How to Future-Proof Your Data Center Deployment

Jan 12, 2017 | Colocation, Insights

Choosing a colocation provider is often a multi-year commitment. While colocation does provide greater flexibility and scalability than building a company data center, the level of scalability and flexibility will differ between colocation facilities. It’s essential to choose a data center that will allow for your expansion, not only in terms of space but also in terms of power and density. Apart from choosing your provider, there are other things your team can do to future-proof your deployment. Here’s how you can help ensure your deployment is set up for future growth so you don’t have to worry about an infrastructure overhaul for several years to come.

High-Density Infrastructure

Securing data center space before you need it is costly. Choosing a colocation provider that can support 12kW and more per cabinet goes a long way in adding to the scalability of your deployment. High-density data centers have 36+ inches of subfloor space and offer in-line cooling technologies to increase cooling capacity within your deployment as density increases.

Be aware that some facilities may only provide certain data halls that support high density environments, not the entire facility. This means you would have to move your footprint to another room, pay for the move and likely pay a higher rate for the space. Going with a high-density data center provider that focuses on power and cooling rather than selling space will help avoid another migration for as long as possible and not have to lease space adjacent to yours in advance.

Structured Cabling

Connecting new equipment is an ordeal when your deployment looks like a bowl of spaghetti, not to mention the overheating issues that could arise from lack of air circulation. It’s essential that cabling for your deployment is installed with future growth in mind. This includes choosing the right cabling design and type of cables from the beginning. You may only need gigabit connectivity today, but how quickly could that change? It’s probably worth the cost to get a little more than you need now to avoid re-cabling in the next couple of years. Properly labeling cables at both ends is a structured cabling best practice that can save time by reducing the time it takes to troubleshoot issues and to install new equipment. Allowing space for vertical exhaust ducts is essential should your employment increase in density. There’s a lot to consider when cabling a new deployment, and hiring a certified structured cabling team is a wise choice if you don’t have your own cabling technicians. Remember, your network and systems engineers aren’t cabling specialists, and they shouldn’t be expected to cable a deployment as effectively as network cabling technicians can.

Cloud Services

According to the 451 Alliance, 70% of companies have adopted some type of SaaS and 46% of companies have adopted IaaS. These cloud services provide businesses with flexibility and scalability. If your business uses or plans to use cloud services, it’s important to consider a colocation facility that provides a service that privately connects you to the cloud provider of your choice, such as CloudTap™. A direct connection to your cloud provider eliminates the worry of latency and providers greater security.

Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI)

Hyperconvergence means different things to different vendors, but overall it refers to the integration of networking, virtualization, storage and compute resources in one software-defined system. It provides more flexibility than converged infrastructure and will likely take its place in the market and be more widely adopted. This is not to suggest there won’t be a place for traditional non-converged infrastructure for applications that require dedicated resources, but if you’re looking for greater agility on the business side, it’s a good idea to consider the different HCI solutions on the market.

HCI attempts to break down silos that exist in traditional IT infrastructure and provide greater business agility. For instance, Nutanix, a leading vendor of HCI products and solutions describes it as “cloud-like economics and agility with the security and predictability of on-premises solutions.” HCI allows for flexibility in computing, storage and virtualization resources and gives companies the ability to efficiently test new applications and easily accommodates fluctuation in data volume. Since HCI means different things to different vendors, it’s best to establish what your company hopes to accomplish with HCI and then seek out a vendor that can meet your goals. One downside to using hyperconverged infrastructure is that once you choose a vendor, you are locked into using their solutions should you want to expand later down the road.

The right colocation provider can improve your TCO by increasing the longevity of your footprint. They will also work with you as an IT partner and contribute to your overall IT strategy, doing what they can to help improve your scalability, efficiency and agility.