In today’s world, commercial businesses are gaining efficiency and lowering costs by moving computer servers to a data center. As the industry morphs in new directions with cloud computing technology, outsourcing data is taking on a more important role in the effort to cut costs.
“The data center industry allows other companies to focus on their core competencies, and lets the data center provider take care of the technical infrastructure that supports the business,” says Pervez Delawalla, president and CEO of Net2EZ.
Smart Business spoke with Delawalla about how employers can use data centers to increase efficiency and allow employees to focus on growing the business.
How does the data center industry work?
A data center has specialized infrastructure to support thousands of computer servers. The industry itself has become more commercialized, as the Internet infrastructure demand has increased.
A data center provides power, cooling and fiber optics for the servers with efficiencies and redundancies not readily available in commercial buildings. Redundancies such as an uninterrupted power source and generators with on-site fuel can sustain power for days or weeks to support all critical infrastructure including commercial cooling, fiber optics systems and servers.
What’s the advantage to businesses when using data centers to outsource data?
Building your own data center for your servers can cost between $1,000 and $1,500 per square foot. In addition, commercial buildings are not designed to house redundancies such as generators and additional cooling systems that are needed to sustain data centers.
In addition, with the recent economic downturn, CFOs are asking their IT heads why they should invest in building or expanding their internal data footprint when there are other options. When servers are outsourced to a commercial data center, you can take advantage of the economies of scale to derive financial, security and redundancy benefits.
What services are provided when businesses outsource data?
The core of a data center is the redundancy — power, cooling and network backbone. In addition, there’s a high speed of connectivity, from the network to the servers. A data center may have a minimum of 440 gigabits of capacity to the Internet backbone. One gigabit is a 1,000-megabit connection, and a typical T1 line, which would be used in many commercial office buildings, is 1.5 megabits. So, if servers are tasked with downloading or performing analytical work by scanning data on the Internet, that high speed enables the data to be acquired at a faster rate.
Ancillary services also are available through commercial data centers, such as 24/7 onsite support, complete network design implementation and management, and network security such as distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection or network firewalls. A data center can deploy operating systems and manage them with continuous monitoring. Typically, these additional services are often already provided through a company’s IT department. If a company outsources these functions, then an onsite IT department becomes less critical.
How has outsourcing data changed with technology advancement?
As connectively technology has improved, the price of that connectivity has dropped dramatically. Ten years ago, if you had multiple offices and wanted to connect them, you might spend hundreds of thousands of dollars; now, you are able to connect remote offices at a fraction of that investment.
The same goes for a data center. When you outsource data, you can have multiple offices connected to that data center, and if you close or move an office, you just need a new connection, rather than mobilizing technology gear at a high expense or risk.
Cloud computing is another way businesses are using data centers these days. Cloud computing works through a data center and, in many ways, can lead a company to outsource not only its servers but its IT functions. It brings efficiency by using every ounce of your server capacity. In many cases, a business might have one server for email and another for file storage, but there are resources within each of those servers that are being underutilized.
How is security greater at a data center than infrastructure that is housed at a business?
The data center industry looks at both network and physical. With network security, data centers employ DDOS and firewall protections to protect data. Physical security is equally important, as physical access to servers is more than half the battle for hackers. Data centers are monitored 24/7 by closed-circuit video cameras, with every entry point only accessible via secured access, such as biometrics.
As technology advances, the way that companies outsource their data and utilize a data center will evolve, but data centers still increase productivity through commercial-grade redundancy and security, and as leaders in the industry strive to deliver greater efficiencies and value to their customers.
In addition, efficiencies that data centers are creating will drive lower carbon footprint for companies.
Pervez Delawalla is president and CEO at Net2EZ. Reach him at (310) 426-6700 or email@example.com.
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