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November 22, 2016updated 13 Jan 2017 11:59am

Cloud data centres in the UK – the vital questions prospective customers must ask

IBM is the latest giant cloud player to announce UK data centre plans after Microsoft and AWS

By Sam

Three of the biggest cloud providers, Microsoft and AWS in the public cloud and IBM in the private/hybrid cloud have commited to opening data centres in the UK.

Along with security, performance and latency, the issue of Post BrexIT UK data residency, sovereignty and security is rising up the agenda.

The inward investment in data centre infrastructure is welcome but what form is it taking and what are the questions potential customers should ask about the facilities in which their data – the lifeblood of their business – is to be hosted?

We offer prospective customers some basic questions to ask:

Q: Why have you chosen those particular locations?

(Microsoft is on the record as saying it will host in Durham, Cardill and London.

IBM said of its four its first will be in Fareham and that its second will be opened in partnership with Ark Data Centres, a UK DC builder.)

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Q: Is each UK data centre a mirror of your biggest data centre in terms of mechanical infrastructure, resiliency and efficiency.

Some firms have giant data centres in other European locations such as Microsoft’s mammoth seemingly ever growing data centre in Dublin.

MS Dublin DC - new expansions have been announced since this picture was shot

MS Dublin DC – new expansions have been announced since this picture was shot

 

 

 

 

 

Q: Is each UK data centre the same in terms of IT hardware and software set up?

Q: What Tier rating is each UK facility.

Tier ratings from a body called the Uptime Institute are accreditations granted to sites which match criteria for infrastructure resiliency in areas such as power back up and management processes and procedures. See Tier Rating Definition.

Q: Are these are purpose built owned and operated by Microsoft/AWS/IBM?

If Yes: Q: What the level of capital investment for each?

Q: When will they come online?

Q: How big are they – in sq mts of white space, in power (MWs)

Next: What questions to ask if they are third party commercially operated data centres?

 

 

Q: Are they managed data centres or colocation sites which were designed built and operated by third party suppliers.

If Yes:

Q: Which commercial data centre operators are you using?

A commercial data centre called Telehouse West - it is actually in London Docklands

A commercial data centre called Telehouse West – it is actually in London Docklands

Q: Do you have dedicated separate halls within commercial facilities or are you in a shared environment?

Q: What are your options for scaling within each of the facilities?

Q: How long is your tenure?

 

 

 

 

Infrastructure questions for all data centres

Q: What assurances can you give around – digital security, physical security, uptime guarantees/commitments, connectivity?

Q: Should it be required will customer applications and user data be stored and backed up only in data centres located in the UK?

This data centre is in Slough as are many others including data centres run by Equinix the world's largest commercial data centre operator

This data centre is in Slough as are many others including data centres run by Equinix the world’s largest commercial data centre operator

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