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Businesses are more willing to take datacentre risks amid budget cuts

Archana Venkatraman

Datacentre cost, which was traditionally a secondary consideration to IT resilience, has moved high up on the IT executive’s agenda, a study by research analyst, DatacenterDynamics Intelligence showed.

Previously, datacentre owners and managers invested in building a lot of redundant, backup components within their IT facilities as part of their datacentre resiliency, disaster recovery and IT continuity strategies. But tougher economic conditions and tightening IT budgets has made them more willing to take on risk than they were before the financial crisis, the report found.

Tighter budgets are even forcing some businesses to consider, possibly for the first time ever, reducing the amount of available datacentre capacity, said Nicola Hayes, managing director at DatacenterDynamics (DCD) Intelligence.

Many datacentre professionals are also planning to consolidate existing facilities and are considering alternatives such as cloud computing to building new ‘owned’ datacentres. 

“Since the global financial crisis, cost and budget have become the new industry watchwords and these factors are becoming increasingly important, particularly in the context of a datacentre strategy,” Hayes said.

The IT team considers a wide range of factors when planning for a datacentre strategy. These include resilience and downtime of the facility, backup strategy, costs, energy and cooling, age of the infrastructure and types of hardware equipment.

“Yet cost has traditionally resided towards the bottom of a long list of considerations,” Hayes said.

But this is now changing, the research revealed.

“When times were good and money was no issue, we were extremely risk averse. If we needed to have two of everything, we had two of everything. We’re now more willing to accept risk than we ever have been,” a datacentre manager from a global pharmaceutical company was quoted in the research report.

“This is not to say that companies are taking unnecessary risks,” Hayes said. In fact, in the past decade, businesses could have been overestimating risk-based concerns because they had the budget to execute a more cautious and safer datacentre strategy, according to DCD Intelligence.

But as economic uncertainties continue, datacentre managers have moved away from building expensive, highly-resilient bulletproof Tier 4 facilities across the entire datacentre footprint, the study showed.

Instead, a Tier 3 facility is being looked on as sufficient to save on the significant cost of building a Tier 4 facility, Hayes said.

Many respondents questioned in the study also indicated that they find it more cost effective to avoid building highly-redundant datacentres and instead build more Tier 2 facilities, whilst also paying more attention to the application level.

“There is a trend towards building in resilience at the application layer,” Hayes said. However, application resiliency is still in its early stages and as most large organisations operate hundreds or thousands of applications, it is difficult to predict how they interact with each other,” Hayes warned.


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