SME Strategy For Setting Up A Datacentre

Basant Shroff , Associate Director - Ernst & Young details the process that SMEs can follow to set up a datacentre (DC) site. He also shares with, a few DC Consolidation success stories.

What are the pre-requisites for setting up a DC?

There are a few things that should figure at the top of the check list as soon as one is thinking of setting up a DC. These include- location of the DC, its size and the surrounding areas.

Setting up a DC also involves keeping in mind the business' strategic horizon - in terms of the requirements to be met from the DC. Once you have got the strategy in place, the next priority is to get the power, cooling and cabling in place.

Next comes the network infrastructure, server space etc. and on top of that layer, the processes and people. What is important from a planning perspective is how you put together all this in the project plan, how you identify dependencies between various components and make sure that if things are supposed to happen sequentially, actually happen and the interdependencies are managed.

How should SMEs approach the process of setting up a Datacentre?

From an SME perspective, what they might not have is a strong project plan and a project manager who is following the progress of the construction of the DC. For setting up a DC a project plan is a must. Once the site is ready, the next phase would be about bringing in the equipment and setting up the infrastructure. If it is power then what sources of power is needed, the required UPS capacity, also the amount of redundancy needed from a power source, UPS capacity perspective etc. After power comes cooling and creating zones in the DC is very critical.

Server infrastructure, locating the rack space, switching infrastructure etc has to be looked at next. Security is the next logical step. Some part of the security requirement has to be thought of at the site itself but the moment you put a false ceiling and raised flooring, the cabling much more easier - you can retro-fit it if you need to. So if you only want surveillance cameras it can be done, the biometrics and advanced caging is also possible.

After security comes the environment in terms of how you can prevent fire from damaging a DC. All these measures are for security within the building but a lot of security planning also needs to be done to secure the outside as well. The Building Management System (BMS) will make sure that power, cooling, smoke detectors, fire extinguisher and all the other security equipment is all connected and can be monitored centrally.

Could you share some some DC Consolidation success stories with us?

There are organisations in the BFSI sector, which have gone beyond their brief to offer DC as a service to their customers. An instance of this is of a company that consolidated its multiple server rooms into one large DC, which was used as a service to the clients to host certain data.

What prompted the company to opt for a single DC was the frequent data exchange with various clients on a regular basis and for this they had to have some infrastructure located in India. Very soon, the DC became a source of income.

Another success story is about a conglomerate who took an overview of the DC requirements as a group rather than on a company-to-company basis. They have diverse interests and realised that the group companies would have more than five to six DCs if they divide operations within similar lines of businesses. A few years age they opted for one DC and one DR site, saving a lot on DC costs.

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Updated Date: Feb 02, 2017 23:24:56 IST