7 questions to ask before choosing a data centre in London

If you’re in the market for data centre services, there are a number of prerequisite questions to ask yourself and your future provider before
settling on the right service.


1. How secure is your data?

One of the first questions you should ask when choosing a data center in London is how secure your data will be. Being able to connect to your server securely is essential.

You should always ask how the company can help you to secure your information. While you want to be able to access your files and information with ease, hackers certainly shouldn’t.

Make sure you understand how the organisation can assist you in properly securing your critical data. Then you can determine how safe your data will be when you move your equipment into the data centre.

The right data company won’t have a problem disclosing their own network security practices. Once you learn about the process, you can decide if the company is the best choice for you, or whether you’re best looking elsewhere.


2. How reliable are they?

While your data’s security is of the utmost importance, you also need to access that data around the clock. You need to ensure your systems are immune from outages, and remain online regardless of any external factors.

A reliable data centre provider will use emergency backup generators to prevent any loss of power. That way, you won’t lose your connection during the middle of your workday, should there be external power issues at the facility.

When you send your information to a data centre, you risk not having full control. So after you ask about security, you should always ask about system reliability.


3. How flexible or scaleable are they?

If you’re looking to use a data centre, you should consider how flexible their services are. Your business may take on new projects or systems, and you want your facility operator to handle that with ease.

Even if you operate as a relatively small company, you never know when you’ll need to grow your business. You may have a sudden spike in customers or orders.

When that happens, you may need to house more equipment in your data centre. If you can’t grow your systems with a data center in London, you won’t be able to use it for very long.


4. What’s the capacity like?

Along with service flexibility, you should also consider the available connectivity capacity. Some data companies may have a firm limit on the amount of data you can transmit.

If you exceed your committed rate, you may need to upgrade, or be liable for overage charges.


5. Where is the data center in London?

You should also consider the location of the data center in London. When looking for a suitable facility, it doesn’t have to be right by your current office (in fact, it’s best that it isn’t).

However, if you ever need to visit your servers in person, the location will be important; it shouldn’t be too far away.

The location is also important in terms of accessing your information remotely. A closer data centre will make the connection quicker for certain types of critical, latency-sensitive data.

If you don’t need to access your service at lightning speed, you may be able to use a facility that’s farther away, particularly for DR. But if you need to access data in a second, you’ll want the service to be close by.


6. How secure is the facility?

Overall, London is a safe city, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to crime. You should also consider how a data company is securing physical infrastructure.

If they have a physical security system, consider how strong it is. Ask if they’ve ever had a physical attack on their systems.

See how secure the entry points are, along with entry to the data halls themselves. Make sure there’s some level of protection for your data.


7. Do they offer customer support?

When considering a data center in London, think about the available customer support options. You should be able to contact the company whenever you have issues.

Whether you can’t get to your data or you suspect there’s a power issue, you should be able to contact your provider and get the help you need.

Ideally, customer support would be available at all hours of the day. After all, you may need to access your information in the middle of the night.

You’ll want to ensure that there is a highly experienced team in charge of the facility, who can help you with support enquiries at any time.

Don’t be afraid to ask about the customer support team and the experience of individual team members.


The best data center in London

When searching for the best data center in London, you want to consider a few factors. Asking questions can be a great way to determine if a company is right for you.

From determining the location to the security of the data centre, you can use that information to make the best decision for your business.

Want to start looking at a data center in London? Check out our London Central location and book a tour.

London East Build Blog – Weeks 14 and 15

After a real flurry of activity during the main mezzanine installation, the last two weeks have been a little more restrained in terms of visual change, as the majority of our time and effort has been spent orchestrating the next phase of the project.

We’ve spent time otherwise completing additional works ahead of the internal walling and access fit-out, which will be the next major milestone here at the new data centre.


Weekly overview

Aside from lots of time spent in meetings with our structural engineers, service coordinators, electrical contractors and other critical contributors to the NLE project, we’ve predominantly seen the most visual change at the front of the facility over the past 10 working days.

Our new high-security perimeter fence has started to take shape. This will largely match the specification of the compound perimeter found at NLC; that being a 2.4M palisade design, with overhead razor wire.

The difference here is that we’ve actually been able to retain some of the existing posts, designing custom post extensions to allow for a much taller border, and a faster installation.

