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When you’re choosing a provider to house your applications and data, you’ll need to decide where you want your that data center to be located. In this post, we’ll review a few considerations many organizations contemplate when making a decision about data center location.

A data center near your IT team

Business leaders often prefer a site close to the home office or wherever their existing IT team sits. The logic makes sense. They want to be able to keep an eye on things and, if using a third-party provider, to be able to meet with their vendor’s representatives face-to-face as needed.

However, choosing a data center in the same neighborhood, city, or even region of the country can impact unplanned downtime as an event such as a power outage can easily affect a large swath of a city. Almost a third (31%) of all businesses surveyed by the Uptime Institute experienced downtime or a severe degradation in service over the past year.  For outages that affected the entire data center, these businesses were down for an average of 130 minutes.

The cost of even an hour of downtime can be tremendous for today’s technology and data dependent businesses. According to a survey conducted by the ITIC, 98% of businesses with over 1000 employees said their cost per hour of downtime was greater than $100,000, and 81% put that figure at more than $300,000.

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A data center in another region

To minimize unplanned downtime, some experts recommend housing mission-critical workloads in data centers in a separate geography, preferably one that is less prone to disaster.

While that’s sound advice to some extent, there is, unfortunately, no area of the country that is disaster-free. The Midwest is often seen as a preferred location, but while it may not have California’s wildfires or the Gulf and East Coasts’ hurricanes, it still has its disasters. Roughly 10,000 severe thunderstorms with damaging winds hit the Central US every year, and lightning strikes are a major cause of power outages.

It can seem to be a no-win situation. Choose a data center location close to home and you run the risk of your entire operation going down should you be hit with a regional disaster. On the other hand, choosing a data center located in another city or region requires a great deal of trust as you’re putting your data and applications in the hands of someone you can’t look in the eye on a daily basis.

>>Also Read: 8 Must-Have Physical Data Center Security Features

A data center closer to end users

There are also benefits of having your data center closer to your end users. Dominic Romeo, Senior Product Manager at TierPoint, says, “I almost always advise clients to choose a data center as close to their end users as possible even if that means they have to spread workloads across data centers. Shorter distances and less traffic can have a dramatic effect on latency. For example, if I put my data center in New York, my New York users are going to be happy, but my Denver users are going to hate me. It’s nothing to do with the server itself. It’s just that physical distance from the servers to the user. Physical distance is the number one contributor to latency, and latency is at least a primary contributor to what the average user thinks of as ‘performance.’

“When you’re inside a 50-mile radius, latencies get really, really low. The time it takes for the end user to send a command to the server and for the server to come back with a response are in the neighborhood of single-digit milliseconds versus double- or triple-digit milliseconds of round-trip time. That can have a tremendous impact on productivity and the customer experience.”

Have a disaster recovery plan no matter where your data center is located

According to Romeo, a solid disaster recovery plan is essential no matter where you choose to house your workloads. He advises carefully considering your recovery objectives for each workload and then working with a managed service provider to determine the best strategy for meeting these objectives.

As for the trust factor, Romeo agrees that it can be a scary proposition to move your data and applications outside of your own data center. “Choosing a data center provider to house the lifeblood of your business is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make, but when you take the time to do the proper due diligence, it can also be one of the best.”

More on TierPoint data centers

At TierPoint, we have a national, geographically diversified data center footprint and the expertise to help you determine the best location for your business data and applications. Learn more about our network of data centers. Want to see one in person? Schedule a data center tour today.

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