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The Data Center Debate of Build vs. Buy

Building a data center may make surprising sense for some organizations.

“Build vs. Buy”. With virtualization now part of the equation and more data center data center leasing options, how have the fundamentals changed in considering whether to build and operate your own data center or to outsource it to a provider? How do resiliency requirements factor into the decision? How has the break-even point changed over the years?

How does virtualization, how does cloud computing, how does a hybrid strategy enter in these decisions as well? These are all questions I’m hearing. What are some other questions out there that people are asking regarding the build versus buy issue,

All of those are very common, probably one of the biggest ones we hear is we’ve got an aging data center. The last time data centers were updated, in most cases, was Y2K, and here we are in in 2016 with data centers that have a 15-year life, and that data center has aged, and probably have not made any significant upgrades, or updates to it. So how do we address that aging data center? With the advent of virtualization, and the advent of cloud, we get a lot of people asking, how do we handle our production data center, versus disaster recovery? How do we handle test and development environments? Should some of these be in the cloud, and not even be in the data center, or should we have them in a traditional data center environment?

And then, of course, you’ve got a lot of people, you look at the external service providers, they have a tendency to promote tier level. We’re at a tier level X, whether it’s 1, 2, 3, or 4, and that’s how they’re talking about the capabilities of their facility. We really would rather see the people ask us, is tier level really important, and how does that really compare to our business requirements, and what do we really need? I think, well, tier level has helped categorize things in the data center world, it’s also made things more confusing for the consumer that’s looking to purchase data center services.

Some of the other benefits I’ve seen of owning is, if there’s an organization that has multiple data centers, and this is pretty common where each business entity or in a public sector, each department or agency, may have their own data center, and they grew up through the technology era, owning their own data center, and running their own data center. Well, if you have data centers have today, then let’s just say you have four, or five, or six data centers within your organization, and you really need maybe two, one for production, and one for disaster recovery, and two of those facilities have the capability to be upgraded, and you can consolidate those other three, four, five into the two you already own, many times that makes more sense than it does migrating externally. You can continue to operate what you have.