Apr 19, 2012

Have a plan


Have a planBear with me. This has a point related to data centers and your business.

So the other night, I am driving home. It’s late because I work ridiculous hours. About a mile from my house, there is a hill. It’s not a huge hill, but enough of one that you can’t see what’s on the other side. In any case, as I am approaching the hill at a reasonable rate of speed, I notice the glow of headlights indicating on-coming traffic. No big deal. Except that the car comes over the hill straddling the center line. Great. Flash my brights. No change. No other immediately available options come to mind so I pull over and stop off the road to let them go by. And they did. Still straddling the center line. Zero acknowledgement that I was there. This was definitely an annoying situation – I clearly had just lost that game of chicken. But otherwise, I simply went about my business and drove home − and started thinking how much this experience was just like being in the data center business.

I drive a decent car (In case you care, it’s a 2005 GTO. And if you do care, you’ll probably also appreciate that its not stock). I didn’t attempt to strap a small engine to a bicycle or otherwise use some wheeled device to move me from point A to B. I bought a purpose-built machine designed to move me about. Similarly, a data center is a purpose-built property designed to house IT Infrastructure. It’s not the same thing as using a closet shelf at the back of your office. My car has doors with locks, an alarm, an engine, headlights, brakes, seat belts, air bags and crumple zones. Not unlike a data center, these things provide me with security, power and a resilient structure to go about my business.

The interesting thing that I took away from the incident at the beginning of this blog though was that my car didn’t save me from on-coming traffic that night. I saved myself because I had a plan. Sure I used the headlights, brakes and the steering wheel, but I knew what to do when the situation was beyond my car’s capabilities.

My point then is this − housing your IT equipment in a data center is part of ensuring business resiliency. It’s the part of the business I can help you with. I happen to think it’s pretty critical. However, the second part of business resiliency should be a plan around how to use the data center to maximize your application uptime. Things like the use of redundant power supplies and redundant power circuits will improve the availability of your IT deployment. Using blanking panels to improve and direct airflow will decrease failure rates on equipment. Using on-site remote hands services to reboot equipment when its needed as a part of a preventative maintenance program helps keep your environments running in tip top shape, etc.

So then a few thoughts. Number one: Don’t play chicken. You can bet that someone will want to win more than you’re willing to risk. Number two: Don’t waste your business on a bad bet. Choose the best data center provider you can find. And number three: Take advantage of your provider and the facility to optimize your environment for maximum uptime.

Need help with any of the above? Check out our Colocation Buyer’s Guide eBook for more.

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