Everyone goes in the cloud. The cloud is in fashion. Almost no computer discussion is completed without mentioning “the cloud.” But when it comes to this, the cloud is nothing but systems that host information in a data center somewhere “out there.”
Organizations have the benefit of downloading infrastructure development, automatic failover engineering, and multiple coordinated power supplies, not to physical security, mention backups, OS maintenance, and to third-party data centers. That’s why “going to the cloud” ultimately makes sense.
Unfortunately, not every data center is ready for excellent services. Some have sprung up as part of a cloud-based land grab. Review these ten factors to ensure that your organization’s data center is up to the task.
Just as any quality data center will maintain redundant power sources, secondary and tertiary Internet connections must also be available. Buried cables get cut. Overhead cables fall when trucks strike poles. Vendors experience network outages.
Automatic Hardware Failover
Redundant power, Internet and even cooling and heating systems are excellent, but if they are not configured as an online spare, downtime can still occur. It is essential for data centers to use redundant switches, routers, inverters, and unnecessary HVAC devices that failover automatically if there is a problem.
Data centers must always be occupied and monitored by trained technicians and engineers. It’s an unfortunate by-product of today’s pressurized business environment, but a fact, Systems cannot fail. Continuous monitoring and maintenance are required. Of course, many data centers will make minor changes during the off-season, but phone support and on-site support must always be available. Also, data center services must include customer-reporting tools to help customers understand the state of an institution’s network.
All the promises in the world and even an amazingly convincing price mean nothing if the data center fails. Before you transfer large amounts of data and devices to a facility, you must have researched some information about the company that owns the site. Confirm that it is free and clear, that it has sufficient working capital and that it has no financial difficulties. The last thing you want to do is repeat the process because a center fails in meeting financial requirements or you will have to reduce the cost (and therefore the service and capacity) to stay afloat.
All data center contract should come complete with an agreed service level agreement (SLA). The SLA should guarantee specific uptime, physical access, service response, protections, and bandwidth, among other elements. Ensure, too, that the terms of service or SLA state what happens in case a data center fails to provide uptime as they’ve stated, maintenance or service as scheduled, or crisis response within a stated timeframes.
Data centers are typically designed to support mind-boggling data transmission capabilities. Some feature multiple SONET and OCx connections that can manage Amazon.com-like Website demands. Other less complex entities might try getting by using redundant T-3s. Don’t find out the hard way that your data center provider failed to forecast capacity adequately and can’t quickly scale.
Many data centers have online backups. In other words, UPSes. If your organization maintains critical systems that simply can’t go down, make sure the data center has a second backbone connection. Only connecting the N + 1 power supply to a secondary power source can contribute to protection against disasters.