I wrote the original blog with the title What are the advantages of using a local data centre? back in 2013 and it remains one of our most popular blog posts to date, often leading to enquiries from businesses and organisations that need a hosting facility.
Since then, more people have become aware of what a data centre is and most will now be using cloud services in their work or private life, such as Microsoft 365, Dropbox, Spotify, etc. There may still be a misconception of what the cloud actually is, as at the heart of all cloud services there is a network of data centres, but the days of us solely relying on on-site servers or PC data storage are over.
While Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, etc. have multiple large-scale data centres spread across the world, there is a growing relevance for a local data centre facility. Many businesses have been utilising data centres in major cities as part their disaster recovery plans in order to separate or to replicate their IT systems as far away from their head offices as possible but you do not need to put excessive miles between your primary and disaster recovery sites. A few miles is plenty!
With a local data centre, IT teams benefit from having access to their own physical servers rather than having to make a long trip to London or Manchester. The data centre and its on-site staff should feel like an extension of an IT department, giving businesses assurance that the resilience, security and environmental conditions are of the utmost priority and a trusted remote hands resource is available.
Disaster recovery aside, a local data centre is becoming more popular as the primary location for server hosting due to the fact that ‘going to work’ has changed since the COVID-19 outbreak. Whereas staff once gathered in a busy office, many are now working from home and on-site servers that staff once connected to via local area networks are now being accessed by virtual private networks...with varying success.
As businesses consider long-term home working solutions, moving servers to a data centre would be a good place to start. As discussed by my colleague Colin Woods in this video blog, the new dispersed nature of many businesses is a challenge. A business with 100 members of staff may have 100 sites now if they are all working from home!
It makes more sense for businesses to put servers in a secure manned facility with plenty of bandwidth available to ensure all staff can access the applications and data they need at the same time. Office-based servers and accompanying bandwidth that were set up for occasional remote access struggled to cope during lockdown.
When I look back at the seven-year-old version of this blog, I am struck by how relevant data centres have become because of COVID-19 and lockdown. The idea of everything being on site – people, servers, data – is largely irrelevant now. A local data centre operates like a cloud service but is a private cloud service you can visit and where the staff are known to you. We have already moved customers’ servers into our data centre to accommodate their home workers’ needs and I expect to see more to follow. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can help your business with server hosting.