07th December 2015
Thanks to the cloud and colocation, today's startups can compete with enterprises in the IT stakes. However, choosing the right provider can be a challenge.
It's a great time to be a data-driven startup. Thanks to the cloud and colocation, today's small and even cashstrapped companies can compete with enterprises in the IT stakes, and potentially have them beat when it comes to agility and scalability. Why invest in hardware and software when you can have everything you need delivered as a service?
That said, choosing the right data centre provider can be a challenge. Should you go for a bottom-of-the-barrel public cloud service, or do you need something a little more bespoke? Do your customers and employees have particular performance requirements? And as a high-growth business, will you need something different in a few years? Here are a few of the things you need to consider when it comes to choosing a data centre, cloud or colocation service for your startup.
You've probably already got a good idea that after costeffectiveness, one of the greatest advantages of IT and data centre asaservice is scalability. If you're a fast-growing startup, there's no point in building a broom-cupboard server room when you're going to need twice as much rack space in six months' time. So, you're going to want to find a data centre provider that can accommodate this growth without making you pay for everything upfront.
Be aware, though, that linear expansion may not be the whole story for your business vis a vis scalability. What if you experience seasonal peaks and troughs in traffic, causing you to alternately overpay and underdeliver? And if you need to set up a new development environment to bring a new product to market, will it be possible to procure the capacity quickly?
Don't just jump for the first provider that promises rapid scalability find one that demonstrates a more sophisticated understanding of your industry, business plan and IT strategy.
If the services you're delivering from your data centre are ones on which the very existence of your business depends, you're going to want to find a provider that can guarantee stability. As such, you should pay close attention to service-level agreements and data centre tier classification . It's also important to be aware that various commentators have forecast consolidation in the data centre sector as downward cost pressure pushes smaller, more basic operators out of the market. Choose a cheap and cheerful local partner, and there's a chance it might not even exist in a few years' time.
Finally, you need to be sure that your data centre provider has what it takes to look after your data. Understanding industry regulations and legal requirements is a good starting point: process payment card data, and you're going to need a PCI DSS-compliant cloud or colocation service. Store personal information on EU residents, and you'll want a partner that can support you through the rollout of the General Data Protection Regulation over the next few years. Beyond that, you should seek peace of mind that your relationship with your data centre provider will help, rather than hinder, disaster recovery and business continuity. If there's a chance that factors outside of your control could render your data inaccessible or exposed to hacking threats, establish a collaborative response plan after all, a radio silence from your operator is the last thing you need when the future of your business is at stake.