I have always enjoyed the titles of our blog entries. We don’t dream them up, we just say what we mean and often people review them and provide editorial opinion (i.e. don’t offend, don’t get sued, etc.).
A data centre (or center for our American friends) is a room where you store computer servers, communication equipment, and storage devices for offsite back up.
What distinguishes a good data centre from a bad one is not so much the availability of power, cooling, and great security (it is simply assumed that these elements exist), but rather the ability to provide ‘neutral’ connectivity to the room.
What do we mean by Neutral?
Data centres, to function properly, need bandwidth or connectivity. For example, if you are a business and choose to have your key servers and storage in an ‘off-site’ facility or ‘data centre’ the need for connectivity connecting you to these sites. In our view, it is imperative that the choice of what bandwidth to use, and who to use be ‘neutral’. Neutral means having a non-preferential and open access meet me room allowing any provider’s bandwidth to enter or exit the facility.
By doing this, you allow the end user to ‘pick’ and ‘choose’ which providers they use. You can pick whether you want public (internet) or private (Carrier Ethernet, WAN, MPLS, etc.) based circuits; you can even pick from which provider. In popular practice it is always a good idea to make sure that the Data Centre provider, the primary WAN or Internet Link and the Secondary WAN or Internet Link are from ‘diverse’ providers (its usually different providers).
Every once in a while we get asked to quote connectivity into a third party data centre. This is when you find out if in fact the data centre is ‘neutral’. Sometimes the answer is ‘yes’, sometimes the answer is ‘yes’ with additional unnecessary costs (access fees to the data cabinet) and sometimes it is just a ‘no’.
And stay away (far away) from the non-neutral providers. They suck. We don’t (suck).