Relocating data centre to safer zone is 'futile': Revera CEO

Many businesses are looking to relocate their data centres to the 'safe' zone of New Zealand's upper North Island. But Revera CEO Robin Cockayne says relocating data centre equipment to a safer zone is a waste of time, indeed "futile".

"If you've still got all your eggs in one basket you might as well carry on as you were.," he says. "Shifting systems from one data centre to another invites another set of risks.

"Auckland and Hamilton don't presently shake as much as Wellington or Christchurch. But is anyone going to provide a guarantee that we won't experience a major shake or volcanic event in the future?

"Before 2011, who in Brisbane would have forecast the chaos and disruption caused by a flooded Brisbane River? Or the pounding suffered by NewYork and the US Atlantic Coast at the hands of super storm Sandy?"

Cockayne says a cheaper and less risky option for businesses is to stay put and sync data and systems at a second remote data centre.

"It can be done quite cheaply because the right sort of technology opens the door to instant systems reactivation at a remote site, without system duplication costs and configuration delays that have traditionally attached DR services," he says. "You don't have to move a thing."

He says more Wellington and South Island businesses are sighting up Auckland and Hamilton as data centre destinations. However, his advice is to keep computing close to home at a data centre that functions within an intelligently networked data centre cluster.

"A cluster of intelligently networked right-sized tier-3 data centres offers significant advantages over a single tier-3 data centre, or even a local network of data centres," says Cockayne.

"When a data centre or the network to which it connects sit within regional boundaries, if something breaks or a regional disaster prevents access, re-establishing client systems is a massive task, simply because the lion's share of data centre capacity has gone.

"People must think big -- not in the sense of data centre dimensions, but about the breadth of networks that orchestrate a fleet of data centres dotted around the country. Why go to the trouble of putting 100km between data centres when for the same sort of money you can have a regional data centre configuration that mitigates all the risks?

"Combined with smart networking, you're able to manage remote data centres as a single entity, and provide instant options at alternative locations. The only sovereign-safe data centre strategy that truly mitigates New Zealand risks is provided by a New Zealand-wide network of diversified data centres."

Datacom finished the $30m-plus construction of its Kapua data centre this year and signalled plans to add an extension within the next three years. Tom Jacob, Datacom's general manager of data centres, says the customer take-up of space in the facility is well ahead of initial expectations.

"Seismic activity across New Zealand further highlights to Datacom and our customers that Hamilton is an ideal location for data centre housing," he says.

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