The costs and challenges of maintaining data centers are driving more business to reevaluate their investments in on-premises infrastructure. Many are choosing to opt out.
A recent AFCOM State of the Data Center Industry study finds that organizations are increasingly choosing hosted data center facilities rather than building, expanding or modernizing their own infrastructure. The study anticipates spending on hosted data centers will grow by more than 20 percent annually through 2024.
It’s true that an on-premises data center gives you full control over your infrastructure and data, and that’s an advantage many companies — particularly large enterprises — aren’t willing to relinquish. The Uptime Institute’s 2019 data center survey finds that large, privately owned enterprise data centers currently account for half of all IT workloads and are likely to continue doing so in the near term.
For smaller organizations with fewer resources, however, the risks of on-premises data centers are beginning to outweigh the benefits. Whether IT equipment is located in a separate facility, a dedicated room or just a “network closet,” managing and maintaining that infrastructure is becoming increasing costly, complex and resource-intensive.
When weighing the pros and cons of on-premises data centers, here are five questions organizations should consider:
What will it cost? Building out a data center facility is extremely expensive, and there are significant ongoing costs for maintenance, staffing, power and cooling. Organizations often believe they have no choice but to invest in modernization to protect their data center investments. However, a new MeriTalk study finds that IT managers tend to wildly overvalue their current infrastructure — it’s usually only worth about 15 percent of their estimates.
Can you keep up with bandwidth demands? It’s hard to predict how your bandwidth and capacity requirements might change in the future. Increasingly complex business applications, data analytics apps and mobile access will likely increase network traffic considerably. Data centers today need capacity to support growth and redundant interconnects to ensure continuity of operations. However, most legacy onsite facilities have a single interconnect, creating a single point of failure.
Will it scale? Data center capacity should be able to scale up or down as needs change, and it must be able to handle increased traffic or new devices without impacting existing workflows. In addition, the facility must be able to accommodate increased demands for power, cooling and real estate. It is difficult to anticipate these demands when building onsite data centers. Overbuilding to accommodate potential future demands could waste resources, but underbuilding can lead to performance issues and difficult expansion projects down the road.
Do you have enough manpower? Even with increased automation, data center operations have significant staffing requirements. You need engineers to maintain servers, routers, switches, firewalls, cables and more, as well as security operations teams to handle both IT and physical security requirements. There are also plumbing, electrical and HVAC maintenance requirements, and you’ll need janitorial services to keep the facility clean and dust-free.
Is your power reliable? Uninterrupted power supplies (UPSs) deliver emergency power in the event of a utility failure due to severe weather, equipment failure or power line damage. However, a UPS won’t support operations for an extended period. Onsite data centers require redundant power feeds and backup generators to ensure continuity.
Hosted data centers address these issues by providing the facilities, cooling, power, bandwidth, staffing and physical security. Whether placing your own hardware in a co-location facility or renting servers and infrastructure in a dedicated hosting site, this approach eliminates much of the cost and management burden of operating a data center and allows you to focus on your core competencies. Give RMM a call to learn how our hosted data centers can benefit your business.