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Small-Thinking Businesses Jeopardizing Big Success Online

Article date: Tue, 19 Feb 2013 16:19 GMT

Rudi Feitsma

Small-thinking firms are risking the big online success they dream of, with poorly planned data centre strategies.

Rudi Feitsma, director of data centre sales at UKFast who previously worked at blue chips across the globe including Vodafone and Ericsson, as well as data centre providers UKGrid and Telecity, said: "Firms are focussing on the solutions that they have got in place right now and projecting small growth curves. No firm should overspend on their IT infrastructure but a strategy needs to be in place to ensure the data centre choice can flex as it should with the business's ever-changing needs."

Stephan James, data centre expert, agreed; he said: "Businesses must ask how they are going to scale within the data centre that they choose. Can you expand within the environment to accommodate a global audience? I have seen so many companies that have had to change data centre so many times in order to cope with a change in audience."

Feitsma continued: "It is not only growth and changes in demand that need to be considered. There are probably changes in regulation planned for the next five, maybe 10, years - like the changes we recently saw in the regulation of storing data in the legal profession.

"I have seen people over-plan their data centre strategy by not being scientific enough to predict changes in demand for their site or needs, who still do not take regulatory changes into account. Then when these external factors come into place the firm has to reassess its IT needs and begin the expensive process of planning and migrating to more suitable solutions because the strategy has not taken these changes into account."

Steve Jarvis, client director at data centre infrastructure consultancy GlassHouse warned of the dangers of immediately turning to virtualisation as the 'be all and end all' of cutting data centre costs and maintaining flexibility.

He said: "It is about getting to the nub of what the business drivers are for the firm. I recently met with a company who had reduced the number of physical servers within the data centre but their cost model with the service provider wasn't per server so they didn't cut any costs by virtualising."

Sarah Wilkinson, associate director of data centres at commercial real estate services adviser CBRE, explained the positive transitions that are occurring when it comes to data centre choice -IT professionals are increasingly being brought in as decision makers.

Wilkinson said: "The business stakeholders do have an increasing presence from IT, bringing in specialisms to support the business needs and ensuring that they always have the expertise to advise them.

"If the firm's key decision-makers are going to view four or five data centres to choose a service provider, a whole team - technical and business-minded - needs to be in place to ensure that the facility meets the needs of the business."

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