Recently, a customer had to make a decision about how to expand their data center at their corporate offices. They had grown by acquisition and had several branch offices around the Southwest region, mostly in Texas. The company was in the supply business; they moved perishable items to restaurants and grocery stores. Their business consisted of high-volume transactions at a low margin per transaction, so efficiency had to be maintained.
When they came to Mainline, they wanted to know how to make their network more efficient and how to add capacity due to new server and cloud-based applications. Wireless and mobility were an issue, but the primary concern was the connectivity needed around the clock, which required a much higher degree of reliability than they were experiencing with their current environment. Their network needed analysis and help, but the network was only the support structure for a poorly designed environment that would not offer the flexibility needed to support their business long term.
In reviewing solutions regarding the cost factors for making their corporate data center and network robust enough to handle the existing workload and the soon-to-be-implemented CRM and SAS systems, we found there was no way to make an economical investment in updating the data center to add the floor space, creating redundant network connections to service providers, and housing the servers and network equipment. The logical thing to do was to look at a collocation arrangement that would allow them to have the redundancy necessary for a 7x24x365 application support system for their business.
By changing their design slightly to make a collocation center the “head end” of their network, and then allowing each of the business locations to act more like branch offices, they greatly reduced the costs for having redundant connectivity. In addition, no construction was needed to build out their corporate facility or branch offices to house the new servers and network equipment required to make their applications available to meet customer service-level requirements. The collocation center provided on-site support as needed for equipment tuning or maintenance, and helped them avoid the cost of hiring additional staff to maintain systems.
The result is a dramatic contrast of before and after scenarios that we helped to craft and implement. Before, the company was dealing with single points of failure, an absence of network redundancy, and an aging data center that needed constant attention. Instead, the equipment and network services are now implemented in a cost-effective manner, fully redundant network and branch office connectivity solutions are in place, and the availability of applications meets or exceeds the customer’s service-level agreements.
Talk to your Mainline account team about these kinds of solutions for your business. It’s time to change the way we think about data centers and the way in which we traditionally have implemented them.