Why Should I Choose a Data Center? (Part 4 of 5)

By Randy GoodsonBlog


So, it’s 11:00 on a Friday evening. You’ve been out on a date, enjoying your night, when your phone rings. It’s work. You know from experience that this can’t be good; but…you are the one on call, so you have to answer it. And…just as you suspected, it’s not good. You have a server down and you need to go take care of it.  What a way to ruin your night, huh? So, you take your date home and head to the office, only to find out that some home-grown application caused a memory halt on your server.  All you need to do is to cycle the power. Wow…if you would have known it was going to be a three minute job, you could have had your date tag along with you. Oh well…might as well go home and sulk over the missed opportunity to continue your date.

Finding and keeping employees around the clock can get expensive.  First, there’s the arduous task of actually finding a competent IT person who is willing to work overnight. The process itself will need your time to write the job description; time from HR to butcher it for you; money to post the ad on the multitude of job sites out there; HR’s time to screen the candidates (if there are any); more of your time to interview the candidates; don’t forget background checks and credential verification. Then, if by some miracle you actually find someone capable of handling problems as they arise, you have to pay them; and pay for their benefits; and there’s shift-differential. Oh, and don’t forget about the mandatory all-employee meeting coming up that you will have to pay them overtime to attend. Of course, there are things like new employee orientation, and time to ramp up on your network and the job itself.  Whew…I’m tired just writing about all the stuff that goes into hiring a new employee.  And, all of this is typically more of a process because it is outside of “normal” working hours.

Let’s make a visit to our college in Hill Top Rural College Town, USA. I don’t know if you know this or not, but college students get a little testy when they can’t get to the applications that they need to do the homework that they blew off until the day before it’s due. And, you just got home from a long day at the office.  Oh…and you live in the bigger town about 30 miles from the college.  Better head back into the school so that you can get that application back up and running, because the rest of the students are gaming online and you can’t remote into the server.  Once again, it took only a few minutes to get the application back up, but now you’re late for dinner and you’re missing out on valuable time with your kids.  On the way home, you’re looking up at the incoming thunderstorm and thinking to yourself, “They don’t pay me enough for this.”

And, lest we forget…there are facilities related folks that you will need to have on staff and trained up on your cooling and power systems.  These systems don’t take care of themselves.  There are lots of different ways that they can break.  And, there are lots of different preventive maintenance tasks that need to be performed in order to keep them running efficiently.  Every time I have added responsibility of this kind of thing to my facilities folks, the director wasn’t too happy with me; in fact, I’ve been tattled on in the past.

IT infrastructure staffing can be a nightmare, no matter where you are at in our geographically disperse examples.  Housing your infrastructure equipment (servers, core switches, routers, firewalls, etc.) in a data center can alleviate all of these staffing issues.  Nearly all third-party data centers will have staff on-hand 24×7, 365.  All it takes is a simple phone call to their 24×7, 365 hotline and you can get them to power-cycle the server, or unlock the application, or reboot a switch, or replace a tape, or swap out a bad hard drive, or…and the list goes on.  You don’t have to worry about your overnight person going on vacation and leaving a big hole to fill.  You don’t have to worry about benefits for the employees (Bazinga – more CFO points).  You don’t have to spend valuable hours working through the hiring process and training people to take care of your network.  And, you can save yourself countless hours of driving back and forth during off hours to do five minutes of work, while your family attends your child’s sporting event without you.  Let your friendly, 24×7, 365 data center staff do all that for you.

Join us next week for the last of this series of blog posts when we talk about physical security and protection of your equipment.