We’re also adding a matching pedestrian turnstile, along with a gargantuan 6M sliding access gate for vehicles. This will be a whopping 3M high, to match the full height of the razor wired compound.

The rear of the facility will be following suit, with large 3M pedestrian access and fire escape gates, along with rear security fence extensions and razor wire, to match the much larger front compound.

Fence
The first section of the new palisade perimeter being installed
Fence
One full side of the compound fencing in place, pending razor wire installation
Fence
A look at the compound perimeter from outside, as the first corner section is reached
Fence
The corner section on the opposite side of the compound being installed
Fence
A look at some detailed customisation, as the palisades are cut and secured around penetrating bash guards
Mezz
The underside of the mezzanine received a full post-install floor clean and polish – you can also see the large 6M sliding gate and corresponding posts stored in this shot!

We’re very pleased with this progress as we continue to push towards the end of month four on-site at NLE.

We’ve been extremely pleased with our approach to the main compound fence runs. While the front side of the compound will require more in the way of new posts and additional hardware, the custom extensions have proved a great success in quickly deploying the main runs using existing posts, which have already been dug in to the subsurface.

The final consultative actions on the walls, doors and custom machine plinths are scheduled for next week, meaning this next phase of the build will be underway shortly. This will split the facility into its various rooms and fire zones for the first time.


What else has been happening?

We’ve continued with further roll-out of our new core node at CLL this past week. While there’s not much to show visually, as much of this involved logical work on our 100G+ ring, we did want to show our new custom MUXs, which are fully branded, and have new shuttered connectors.

CLL MUX
Our new branded 40 channel multiplexers

All future MUX additions and/or replacements will be our new branded variants, which we’re excited to be partnering directly with the manufacturer for!


What’s next?

Aside from the forward-looking continuation of the main envelope, our own team will be pushing ahead with development on later-stage plans for the installation of containment and associated systems.

We’ll also be moving onto the parts of the perimeter fencing that include the turnstile and the large sliding gate, which are certainly more complex additions to the compound.

What is colocation, and how does it work?

As your business grows, so too will your IT-related needs. Instead of automatically choosing to house multiple private servers on-site (that take up lots of room and energy), you may wish to consider other solutions to this problem.

One possible workaround is colocation. So, what is colocation, and how does it work?


What is colocation?

Colocation is a way of housing privately-owned servers and networking equipment off-site, in a third-party data centre.

Instead of the traditional scenario whereby your business may have a separate office or basement area to keep your servers, your business can rent space in a third-party location to safely and securely house your critical IT equipment.

There are many examples of successful, high-growth enterprises choosing this option. Take, Catchpoint, Krystal Hosting, and EveryCity, as prime examples.


Why colocation?

In short, it’s a positive and cost-effective alternative to cloud-based systems and onsite storage. Colocation enables total control over your own servers and equipment, and you have the freedom to pick a location that is most convenient to you.

It also addresses the perennial problems that many UK businesses have: lack of space.

The European Office Outlook report found that businesses are increasingly using more flexible office space solutions. This includes taking space on a per-desk basis.

In situations like this, space is at a premium. As such, colocation offers a practical solution to server storage to meet this need.

The idea has grown in popularity in the UK, with anticipated industry growth of almost 7% between 2015 and 2020.

Not only that, but using a colocation service provides direct access to resilient, high-bandwidth connectivity, redundant power and cooling systems, top-level security, and excellent 24×7 technical support.

Data centres are a far more reliable option over housing servers on-site, because they offer greater protection across all areas of technical operation, something not found to the same degree in-house. 


What about safety and security?

Colocation data centres are an extremely secure choice for your critical systems. Typically, there will be CCTV monitoring, biometric access control, uninterruptible power supplies, fire detection, and highly efficient cooling systems.

There will also be backup generators in the unlikely event of unforeseen area-wide power outages.

The right colocation centre will have a highly trained support team that offers technical assistance, security and surveillance 24/7/365.

With corporate and charity data breaches on the rise, finding a secure colocation centre for your data is essential.

In fact, the latest cybersecurity breaches survey for the UK showed almost half of businesses in the UK (46%) and a quarter of charities (26%) reported data breaches or attacks in the past year.


How does it work? 

