Opinion: The inverted pyramid of IT infrastructure

By Nick Razey, CEO, Next Generation Data

If we ever lose a bid for a data centre contract, it is for one of two reasons.

Either the customer insists on being close to London and is happy to pay the premium for doing so, or the customer is obsessed by paying the lowest possible price and will accept any quality of data centre service to achieve this. While I struggle to understand both points of view it is the latter approach which is totally incomprehensible in the modern world.

I see the IT infrastructure as an inverted pyramid. At the bottom is the cheapest element, the data centre service.

It is staggering to think that the cost of this per rack (at NGD at least) is only £20 per day or less. That £20 rack supports perhaps £50k to £100k of hardware and software (the next layer of the pyramid), which support multiple business applications that provide the business systems and processes which are fundamental to the efficient running of a business worth millions (the top level of the pyramid).

It’s staggering to think a £20 rack supports perhaps £50k to £100k of software

That’s an awful lot of trust to place in a service costing £20 per day. But responsible operators like NGD (and to be fair, most of the London DCs) offer a service that IS trustworthy. A well designed and built Tier 3 infrastructure, properly maintained with ISO approved processes and highly trained staff will ensure that outages are vanishingly rare.

However, some customers are so focused on price that they will seek out the cheap and nasty data centre – the N+0 infrastructure with zero security and technical support 9 to 5 rather than 24/7.

With a service of this quality it is a question of when it fails not if it fails. And when the data centre fails, the whole IT pyramid will come crashing down with the attendant loss of revenue and reputation.

All to save a few pounds per day.

Picture credit: YoNoSoyTu