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5 ways for Canadian firms to think through the data centre decision

Recent IDC Canada research suggests corporately-run IT infrastructure is getting long in the tooth. Time to consider the alternatives.


Canadian Data Centres business continuity

Canada’s data centres are getting older and potentially too small, but the importance of what they do may mean it’s time for more IT departments to consider the use of external providers.

According to IDC Canada’s most recent report on the subject, Canada is home to 5,300 data centres, most of them less than 1,000 square feet and owned internally by IT departments. The firm said 50% of corporate data centres are seven years or older, and 40% are entering their second decade.

“The data centre is a vital utility in today’s digital economy which is being shaped by cloud computing, mobility, analytics and the Internet of Things. IDC expects continued growth and investments in the market for third-party data centre services,” IDC Canada said.

Data centre service providers/professionals are responsible for investing the capital to build staff and maintain the infrastructure to ensure consistent uptime as needed. Allstream’s latest Tier III data center located in Winnipeg, for example, offers multiple power delivery paths to provide substantial redundancy and reliability.  The site is capable of standalone operation without utility power. The risk of downtime approaches zero.

Consider the following key benefits of a data centre service to deliver business efficiencies:

  1. Cost savings: Significantly reducing electricity bill and space rental fee to allocate all servers and systems under one roof. A data centre service can minimize investment in IT infrastructure (server and hard disk) to keep up with potential business expansion. At the same time, IT staff can be freed of taxing maintenance activities and pay more attention to strategic projects; leading to an organizational success.
  2. Preventing data loss: Avoiding business loss and damaged reputation caused by data loss, due to unforeseen events — power cut, fire, security breach, and natural disasters — by proactively backing up crucial documents, customer data, and financial information. This means a data centre plays an important role in enhancing organizational resiliency and agility. Mitigating risks of data loss shortens business downtime and increase customer satisfaction.
  3. Around-the-clock customer service: 24/7 technical support and customer service to provide assistance when matters most is key. Experts in a data center can provide notification of an upcoming event or situation which could lead to operational interruption. This means a business can plan in advance for technical and logistical activities to ensure business continuity which leads to improving a brand’s image.
  4. Assisting in compliance efforts: A data centre service can streamline procedures and functions which must be executed to align with relevant policies, regulations, standards, and quality service metrics. A data centre service also enhances implementation of comprehensive auditing capability to demonstrate operational compliance in both short-term and long-term activities.
  5. Being eco-friendly: A business can play a decisive role in fighting global climate change by establishing a partnership with a data centre which possesses a strong green initiative. A sustainable business practice is expected to generate a competitive edge by increasing productivity and improving financial and investment opportunity. However, a sustainable organization also benefits from a high staff retention rate, as today’s employees are keen to work for a company which has a corporate social responsibility movement. This means a business can provide both consistent and excellent service to customers.

Of course, the real value proposition for using data centre services might be their contribution to Business Continuity Management (BCM). This process can help identify potential impacts that threaten the organization and its supporting infrastructure, and it provides a framework for building resilience and withstanding impact.

With the ongoing surge and evolution of most IT technologies, the data centre allows companies to become resilient while providing cost-effective operational solutions. Ultimately, this benefits all stakeholders.

You cannot predict an emergency or disaster, but you can prepare for one.

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