Comparing Different Types of Data Centers

what is a green data center

Making the decision to move your data into a data center can be daunting. The options can be overwhelming. What’s the right amount of rack space? How much bandwidth do you need? Who will maintain the servers?

We’ve broken it down into 5 questions to ask to help you decide which data center option is right for you. Location, security, ownership, maintenance, and redundancy are the main features to consider.

Most data centers are hybrids and offer some combination of features. Discover the 5 key differences in data center services.

Location: In-House v. Colocation

Do you want to share space in a data center?

In-House v. Colocation data center

Lots of big companies have their own data centers at their facility. It might be a server closet or a basement full of servers. The company’s IT team usually manages equipment, power, internet, cooling, and security.

You might not have the time or funds to build a whole data center or room for a small company. Colocation data centers have shared server space. You rent rack space for your servers and pay to use the facility resources.

Security: Private v. Shared v. Public Cloud

Do you need privacy for your data?

security in public cloud

Hospitals and lawyers often opt for private clouds because they need to comply with HIPAA and other rules. Private clouds ensure you know where your data is at all times.

Shared clouds are kind of like colocation. You share storage space for your data with another group of users. You typically get a discount by sharing space without as much risk as a public cloud.

Public clouds like AWS and Microsoft Azure are shared by a bigger group of users. Your data is spread across many data centers across other countries. This is a great option if you need cheap storage space but don’t need to worry about privacy or compliance.

Ownership: Own v. Rent or Lease

Can you afford to buy your own servers?

buy or rent servers

BYOD (bring your own device) is a great option if you want full control over your equipment. Choose the right server equipment for your company and set it up in the data center.

Renting or leasing equipment can be helpful if you don’t have the budget to buy a lot of servers or don’t know what you need. You can also get discounts by purchasing from technology resellers.

Maintenance: Self-Service v. Managed

Do you have time to manage your servers?

managed colocation

Large companies rely on their IT teams to set up, maintain, and monitor data and servers. They’re experts on what the company needs and can help integrate technology with other initiatives within the company.

If you don’t have IT expertise at your company, hire a managed service provider to handle your technology and servers. Choosing the right IT company is your big challenge here.

Redundancy: Certified Tier I, II, III, or IV

How much uptime do you rely on?

data center uptime tiers

Data centers are grouped into different tier level certifications, ranked from Tier I to Tier IV.

Tier I data centers provide cooling and power but don’t have any redundancy. If the power or internet goes out, your server goes down. They’re allowed up to 28 hours of downtime a year.

At higher tiers, you’ll pay more for redundancy to keep your servers up. These data centers add redundancy to keep servers running even in the event of a power, cooling, infrastructure, or internet outage. Tier IV data centers are allowed no more than 26 minutes of downtime a year.

Ecommerce sites and high traffic sites need to stay up to produce revenue, so redundancy is essential. For a small shop, full redundancy might not be needed.

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