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Location premium

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The geographical location of a colocation data centre is one of the least important factors that should be considered when selecting a provider.

The geographical location of a colocation data centre is one of the least important factors that should be considered when selecting a provider. The location in terms of risk should be major considerations, for example, is it in an area that is at risk of flooding? (The environment agency helpfully publish the probability of flood for a particular area or location) Is terrorism a likely risk factor? How secure is the power supply and how reliable is it? Who runs the data centre, the colocation provider or an outsourced FM company? What is the quality of the facility? Who is the colocation provider and what are their credentials? Is the colocation provider a property company that doesn’t understand the technology that you will put into the facility, or is it borne from a technical understanding of your IT environment?

If the facility is well run, the provider understands your IT environment, and offers 24 hour, 7 day support with competent remote hands and eyes, you are less likely to ever need to visit the data centre anyway. (It is worth checking how much they charge for this service though as prices range from being included in the monthly cost to up to £200 per hour or part thereof!)

There is a simple way to put a value on location premium – if, for example, a rack costs you £1,500 per month in a metropolis and £1,000 per month in a regional data centre, the premium you are paying is £500. If you have a member of staff that visits the data centre once per month and you are paying them £50,000 per annum, they cost you roughly £31.25 per hour. If the data centre takes 1 hour to get to and from, the cost of the visit is £31.25, if it takes two hours to get to the cost of the visit is £125. So, if the data centre premium is £500 and you have a staff member that is paid £50,000 per annum, they must visit at least 4 times per month, (once a week), for the premium to be worth paying!

Finally, there is the old chestnut of latency. Latency is not, as some would suggest, caused by distance, (unless we are talking thousands of miles). Light travels down a piece of fibre at over 200,000 kilometres per second. Latency is caused by switch and router ports and by network congestion. Each switch or router port could introduce up to 2ms of latency. The question one needs to ask is; where are there more switch ports and where is network congestion most likely? In the metropolis, of course!!!