A good data centre gives its clients the choice of various flexible configurations that best suit their needs. One thing that colocation isn’t is a one-size-fits-all solution.

There are several space options available, whatever the size of your organisation:

1 Unit, 2 Unit or 4 Unit Colocation – 1U/2U/4U

These are individual rack units tailored to suit businesses of different sizes; it’s possible to choose or upgrade storage needs as the company expands. There are many package configurations available depending upon the number of units required.

The 1U option is seen as an “entry-stage” choice where your company installs a single server in a shared cabinet.

Quarter rack colocation and half rack colocation

Quarter rack colocation is ideal for smaller businesses or startups with smaller systems. This option offers 10U of colocation space in a private and locked cabinet.  

Half rack colocation is a mid-range option, offering 20U of secure colocation space. It’s a perfect choice for businesses that are expanding or planning on expanding, and have larger deployments.

Full rack colocation

This is a 42U cabinet option; an entire rack dedicated to one business. It’s designed for companies with larger systems that need more room to grow. Full rack colocation also comes with higher power availability.


Is it cost-effective?

In short, yes it is.

Managing systems internally means businesses are responsible for any major or even minor expenses and variables. Not only does this take time, but it means recruiting new teams on top of employees who are managing daily business operations.


Will my business stay connected?

One of the biggest reasons businesses choose colocation at a data centre is because they guarantee you will stay connected. Their infrastructure means that you don’t have to invest in your own core network to accommodate your high-uptime requirements.

Colocation centres offer access to fully diverse, high-capacity networks, with direct connection capabilities to more than 500 service providers and carriers, and the best global routes and routing technologies.


Interested in colocation for your business?

We hope now having read this article, you now know the answer to the question: what is colocation?

If you’d still like to find out more, please feel free to contact our friendly team today.

If you’re interested in booking a free tour of our London data centres, get in touch. We look forward to speaking with you soon!

London East Build Blog – Week 13

What a transformation we’ve seen this week at the NLE data centre project. The main mezzanine is now in place, ready to receive walls, doors, raised floors and ceilings, which will form the data halls and all other technical spaces. The true scale of the build has now begun to show itself.

What was once an empty, blank canvas of a building is now well on its way to becoming our newest flagship London data centre.


Weekly overview

This week, we’ve had two teams on-site installing our new heavy-duty mezzanine system. This system was designed here in the UK by our structural engineering contractor, and manufactured in Sweden.

Quite remarkably, this structure went up in just 3.5 days. That’s the entirety of the steel work, and nearly 20 tons of surface boarding, in a little over half a week.

Delivery
The first of three articulated lorries arrive on-site from Sweden
Mezz
A look at some of the steel work awaiting installation in the front compound
Mezz
Materials making their way inside, ahead of install
Mezz
The first sections of steel being installed
Mezz
The first skeleton bay of the mezzanine steel work in place
Mezz
A look across the steel work as bay three is installed
Mezz
A look across to what will be the open double-height atrium, from our storage mezzanine
Mezz
A look at where the final bay will be installed
Mezz
The underside of the completed steel work structure, ahead of surface installation
Mezz
The top surface of the structure nearing completion
Mezz
A view from the underside of the structure, with the top surface in place
Mezz
The underside of the new mezzanine structure, with temporary site lighting now in place
Mezz
Our new triple-flight staircase, which will function alongside the new lift, which is pending installation
Mezz
A look across the finished top surface, towards the access atrium and storage mezzanine in the warehouse – with safety barriers now in place around the open perimeter, ahead of wall installation
Mezz
The top side of the finished mezzanine structure, facing towards the rear of the facility

The visual change on-site over the last five days has been incredible. This is set to continue, as we look ahead to the full envelope installation, which will present us with the final building layout.

What you’re looking at here is a 470 square meter mezzanine floor, designed to support 450 tons, but with a max design loading of around 700 tons.

This will be holding up the two first floor data halls, along with service corridors, build and breakout rooms, and a fully-featured DR suite to match that on-site at NLC.

The underside will house a further two data halls, plus our heavy plant and electrical switchgear rooms.

We couldn’t be happier with the outcome of this tranformative phase of the project, and while we are acutely aware of the work that still lays before us, we’re extremely happy to see such a major milestone reached.

