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Data more valuable than oil?

Data Centre Racks

I couldn’t agree more with Stephen Pritchard who wrote in the FT recently that Data is the new Oil.

Today, companies depend on reliable and safe data, as much as they do on people, capital and raw materials. So Pritchard wrote that a good data centre is now akin to the oil rig and refinery rolled into one. Over the past few years business applications and their data have moved from PC’s to servers. These servers need to be housed in an extremely secure, dedicated area with plenty of power and large scale cooling solutions. The space and equipment to do this is not a cheap.

Data Center RacksIncreasingly, companies are moving their data to an external outsourced data centre, bringing the added benefits of: having instant access to newer technology, more flexible & reliable data availability, a network that is easier to manage, less vulnerable to disaster from flood, fire or power cuts…… or simply more cost effective than a host of PC’s tucked under desks or stuffed into a totally unsuitable cupboard space in-house, Pritchard continued.

Nicholas Carter, director of global systems at YouGov says, that any of his staff can log on to a computer at any time, at any office in the world and have everything they need, thanks to the YouGov data being safely stored in a trusted outsourced Data Centre. With Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and “hot desking” now two of the hottest issues for employees, ……data access, flexibility and reliability are becoming totally essential.

Alistair McCauley, an IT expert at PA Consulting said in the FT:” You don’t often now come across large or mid-tier companies running weird or very ancient equipment. A lot of work has been done down the right road and most have quite efficient IT architectures. That means that IT departments have to focus of other areas of data centre running cost to save money. Power and cooling are the obvious areas to tackle. But, it is not easy to put the latest power distribution or sophisticated cooling system into an ageing in-house data centre. That is a job for builders, not a CTO”

So moving data centres away from the centre of cities, to the fringes of them, (like Pulsant has done with its state of the art new campus in Croydon, South London), brings other long term benefits, notes Stephen Pritchard. Land, wages, security issues and long term power deals all make an outsourced data centre the way to go.

Having worked in the co-location and Cloud computing space for several years now, the FT article was one of the most interesting and insightful features I have read for a while. It is clear that every Boardroom in the country is facing the in-house v outsourced question in the next five years….. that is if it is not already keeping them awake at night. The FT article was clear and concise about this issue and for me brought a lot of clarity to a subject where there is often a good deal of “smoke and mirrors”.

As video demand, social media, mobile payments and the rapid shift to a “tablet driven society” gathers pace, and heaven knows it is happening much quicker that most analysts predicted…… then ensuring data provision is 100% is probably the one of the top three business must have’s. Therefore, outsourcing this business critical function, to a specialist data centre operator seems to me to be a “no brainer” on both a cost and operational effectiveness front.

Well done Stephen Pritchard. He has certainly got it.

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