Why Using Datacentres Further Afield Could Bring You Real Savings

For many organisations, particularly those involved in the technological, financial markets and in larger scale online retailing how and where their data is stored, processed and distributed is an important part of the business.

Datacentres which feature large groups of networked computers have typically been based in major cities because of long held beliefs that simply being on top of things would make processes faster and better. New trends such as those highlighted by the Tariff Consultancy’s recent Datacentre Europe Pricing as featured Computer Weekly show how a number of factors have created a creeping move away from city centre datacentres to those on the outskirts of cities or further afield.

Reasons For This Trend

A general move towards cloud computing for company data infrastructure in recent years has been drive by a growing recognition of the flexibility and cost benefits. For big corporates it has to be said that there has been a move away from building their own datacentres anyway to save operating and capital outlay costs in favour of the cloud.

Whether your using your own or a third party’s datacentres however, they still need to be physically sited somewhere. There are now several reasons why companies believe that their data centre doesn’t have to be in the middle of a main city e.g. London, but can be in the outskirts e.g. Hayes, Slough or Kent.

These reasons include:

Changing beliefs about latency. Just because a datacentre is a few miles further away companies can now see that this is unlikely to make any difference to their connectivity and latency of the data i.e. how quickly it travels through their system. One larger scale example is Google whose datacentre in Finland (a long way from their home operations centre) clearly makes no negative different to the speed of searches.

Costs. As with most business decisions costs is a major factor. Real estate and employment costs tend to be higher in cities so datacentres built on the outskirts can save costs and pass costs savings on. The Tariff Consultancy’s research for example shows that datacentre pricing in London is around 27% higher than facilities outside the M25. Paying a premium just to have a datacentre in the city for the same end result as if it were on the outskirts therefore simply doesn’t make sense to many organisations. New datacentres on the outskirts of cities also offer the attraction of initial discount pricing to bring customers in.

Security. Whether it is the fear or terrorist attacks or flooding, or issues about power security, cities are starting to look like riskier places to house datacentres.

Some Negatives.

There are of course some negatives to building or using datacentres outside of the city / some distance from your centre of operations. These include:

Hardware repairs. What if something goes wrong e.g. with the hardware? It can be a greater challenge and can result in delays if repairs need to be made when the datacentre is physically further away.

Short term discounts. The initial discounts used to entice the first few clients into new datacentres tend to be temporary and can give way to some considerable price hikes when the normal tariff kicks in.