Our time lapse camera has been running throughout this phase of the build, so we’ll be pushing out a quick cut of the process soon.


What’s next?

Next up, will be the walling and door / access installation, which will fully zone off each area. There may be a week or two of layover ahead of this installation, so there will be plenty more supplementary works ongoing throughout this time.

6 data centre migration mistakes and how to avoid them

When it comes to migrating a data centre, you can’t afford to make mistakes.

Data centre migration is something that businesses may need to undertake from time to time, for a variety of reasons, and with many risks involved. The migration process is complicated, because you have to transport a lot of critically important equipment, work with a number of different parties to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Although difficult, understanding what some of the common mistakes are and how to avoid them will let you better prepare. Preserving critical business data and getting a new data centre operating can be done without a problem.

Keep on reading to learn more about six common data centre migration mistakes, and more importantly, how to avoid them!


1. Lack of infrastructure assessment

One of the main things that goes wrong during a data centre migration stems from an improper initial assessment of infrastructure. When it comes to infrastructure, you need to thoroughly assess everything so you can move kit successfully. This includes things like knowing what you’re currently using and what you’ll need at the new location.

Taking a full inventory of what you have in place will help shape key decisions, not only in terms of what you’ll need to deploy at the new site, but also how this is handled to avoid any unnecessary downtime.


2. Unclear leadership

You must have a project leader. This isn’t something that should be overlooked. Unclear leadership will prevent your team from working effectively. There are many moving parts and variables involved in a migration task, so having someone with a top-down view to orchestrate things is critical.

Communication will play a major role in any successful migration process, so a project manager will help to ensure everything is running smoothly. They’ll keep track of everything and come up with solutions whenever the team faces a problem.


3. Lack of clear procedures

Alongside having a project manager, you’ll need to have clear procedures written out that everyone can follow. You should include step-by-step procedures for various tasks, including what equipment you’re taking and how best to move it.

This is something a project manager can come up with, but if you have a major role, you should also contribute your own know-how to the migration plan. If you happen to be the project manager, ensure that you’re thinking about all parts of the migration process so that you can include them in the detailed plan.

After making a list of procedures, make sure everyone has seen them ahead of time.

You’ll then need to enforce these procedures when you start migrating. Should someone fail to properly follow the procedures, you can give them a quick reminder of what they should be doing.


4. Not checking if equipment will fit

Before you start taking equipment to a new data centre facility, you need to check that it will fit. This is something that many people overlook when they start migrating and they find themselves without room for all of their hardware.

The best way to do this is to measure all of your equipment. You’ll also need to find if the new location’s elevators (if needed) can handle the weight of everything. Go to the new location, check out the hallways, and measure the size of the space you have available to you.

Buying new equipment before you’ve measured anything will run you the risk of wasting a lot of money. Always measure before you move anything or purchase something new. You’ll want to do this well before you start migrating so that you can make accommodations for issues in good time.


5. Underestimating the time required

Another thing that people drastically underestimate is how much time is required to migrate kit. Moving even comparatively small systems can take a considerable amount of time, particularly if not planned adequately in advance.

You’ll need to evaluate available manpower so that you can work around your team and migrate as quickly as possible. Consider assigning roles for the migration so that your team can handle various tasks at the same time.

If you come up with a data centre migration budget, you can prevent yourself from overspending or purchasing the wrong equipment. If you buy too many things, you can delay the migration process because you’ll have to try to send them back and get something new.


6. Lack of a backout plan

backout plan is necessary for most things, especially when it comes to data centre migration. Should something happen that prevents you from migrating, you’ll need a plan that lets you change your strategy. This can be considered as a “Plan B,” typically centred around bringing everything back to your original location.

Whether you need to go to a new location or purchase new equipment at the last minute, these are things you need to consider when putting together a backout plan. Keep in mind that you should try to follow through with your original plan, the backout plan is just a last resort.


Now you’re ready for your data centre migration

Data center migration requires a lot of teamwork and coordination, so you can’t afford to make a mistake that will slow down the entire process. By understanding how to avoid these six mistakes, you’ll be better prepared to execute a successful migration.

We recommend starting with the creation of a suitable plan to follow with detailed procedures. From there, everything else will fall into place as you go through the process.

Get in touch with us today to learn about the expert assistance we can provide you in migrating your critical systems between data centres!