Data Centers are the core of the Internet. The computer servers that power the Interne,t call Data Centers their home. If you think of how many billions of online transactions that happen every day you will be amazed to know that the final resting place of all these stored transactions is the Data centers. This Amazement quickly turns into Panic when you think about how much private data and vital data is stored there. Over years the Data Center technologies have evolved a lot into much advanced techniques like server virtualization and high speed power houses. There are more than 100 factors one should evaluate a data center against before choosing one to home their servers. In this article we will see the three main that in turn dictate the rest of the factors.
1. Security: We just now saw how much data is stored, processed and served by the data centers. All these are vital data that makes or breaks a global economy. Security includes the data encryption capability of the servers, the security of the uplinks or the backbone networks that are employed. It includes security mechanisms like the Public key dongles and the capability to store the data securely and safely. The less talked aspect is the physical security of the box and the whole data center itself. We are talking about limiting snooping and sniffing the packets, but what happens if one person just walks in carries off a server. How much credit card data, transaction details, bank details and the SSN's get compromised! You can have a slow box but an insecure one creates a ton of problems in the form of countless lawsuits. Choose the data center that excels in all aspects of security. Ask pointed questions, expect the right answers.
2. Reliability: The next important aspect is the reliability of the systems and the data center infrastructure itself. We are just not talking about backup machines or RAID 5 HDD. We are talking of highly available power systems with sufficient backup time and in house generators for emergencies. The additional aspect to consider is reliability of the company that offers the data center and the persons working for the company. You many want to talk a little bit about their hiring and daily authentication and authorization process if you are even a mid-sized company. Disaster recovery systems are critical for the five 9's in reliability don't be stalled because a California power-company had a complete emergency shutdown due to an earthquake or a hurricane in Florida. You should be able to gracefully failover to alternate sites.
3. High Speed: The third aspect is the much needed speed. This is more complex than you think. Adding a word saying that we have the high end servers making a data center a high speed infrastructure is minimum requirement. The network uplinks and the Internet backbone the center are connected to are also very important. You have to ask for custom solutions like caching technologies, load balancing blueprints and high end routers, switches and backplanes.
This article just touches on these major concepts and you have to do sufficient research on the keywords employed in this article. As I said there are 100 factors to consider before choosing the right datacenter. Any good company owning a data center would openly help you evaluate their infrastructure against these factors.
You can find a good Data Center with many of the good capabilities discussed in this article in fastpcnet.net. Ask them about their custom solution and how they measure against the deciding factors and you will be happy at the answers.
Author Holds a Masters in Distributed computing and does freelancing for many great Internet companies through the no fee free freelance website freelancefree.com.