Question : Housing all servers off site

Our director of IT and VP of IT Operations have decided that it is in the companies best interest to move about 90% of our servers to an off site facility.  Their logic is this site will have managed AC and power and we should not have any issues.

At the moment we are somewhere between a medium and large company with around 400 users in our home office, 2500 users world wide, 75 servers at the home office, and around 100 servers world wide.  This would only really affect our home office users.

This is coming about because we have had 3 major server room failures in the past 2 years; 1 power related, 1 AC related, and one SAN related.  Again the logic is with a fully managed data center we would not have the power or AC problems.  They are not even thinking of the other problems this will cause like; slower access to resources, minimum 30 minute drive for physical access to server.

We are already hosting a small disaster recovery system off site for data and email redundancy and they are looking at moving the other servers to the same location.

Another thing they are thinking is we would not have the high power bills that come with running our own data center, but again they arn't thinking of the cost of bandwidth between the two locations.

I think this is a bad idea and am looking for some input from others that I can bring to my manager (also against the idea) and help him put a stop to this.

All original comments either for or against this idea will receive a share of the points.  Any comments that are repeats of others will not receive points.


Answer : Housing all servers off site

Well ebjers, two out of the three faults would be resolved by moving to an data centre - but that is not guaranteed.  Checking the usual tech web sites (i.e. The Register) sees regular reports of data centres having problems and customers being offline.

Hosting 75 servers in a data centre will not be cheap.  You won't have any problems finding space, but you may have problems getting a data centre to provide you with the power and cooling that 75 servers and the associated network and storage equipment will need.  Obviously, if you pay enough money, you can get anything but the costs involved in putting in a fast enough link to the data centre coupled with the additional costs of the data centre itself could be better used by upgrading your own server room.

To give you an idea, at my last company we installed our own generator because of two power failures and the cost was  around £25k.  This powered the whole of the building and server room and would run for around 3 days on one tank of diesel.  You have to be aware of the noise of a generator and put in the necessary sound proofing enclosure (ours reduced the noise to 55db @ 10m).  That would solve your power problems.  Aircon - well, redundant aircon is also an option I suppose.

I'm on your side with this's a big exercise with a lot of risks for what could be seen as a minor problem.

Trying to crack a wallnut with a sledgehammer springs to mind.
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