Cost, traditionally very much a secondary consideration to resilience, has now moved to a far higher position on the agenda for data centre owners and operators than in previous years.
This is according to new research by DCD Intelligence, the research arm of DatacenterDynamics, based on 30 in-depth interviews with senior personnel responsible for their organisations data centre strategies on an international level from vertical markets including finance, retail and pharmaceuticals.
“Since the global financial crisis, cost and budget have become new industry watchwords and particularly in the context of international data centre strategy these factors are becoming increasingly important,” says DCD Intelligence MD Nicola Hayes.
“A wide range of factors are taken into consideration when crafting a strategy, yet according to our sources cost has traditionally resided towards the bottom of a long list of considerations.”
In today’s economic climate, this is a situation that is changing. Research for the short report strongly indicates that companies are more willing to take on risk than they were before the crisis. Many are also undertaking or considering a programme of consolidating existing facilities and considering alternatives to building new “owned” data centres.
Economics are even forcing some to consider, possibility for the first time ever, reducing the amount of available data centre capacity.
“All of this is not to say that companies are taking unnecessary risks,” says Hayes. “Indeed it would appear that for the past decade companies have been overestimating risk-based concerns since when  money was readily available this was the more cautious approach.”
A source at one major international pharmaceutical company explains: “When times were good money was no object and we were extremely risk averse. If we needed to have two of everything, we had two of everything. We’re now more willing to accept risk than we ever have been.”
As budgets have become tighter, the research indicates that there has been a move away from building highly resilient bulletproof Tier 4 facilities across the entire data centre footprint. Now, even where a high degree of resilience is warranted, a Tier 3 facility is being looked on as sufficient to save on the significant cost of building a Tier 4 facility.
DCD Intelligence sources have indicated that it can be more effective to spend less money on highly redundant data centres and build more Tier 2 facilities, while also paying more attention to the application level.
“There is a trend towards building-in resilience at the application layer though – as most large organisations operate hundreds or thousands of applications – it is difficult to predict how they interact with each other.  Application resiliency is still in its early stages,” Hayes notes.