Over the years, small and medium-sized businesses have become increasingly reliant on their IT hardware and systems to deliver mission-critical applications for their organizations and customers. So much so, that many of these SMBs are considering or have already moved their critical applications to cloud infrastructure. We have discussed the benefits in a previous post but what steps can be taken to remove the risk when moving to colocation?
What if you are not ready or, just can’t let go of your hardware, but need added security and protection for your mission-critical systems? Then you should consider colocation – often referred to as a data center – a colocation (colo) facility is a purpose-built building that offers multi-tenancy rental space for organizations to install and operate their physical servers. Colo’s offer significantly superior IT facilities to those typically found in an SMB office – much better than the server closet located next to the water cooler!
There are some considerations to look at when choosing a data center and these will vary depending on your specific needs. In general, some of the key factors include:
- Security – Physical & access policies
- Services – Power, network, cooling, fire suppression, etc.
- Redundancy & Fault Tolerance – Power, resource duplication, network duplication, power grids, etc.
- Network Throughput and Cost
The higher the specification for each of these, the more expensive space becomes. If you’re considering or have made a move to a colo it is a significant first step that is likely driven by your organization’s need for higher reliability and to de-risk your business in the event of an office facility failure, physical security breach or, even worse, a significant disaster such as fire or flood.
What about the second step? How can we improve reliability and remove the risk when moving to colocation? You have made an effort to move to a secure and fault-tolerant facility, so many of the same IT conditions and risks remain. Have you considered the risk of your server hardware failing? Whether it is at your office or in a colo – hardware still fails. When factoring in seamless data backup, recovery and restore, or business continuity, the cloud can answer this call. Although your servers may be installed in a colo, this doesn’t prevent you from implementing cloud-based services to address these issues. In fact, careful planning could lead to colocation and cloud services being located in the same facility providing an added benefit of saving on network traffic (or transit) because the data is, in fact, running on the internal network rather than over the internet.
When considering back up & restore services, a hosted, cloud-based backup allows businesses to protect their critical application data in the cloud and manage long-term retention needs. It can be as simple as installing a software agent on your physical server that encrypts all data before transferring it from your colocated servers to an array of redundant cloud-based disk storage. This “set and forget” approach eliminates the ongoing burden of backup and restore management and de-risks the organization by implementing a backup solution based on enterprise best practices.
Finally, ensuring business continuity means taking backup to the next level. Proper planning ensures small and medium-sized businesses can implement a cloud-based business continuity plan that provides instant recovery of the physical servers and data located in the colo and migrates them to a virtual server provisioned on the cloud in the event of failure. This gives near-continuous access to data volumes on physical servers. You can recover an entire database with near-zero RTO of minutes. Backup and replication technology records concurrent snapshots of single or multiple servers, providing near instantaneous data and system protection and recovery. You can resume the use of the server directly from the backup file without waiting for a full restore to production storage helping to reduce recovery windows to meet stringent RTO and RPO requirements.
Interested to learn more? Make sure to check out HostedBizz’s HBizzServer as the solution to any colo worries.