Why regional co-location is a great option for small businesses

Here, we look at regional co-location as an option for SMEs to better service their data management needs.

It is no secret that businesses are becoming ever more dependent on data due to a number of changes including an upsurge in cloud services, digitisation and the internet of things. As a result a key priority is the safe and efficient storage of this vital data with companies looking for the best solution to meet their requirements.

Traditionally the options were either to build your own server room or data centre, which can be cost prohibitive and requires a high level of expertise to keep the IT and infrastructure running effectively and efficiently, or outsource to a large co-location provider.

However, as these large data centre operators tend to focus almost exclusively on large organisations they are normally situated near business hubs such as London or Manchester. In many cases these facilities may not offer space by the rack, but sell by the suite or hall. If you add latency and travel time into the equation these stop looking like such a good option.

So what other choices do SMEs have to service their IT needs? One option is going onto the cloud but as organisations want greater control over their IT hardware, a more common solution is regional co-location.

What is regional co-location?

Regional co-location is the term used to describe companies that provide data centre services to local and national organisations, but are typically based outside of the M25 corridor. They range in size considerably from smaller regional based providers (with circa 30 racks), to larger national providers (circa 1,000 racks).

Just like the large national data centre operators, regional co-location providers can deliver a range of services including traditional and managed colocation, cloud services and in some cases support smaller business with the management of their IT services. Often you don’t have to commit to a large space and can simply rent as many dedicated racks as you need. It is a cost-effective and simple solution which ensures your IT systems are supported by an up-to-date infrastructure which can be scaled up and down as needed.

The regional co-location boom

Over the last 4 years we have seen a boom in regional colocation and as such we have supported new and existing operators to launch facilities across the UK with a variety of services. These facilities range from small 50 rack server rooms to a 2MW Uptime Institute Tier III Design Certified data centre in Scotland.

In a recent interview with Tech Radar, our Associate Director, Jon Healy summed this up saying “Recent trends have seen the market oversupplied, with the ‘build it and they will come’ mantra. However, we are now in a period of sustained growth with ‘demand’ outstripping the rate of supply.”

“Regional colocation is an easy way for businesses to outsource their data centre requirements. SMEs benefit from reduced capital expenditure (normally associated with a design and build project), greater flexibility to expand on demand and potentially greater efficiency and resilience associated with being in shared professional white space.”

Top five reasons to consider regional colocation

1. Proximity – Your data will be held in a facility close to you meaning you can access it easily without wasting precious time travelling. It also gives you the opportunity to build a relationship with your operator and challenge them, making sure they are doing all they can to help you as they invariably want to make you happy.

2. Latency – Distance represents challenges regarding latency in delivering certain services to end user clients. This cannot always be achieved with the large monolith data centres and we are seeing big corporations seek out small regional operators to provide specialist services to local businesses.

3. Power Shortage – Our obsession with data centres being located around the M25 has seen power availability become a real issue. Other areas around the UK have greater capacity for growth, especially areas that were former industrial sites or have another form of large scale renewable energy.

4. Bespoke Solution – You can often get a service tailored to your needs which can be adapted and changed as required, supporting any future business growth. This comes with the added peace of mind associated with being in a shared professional white space.

5. Cost – You can benefit from reduced capital expenditure (normally associated with a Design and Build Project), and the fact that you can buy as little or as much as you want.

Laurence Baker is marketing manager of Keysource

Further reading on data management

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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