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How to choose a data centre outside of London

April 25th, 2014 Advice, Blog, Colocation, Data Centre

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Do you really need to use a data centre in London? It could be more cost effective, and logistically sound, to use a facility outside of the capital. But how do you know which is the right centre?

London has long been thought of as the data centre hub of the UK. With many high-tiered facilities, offering great connectivity, high broadband speeds, multiple service options and close links to the city, there are good reasons to use a London-based colocation centre.

However, if your company is based outside of London, or you don’t need to be so close to the financial centre, it can be more cost effective to use a facility in a more remote location. And as these centres are generally purpose built, they can offer more space, easier access and they are less at risk from potential terrorist attacks. But what things do you need to consider when choosing the right centre for you?

Where does your centre need to be?

If you want to be outside of London but still with good links to the capital, a facility like Slough is a convenient option. Or if your business is based far away from London, and you rarely need to visit the city, there are lots of available locations throughout the country. Just make sure to check how accessible they are by car or public transport, and how close the facility is to a major town or city.

How much power is available?

Most data centres outside of London are purpose-built, rather than being situated in a converted older building. So they’re able to offer good power options and have increased space for generators or on-site substations. But make sure to check what power density the centre offers, especially if you have larger requirements.

What Tier ranking do you need?

What kind of facility do you require? Do you need a Tier III data centre, or just a Tier II? Depending on your business and your data requirements, you need to ensure that the facility is equipped to cope, but you don’t want to be paying for more than you need.

Can they accommodate for growth?

Is your business likely to grow, meaning you may require more rack space in the future? If this is a possibility, you need to ensure that the centre is able to provide space to grow, because relocating to a new centre can be costly. Centres outside of London are often bigger and less busy, so may offer more future growth potential.

Check what providers are available

Many of the data centres in London are carrier neutral and offer services from many providers. But centres outside of the capital might not be as accommodating, or may only have a select group of preferred providers. So make sure you ask what providers the centre offers, so you can check the tariffs and service options are to your liking.

Do they offer technical support?

Does the facility offer on-site technical support? And how often is it available? If the centre offers technical assistance on-site, it can mean the difference between phoning in and making an expensive, time-consuming trip to deal with a minor fault. And if there is someone on site to trouble-shoot problems, it can help you to know what the fault is before you visit the site.

How easy is it to get there?

Check the local travel links. If the centre is outside London the local public transport may not be as frequent or effective, so what rail or bus routes are available? And if the centre is really remote, how far is it from a major road or motorway? You need to make sure your chosen centre is easy to get to for those times you need to attend to your racks. If travel to the centre is too costly or time-consuming, you may end up paying more.

How secure is your data?

Your data is highly important, so you need to use a centre that can guarantee to keep it safe. So check to see what kind of on-site security presence the centre has. Do they have perimeter fencing, CCTV and biometric security access? And how equipped are they to deal with power outages or serious threats?

Are you getting the right level of service?

Does the centre have only set tariffs, or do they offer bespoke services designed around your business and your requirements? If the centre’s service offerings are not flexible, you could find yourself tied to things you don’t use. So make sure you’re only paying for what you need, and get the level of service that you want.

Talk to an expert

If you’re looking for a data centre outside of London, it really pays to speak to people who know the colocation landscape both inside and outside of the capital, and who can offer advice on exactly what will meet your business requirements. So before deciding on a data centre, talk to an independent colocation expert who can offer impartial advice on a range of centres and services.

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