key aspect of your business model, you should look at running your own- or, at the very least, get yourself a custom-built data center.

Bandwidth goes hand in hand with purpose. How many gigabytes of data is your product or service going to use? How will the costs of development and management stack up against the fees you'd be paying if you outsourced? Will you turn enough of a profit to merit setting up your own facility?

Do you foresee yourself needing to expand your facility in the future? How will you do it? Scalability's an important concern, and if your business can't afford to expand- or virtualize- outsourcing might be the answer. Size matters, folks, and the smaller your business, the more likely you are to need to contract out, rather than run your own center.

Finally, there's your staff. Is it more economical to train and hire a whole team of new employees, or simply contract out to an organization to manage things for you?

Every business is different, and not all organizations are built equal. What I've listed here, all of the information; it's little more than a guideline. Ultimately, the choice of whether or not to outsource rests entirely with you.

Tags:  building  central  comms  cooling  Date Centre  efficiency  Location  planning  PUE 

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Why Google’s Data Centre is Not Like Yours

Posted By Steve Hone, 01 August 2012

Does your company operate a data centre? It's likely you do, since any organisation that is large enough needs to have its own servers. Yet while you probably purchase from Dell or HP and throw them into a room with a whole bunch of temperature control units, Google decided long ago to rethink the concept of the data center.

They started this process with the servers themselves. They purchase all of their own components and build the servers from scratch. Why? Because the company feels that they can make a better server unit that fits their needs. Instead of a typical server, you get something that looks more like a homemade PC project.

There are tens of thousands of these custom-built severs located around the world. When you do a search or use any Google product, the company takes your IP address and routes you to their closest data centre in order to provide the highest speed (lowest latency) possible. The company has realised the correlation between speed and customer satisfaction and has therefore built enough data centres to accommodate.

The data centres are also configured differently. In order to optimise space and cooling needs, the company packs servers into shipping unit that are then individually cooled. Google's experts have determined that this is the best way to efficiently economise.

Take a look at this tour of such a facility. http://youtu.be/zRwPSFpLX8I

So why are Google's data centres so special? The answer is efficiency. The company uses a ton of power to keep these servers running and doing so at an optimal temperature. The company tries to locate these facilities near hydroelectric power because of its lower cost. It also explains why Google has such an interest in renewable energy and last year entered into a twenty year agreement to buy wind power. The company knows that its power needs are going to increase over time, and this is a way to hedge the fluctuations in energy prices over the years.

Tags:  building  central  comms  cooling  data  Date Centre  efficiency  Location  PUE 

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Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy !

Posted By Steve Hone, 01 August 2012

So your thinking about building a Data Centre are you,.... well how difficult can it be !!!, before you jump in feet first here are a few things to consider................

You dont have to scratch to far under the surface to realise there's a lot that goes into running a data centre- and the logistics can, quite frankly, be overwhelming. Paying attention to the metrics- to all the little details- can make or break a facility. If an Operator isn't careful, they can easily find themselves left in the dust by their competitors. Not surprisingly, there's also a lot that goes into establishing a data centre, as well. If you're thinking of having your business start one up, you need to ask yourselves a few questions first. If you don't, the results could be disastrous.

The Reason:

Why are you setting up a data centre? What do you have to gain from it? If you do set it up, what will you use it for? What sort of services will it provide? Is it going to primarily be used for consumer information, or for business data? What sort of a profit do you stand to make? You need to consider very, very carefully whether or not setting up a data centre is the right choice for you before you do it- and what purpose the facility will serve as it may well prove to be more cost effective to outsource to a Colocation, Hosting or MS/Cloud provider instead.

The Location:

Aside from the purpose of your facility, its location is probably the most important consideration. Will it be a domestic centre, or an international one? What sites are available? What sites best suit your needs? The planned purpose of the facility will have a marked impact on where you situate it.

Cost:

Another question you need to answer before setting up a facility is whether or not you've got the budget to do so. How much will your data centre cost? What sort of upkeep will be required to keep things running? What about power demands? You're going to need to budget everything very, very carefully before you set up your new facility- plan out how much money it'll make you, and compare that against how much it's slated to cost you.

While there are certain steps you can take to reduce the cost of running the facility- such as greener energy and hardware alternatives- you still need to be certain the new centre won't break the bank.

Employees and staffing:

What sort of outside help will you be bringing in to help set up the data centre? Are your employees properly trained to manage such a facility? Can your IT department handle the Cloud? Do you have the staff base to manage things now, or are you going to need to bring in new hires in order to handle the workload?

Space:

Space is another of your concerns- before you go about purchasing your hardware, figure out how much space you need- and then how much space you've got. If you've done your homework and found a good location, those two variables should be pretty much the same. Consider the options you have for reducing how much space your server takes up- new, compact modular server designs are just one of these options.

The Hardware and Equipment:

You're going to need to figure out where you're getting your hardware from, and what sort of hardware you'll need. Be sure to buy new- skimping on the servers is one of the worst possible things you can do. More than anything else, you'll need your hardware to be both durable and reliable. Go for those qualities first, and consider innovative solutions as secondary concerns.

Hardware's not the only thing you'll need to worry about, either. You'll need equipment aside from the servers- server racks and office supplies are one example, and if you're constructing the facility from the ground up, you'll need to consider the supplies you'll need to build it, as well.

Cooling:

How are you going to keep your servers running cool? While the traditional approach works just fine, it has a tendency to rack up a downright terrifying power bill- consider more innovative alternatives.

Network Connectivity:

This should really go without saying. What sort of network provider are you going to be making a deal with? How much bandwidth is your facility going to need? How much will it cost? Can the physical infrastructure of your facility and the surrounding area keep up? You need to make sure you've got the right provider and hardware for your network, or your clients are going to be experiencing a great deal of latency- which could ultimately cripple your centre.

The Software:

You're also going to need to iron out the details of your software. What sort of management platform are you going to use? Will you be dealing with a vendor, or developing your own in-house platform? If you're choosing a vendor, make sure you choose a good one-

Power:

Finally, how much energy will your data centre use? What will the power efficiency of the facility be? How can you improve on this efficiency? How much power should you provision for the facility? Make sure you've got this ironed out in advance- it'll cost you a very, very large sum if you end up having to reprovision.

 

 

 

 

Many thanks to Nicholas Greene

Tags:  budget  building  central  comms  cooling  data  Date Centre  Location  planning  power 

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