Posted by: Greg Elliott, Director of Business Development at 1102 GRAND
This past year was one filled with man-made and natural disasters that had the potential to knock out communications and operations in entire cities. From tsunamis to fires to earthquakes, the unexpected could wipe out your whole operation in seconds. Even if your company has a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place, you may want to check out what other industry leaders have covered in this article from DataCenterKnowledge.com.
At 1102 GRAND, some of our customers use our Kansas City-based colocation facilities as a backup site in their business continuity plan, while others use 1102 GRAND as a production site or for use a hybrid approach. There are many possible approaches appropriate for various types of industries.
If you would like to schedule a tour and to discuss different options available for your business, just give me a call at 816-213-7731 or send me an email at Greg@1102GRAND.com.
Greg Elliot With IT Executive Consultant & CIO Brad Rein
By Greg Elliott
I have heard the discussion many times, should I invest capital in a data center at my current facility or should I move to an off-site facility? I met Brad Rein recently and he had a great insight into the topic at hand. His particular case was a little different, he was looking to move his primary data center to an off-site location and have his DR [disaster recovery] site remain at their main office.
1) What were the components that made the move make sense?
Our operations consisted of one data center, so as the company achieved the current level of maturity and demands from our clients, I had to begin planning for the advancement of our DR/BC [disaster recovery/business continuity] plan. My decision to develop an off site hosting model for our primary data center operations was based on several factors. First, the buildup of our server, network and storage infrastructure was essentially complete so the level of hands on activity had been reduced to periodic maintenance and other occasional physical changes. With our heavy emphasis on virtualization, and remote management capabilities, having direct access to the primary physical components by our infrastructure team was no longer an issue. This previously had weighed heavily into the decision to keep our primary data center operations in our corporate office facility.
Second, given the nature of our business (medical device, healthcare information centric), we were capturing and maintaining highly sensitive data. Our clients and business partners were placing significant emphasis on comprehensive security controls that we were obligated to meet. The focus on the physical data center was becoming increasingly important to them, and the requirements were beginning to exceed what we could justify from a cost/benefit perspective in terms of hardening our existing data center.
2) What did you discover as key benefits to the potential move?
My model was to essentially transfer our primary DC [data center] operations to a remote facility and continue to operate the corporate office data center as the fail over, backup. This was a strategic decision based on the previous points, with the intent of taking our DR/BC capabilities to the next level while mitigating the cost of building the requisite functionality into our existing data center. Additionally, this move would also allow flexibility in the event that, for instance, the company outgrew the leased space in the building and was forced to seek new space elsewhere. Business service interruptions were limited to narrow scheduled maintenance windows – too narrow to take down and move the data center. And, as previously stated, the increasingly stringent operational and security requirements coming from our clients and business partners related to data center operations would be easily met under this model thus expediting the acquisition of new business, and meeting evolving SLA’s [service level agreement].
3) Was there a cost saving by making the switch?
The initial cost analysis showed that by making this change we would eliminate the need to invest in additional (redundant) data circuits, upgrade the fire protection solution, security, HVAC [heating, ventilating, air conditioning], etc. The savings on the fixed and recurring costs far outweighed the cost of the hosting solution. In a high density, virtualized infrastructure, the footprint is significantly reduced, so the monthly costs for the hosted solution is minimal by comparison.
4) What obstacles did you encounter with the process?
In our discussions and planning, I did not see any issues whatsoever in making the change. Any major player in the hosting services space have the engineers on staff to assist with this process, and I felt comfortable with the approach. Having moved data centers on two occasions throughout my career, I understand the process, what to plan for, and how to execute. The bottom line is plan, plan and plan some more. Get the key people involved in every step of the process.
5) What advice would you offer to a CIO contemplating a similar move?
In the current economic climate, most CIO’s are facing increasing pressures on budgets, with expectations to deliver world class, best of breed solutions. Often that creates a paradox in that an adequate capital expenditures budget is essential to accomplishing the mission. It is a fairly simple mathematical exercise to establish the cost to a business when mission critical functions are lost. Approach it from an insurance mindset, and consider ways to reduce the impact. Whether you are hosting a single data center, or multiple operations, hosting makes sense in that you have the full attention and skill of the staff in a facility specifically designed to support critical technology operations.
So there you have it, straight from a CIO. Let me know what topics you would like to see covered in our five questions with… posts. Coming soon…equipment financing with Commercial Capital Company and data backup with DataEdge.
Brad A. Rein
Brad A. Rein has a broad background as a senior executive with over 20 years of leadership experience in medium size, private equity held company environments. His experience history has been primarily focused in high growth, strong return businesses with key roles in Information Technology. Mr. Rein has extensive experience in establishing vision and business strategy, building and managing IT project teams and initiatives, with depth and mastery of key technology areas.
When our property was purchased five years ago, the building was connected to the city’s steam loop. This steam loop connected to very inefficient steam registers which heated the office spaces in the building during the colder months of the year. So, in an attempt to save money, the ownership group of 1102 GRAND installed two large cooling towers on the roof. Learn more about their affect:
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Companies can make a significant impact in regards to energy usage by updating old, less energy efficient equipment. Here are some ideas on how to do so in an economically affect fashion.
