There is no doubt that, in a data-driven world, the data centre is a critical and central component of the technology infrastructure of any organisation writes Eckart Zollner, business development manager for The Jasco Group
When it comes to provisioning and obtaining access to the data centre itself and a variety of attached services, however, there is a growing trend away from owning and maintaining this infrastructure in-house. Hosted data centres, particularly shared data centres that also offer a carrier-neutral colocation hub, are becoming an increasingly popular option. Shared data centres often bring together various different providers from across the country. This enables organisations that also make use of this data centre to access to their services and provide a range of essential technology solutions and services on a monthly, as needed basis, among other benefits. The decision to outsource and the selection of an appropriate partner is often challenging, and requires organisations to ask themselves a number of questions. Before a service, solution or technology is outsourced, the pros and cons must be carefully weighed and the benefits quantified, so that ultimately the organisation can make the best decision for their business.
Data centres, while they have become essential, also represent a significant capital investment. The infrastructure itself is costly to procure, and also requires specialist operational skills in a variety of areas including physical and network security, security of the electricity supply, heating and cooling and more. In addition, this infrastructure needs to be managed, maintained and serviced, generators for failover power supply must be serviced, maintained and supplied with diesel and many more aspects. The operational logistics around managing a data centre are onerous and expensive, in addition to the large initial capital outlay. As a result, hosted and shared data centres are becoming increasingly sought-after in South Africa.
By providing hosted and shared services, organisations can leverage reduced CAPEX expenditure, as well as greater flexibility and shorter commitment times as all services are “pay as you use”. In addition, by opting for these services, organisations can reduce the requirement to maintain their own extensive IT and application teams. Aside from a reduction in capital expense as well as on-going skills retention and maintenance, these data centres also offer a number of other benefits to business, providing access to a wide range of services and solutions that may not have been possible to procure in-house. These include rack hosting, server hosting, storage, archiving, Disaster Recovery (DR), virtualisation and Cloud services.