By: Damien Spillane, Head of Sales Engineering, Australia
One of the strongest selling points any business can have is third-party endorsements. Whether it's purchasing new equipment or finding a lawyer, knowing they have been given independent stamps of approval provides assurance to the customer that it's making the right choice.
The same holds true when it comes to selecting a data centre partner. While there are many to choose from, not all are equal when it comes to quality, efficiency and security. Because a relationship with a data centre partner can be for an extended period of time, it's important to be as informed as possible and have peace of mind before any contracts are signed.
While endorsements from existing customers are one source of guidance, one of the best ways to evaluate a potential data centre provider is through its certifications. Industry certifications provide a recognised standard benchmark, allowing the direct comparison of different operators.
In the data centre space, certifications cover a range of critical factors including energy efficiency, facility quality and security. Operators must go through rigourous cheques and meet strict criteria before these certifications are awarded.
As an example, Digital Realty’s Singapore data centre has just received a Green Mark Platinum certification from theBuilding and Construction Authority and Infocomm Development Authority. It's the first time a colocation data centre in Singapore has been re-certified at the Green Mark Platinum level under the category of "Existing Data Centre". The Green Mark is one of a range of environmental certifications that can be achieved by data centre operators. Other examples include ISO: 14001 and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Each of these certifications is designed to ensure that facility operators focus on the environmental impact of their operations and take on-going steps to minimise such impact.
Another critical element to consider is the reliability of any third-party data centre facility. The Uptime Institute, a recognised certifier of data centre reliability and performance, has devised a series of tiers that give a clear picture of the performance level of each facility. Data centre operators are required to undergo rigourous cheques before being awarded a particular tier status. Factors examined include everything from physical structures to power and cooling capabilities and network links. This allows potential clients to choose an operator within the tier level that best matches their requirements.
A third important factor to consider when choosing a data centre partner is security. Customers are unlikely to trust their critical applications and data to third parties who cannot prove their capabilities in this area. One certification worth checking in this area is the ISO:27001 security certification. This certification can only be achieved after exhaustive reviews of the processes and IT systems installed and used within a data centre. Others to look out for include certifications from organisations such as the PCI Security Standards Council and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).
By carefully reviewing such third-party certifications, potential clients can be sure they are selecting a data centre partner that can provide the standard of facilities they require. They provide thorough and unbiased views on data centre facilities that can be extremely useful when making important decisions about the future direction of your organisation's IT.