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A critical component of the space in any data center in fire suppression. To make sure your collocation equipment is safe, take a look at this article: 1102 GRAND
Racking and equipment options can start with the basic two-post racks or four post racks and move to the secure full and partial private cabinets. To see more information on equipment, look here: 1102 GRAND
Don’t be caught with your pants around your legs! 1102 Grand is offering full cabinets starting at $280 per month and 8×12 Private cage space starting at $1,120 per month. If you are interested, call us at 816-471-7872, or e-mail us at email@example.com. By Greg
Picture this, 98 degrees (feels like 150), the clubs are hot to touch, and you are sweating in the shade. Would you think this is an ideal scenario for a golf tournament? Probably not. But despite the hot conditions, the 1102 GRAND Annual Golf Tournament, had almost 100 participants! We would like to thank our customers, vendors, others from the IT/Telecom community, and Deer Creek Golf Club for making the 4th Annual Tournament a success.
Congratulations to all the winners:
The tournament was also a rewarding networking opportunity for all. Ideas were exchanged, new introductions were made, and business deals are still unfolding as a result of the event. To us at 1102 GRAND, that makes it a success.
Now it is time to get to work on our next Networking Event at Boulevard Brewery. Mark your calendars for September 17th!
Brad Hoffman, ISG; Miles Franz, ISG; Henry Weber, FuseMail; Bryan Heitman, FuseMail
Don Burkhart, Mobile Communications Group; Carody Kephart, GSI; Jonathan Lavender, GSI; Kelly Kephart; GSI
Craig Young, ShoMe Technologies; Brent Robinson, TW Telecom; Rod Couch, K-Powernet; DJ Good, LK Communications
Chris Spear, David Edwards, Dan Hamilton and Steve Wilson of Wilson Construction
Larry Foland, Ted Bolin & Chris Rey of Time Warner Business Class
So I have read a few of the articles over the past couple of weeks about the global phone system hacking ring that was recently busted up. The good news is this ring has been stopped. The bad part is that it happened after $55 million of long distance theft transpired. If you didn’t hear about this, the short version is that hackers used brute force to essentially hijack telephone extensions of 2500 corporate phone systems. Oversimplifying things quite a bit, the thieves then proceeded to reroute long distance minutes to overseas call centers and profited through the sale of those minutes. Beyond the issue of the crime at face value, it appears that a good portion of the profits were then transferred into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists.
So how in the world did this happen? First of all, toll fraud is not a new crime and was even more lucrative back in the days of sky high domestic and international long distance. Remember those days when mom would call the grandparents and sound like a speed reader trying to sync up on life while dad stood there tapping his watch and wondering if a second mortgage may be in the future? It seems like a distant memory in these days of unlimited minutes with free long distance on cell phones.
Anyway, I think the issue stemmed from two things: (1) people do not perceive toll fraud as a major threat any longer. In fact, I bet call accounting records are rarely kept let alone reviewed by very many companies these days, and (2) the recession nearly a decade ago saw separate telecom and IT departments at most organizations become a thing of the past. From my experience, I witnessed a lot of telecom staff being let go and the task of maintaining the phone system passed onto the IT department. As IP phone systems have matured, there is definitely some value in doing this anyway, but the problem is that these departments were generally not skilled/versed into the nuances of telecom and more importantly were already overworked and often under budgeted. So they never had the chance to really drill down and learn about things such as toll fraud, call accounting reports, etc.
One ironic thing I read had to do with default passwords. It turns out that the brute force necessary to hack some systems was not so brute after all. Well known default login and passwords were all that was necessary. This was left unchanged by many of the same people who cast judgment on the average employee who buys a SOHO wireless router for their home and just plugs it in and goes without changing the login/password or setting up security measures. So besides not judging non-technical employees, what is there to learn from this fiasco? There are several things but two items that stick out in my mind are (1) the industry needs to heed this as a wakeup call and realize that the threat of network attacks are not limited to data networks. Voice networks pose their own risks and challenges, and (2) Executive management at companies need to realize that security is not a luxury but rather a priority and start budgeting more money to address issues proactively rather than reactively. Why do companies have to be burned before they perceive any value in this space?
Choosing a location for a data center or collocation presence is never an easy one. There is always the balancing act between uptime and affordability. One trend is apparent; however, the Midwest is clearly the most cost-effective location and should at least be considered when evaluating locations. While the Midwest may not be the best location for all businesses due to individual internal goals at a particular company, the region certainly has its merits.
Locating data centers in the Midwest is popular for several reasons including the lower costs for items such as power, real estate costs, construction, and labor. In addition, the Midwest has advantages in geography itself. Nearly all of the major fiber routes go through the Midwest in order to connect the east and west coasts. That means that many areas have access to a large number of providers within a given area. In addition, since network latency is related to distance, the latency is lower from the Midwest to either coast than it is from one coast to the other. Much of the Midwest is also located away from many of the natural disasters and other data center threats including: earthquakes, hurricanes, wild fires, and rolling power blackouts.
When evaluating all of these criteria, it is no wonder that most data center location studies are largely comprised of Midwest locations such as Kansas City in their Top 10 lists. In fact, in the Boyd Group’s 2008 report, Kansas City was listed as the 2nd most affordable major market data center location. As the carrier hotel and internet hub for the region, we welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can help your organization and share what sets our facility apart from others in the Midwest.