Location is often treated as a necessary consideration in data center strategies. It’s rarely considered essential for value creation. Companies either want the data center close to where services are being offered, to minimize latency and simplify management, or they want the facility far away for disaster recovery services. These issues are still central to the data center location conversation, but cloud computing has raised the stakes to an entirely new level.
The cloud has ushered in the “data center without walls” movement. Businesses that rely on the cloud are increasingly dependent on a combination of on premise and hosted infrastructure resources, extending the traditional data center configuration over multiple geographically distributed locations.
As organizations become more reliant on multiple interconnected data centers, they also end up exposed to more location-related challenges. Three of the most prominent data center location issues companies can’t ignore are:
Facility Distance From End Users
Network latency is generated relative to the distance data must travel from its source to users. This is particularly evident as organizations become more reliant on apps and services that are delivered over the internet.
Consider video traffic, for example. Many network configurations will transmit data packets until available bandwidth at a given moment is taken up. If there isn’t room for a packet, it will be dropped and automatically re-sent.
Imagine a user is streaming a video in a cloud app and the data packets comprising that content are travelling from a data center on the East Coast to the Midwest. Some latency will occur as data travels over that distance, but if a packet or two gets dropped, the latency grows exponentially as that data must restart its journey. This same issue can extend to data-rich apps and services. TechTarget identified network latency as one of the most prominent cloud performance problems businesses face.
Data center services providers with a geographically distributed facility footprint make it easier to host apps and services in the best location relative to your user base. Furthermore, these vendors typically build out robust network interconnects between these facilities, improving data routing and minimizing potential latency.
Location Specific Data Access and Privacy Laws
To what extent can legal authorities seeking sensitive data about your business or your customers access your systems to gather that information? Do they need a warrant? Is it mandatory that you track down data that is requested under certain conditions? These type of questions have been getting plenty of attention as new data privacy issues emerge in the digital world.
Different states and countries will often have different laws about who, how, and what kind of data can be accessed. As your business considers its legal and ethical responsibilities in light of data privacy, it is vital to also consider where data is hosted and the underlying laws in relevant jurisdictions.
Resilience and Redundancy Issues
Simply having a geographically distributed data center configuration is not necessarily sufficient to protect data in the event of a natural disaster or similar incident. A few key questions organizations should ask as they consider where to locate IT infrastructure include:
- Does your organization have any specific requirements or regulations it must comply with, such as to have your primary data center and disaster recovery data centers separated by at least one time zone?
- Can the network connectivity keep up with data and traffic demands to effectively meet your Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO)?
- How do specific geographical issues – mountain ranges, floodplains, areas exposed to similar storm types, etc. – impact the necessary spread between your infrastructure locations?
- Does your disaster recovery data center location have adequate power and connectivity to handle the increased workload and demands that would occur should you ever need to fail over to it?
It isn’t enough to simply separate data centers to establish redundancy. TechTarget reported that resiliency and solution architectures have a major impact on disaster recovery plans. Data center locations must be chosen with care to properly balance capacity and minimize risk.
Simplifying the Location Issue
The idea of integrating multi-cloud and data center solutions over diverse locations can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Choosing a provider that offer a complete network of facilities that are already strategically distributed is important.
Lume offers the combination of service and location options organizations need in today’s changing IT world. Our experience and expertise in the industry give us a unique perspective on data centers that can help you leverage hybrid and multi-cloud solutions that are available anytime, anywhere.
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