Official Opening From the Lord Mayor of Birmingham

This week we were privileged to welcome Yvonne Mosquito, Lord Mayor of Birmingham to officially open our custom built data centre in the heart of the city. Lord Mayor Mosquito recognised Athena Vaults vision in driving the technological capabilities of the West Midlands region and in doing so stimulating the regional economy.

Noting the necessity of data security for modern business operations, The Lord Mayor emphasised the opportunity Athena Datacentres provides for businesses wanting full global connectivity and maximum security.

Andy Acton – Athena Vaults CEO stated “We were really pleased that the Lord Mayor recognised our investment into the region, fully understanding our vision to transform availability of technology to businesses in Birmingham and beyond. It was a pleasure to welcome The Lord Mayor and other regional business leaders to our facility and we are immensely proud to support the UKs most aspiring region.”

 

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Athena Open Day

Our inaugural open day on the 20th of March was a definite success. Athena Datacentres were pleased to welcome over 50 attendees, including field leading guest speakers and a wide range of leading industry professionals.

After registration and an initial meet and greet. Our Group CEO Andy Acton began formal proceedings. He explained the foundations upon which Athena Vaults was built, the desire for businesses to obtain digital services from one single provider.

He also explained the core Athena Vaults value of growing business without barriers. In other words, Athena Vaults provides businesses with an ability to fully secure digital assets, while maintaining full accessibility to support their operations. Athena provides businesses with scalable infrastructure, a platform from which to develop.

Next James Wilman, CEO of Future Tech (an organisation of data centre construction experts) explained the tier 3 maintainable standard of the Athena Datacentres facility itself. He emphasised our ability to remove or replace any piece of equipment while maintaining 100% uptime service.

Athena Datacentres strategic partner Wavenet and Director Ali Moshin furthered the commitment of Athena to provide the secure platform for businesses to streamline operations, alongside the highest levels of security and stability.

Those who attended viewed a recorded demo of our Athena Cloud platform and experienced its rapid deployment capability first hand. This included a real time demonstration of server activation in under 90 seconds, one click blueprint environment creation and responsibility safety settings.

Finally, the day ended with an opportunity for industry professionals to network and receive guided tours of our custom built data centre with our colocation experts. If you want to be a part of future events and experience the growth potential of our market leading technologies first hand, then please register your interest below and we will contact you with details of our next event.

Grow your business without barriers.

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How to choose a colocation provider.

Not all data centres are made equally. In fact, the speed in which technological advancements are being made within the data centre marketplace has already made several colocation centres outdated and behind modern demands.

When choosing your data centre, it’s important to view your relationship as a partnership, not just a transactional contract agreement. Get to know your provider and ensure they are able and willing to meet your demands.

Choosing the wrong provider risks the safety of your data, with potential impact the efficiency of your operations and services.  In this blog you will find out what you should be considering when choosing a colocation provider. Identify your business objectives and requirements to ensure you get it right, first time.

Consider the location.

With colocation, the physical location of your data is a lot more important than you may realise.

While you are looking to move your data offsite, it is important to choose a partner who is physically easy to reach by your teams.

Imagine this scenario. Your equipment is performing poorly, or even worse is down. The ability of your team to get to the data facility and rectify software issues in good time can potentially save the costs incurred by downtime or unavailability and the impact this has on your customers.

It is often suggested that your data centre should be no further than 50 or 100 miles from your primary data centre or headquarters. But the reality is that the quicker you are to respond to issues, the better for your business and for your customers.

Some providers now even offer work areas for your teams to remotely work from the data centre without hinderance to your operations. Find out if these are in place and importantly find out if these are secure, private and capable of meeting your demands.

Think about the physical environment.

Another often overlooked point is the security of a colocation provider within their natural environment. While a remote data centre therefore might be safer from human threat, it could potentially be at the mercy of natural threats like flooding.

Limiting yourself to only looking within a pre-defined radius, central to your headquarters does not necessarily limit your choices. On the contrary, where there is one data centre, there are likely to be multiple competitors all within miles of one another all of whom compete on price.

Take confidence in grouping of data centre facilities, it increases the options available to you while ensuring that the physical environment has been recognised by multiple providers as safe to store data. Find out our three top tips for choosing the best data centre.

Is your data centre future proofed?

Ultimately a good colocation partner should be able to flex and scale with your demands. Whether that is an increase or decrease in your requirements.

 When it comes to colocation, more floor space does not mean a better data centre. In choosing a provider, think about your long term goals. Are you looking to move towards high density computing, transitioning to cloud or hoping to simply comply with data security regulation? Most importantly, can your chosen provider support your long term goal?

Colocation technology and the industry as a whole is growing rapidly. The truth is that not many data centres possess the necessary power densities to support incoming technologies.

Currently most clients demand anywhere up to 10kw a cabinet. Many data centres constructed a decade a go when the colocation market began to boom only support an average of 4kw per cabinet.

Choose partner who can prove the measures they have in place to accommodate increasing data demands in 2019. Evidence of this includes:

 

  • Power and cooling investment
  • Modern rack space technologies
  • Live environment monitoring (temperature, humidity and power)

 

Get the best deal on your connectivity and the safety of your data.

Data centres owned by corporations are sometimes limited to a smaller number of telecommunications service providers. If you want to get the best deal possible, identify a carrier neutral colocation provider.

When a data centre is aligned to a specific network communications supplier, you will most likely be penalised financially. Instead of getting the best deal on the market, you will be restricted to the best deal of a single provider.

Neutrality means there will be more options available to provide the connectivity you require and at more competitive price points. But it is also important to weigh up your connectivity with security considerations.

How secure is your data?

Industry standards now mean that multiple levels of security both inside and outside the centre. Make a point of finding out key security measures, such as the areas covered by surveillance technology, visitor access procedures and biometric access restrictions.

The highest quality colocation providers house their servers in near impenetrable physical and digital environments, ensure that you are confident in the capabilities of your provider. Avoid the risk of data breach and the implications this could have for your compliance while maintaining rapid and business critical connectivity.

Look for providers with clear contingency plans to maximise uptime. For example, for how long can a data centre run in the event of power loss? Is there an onsite technical team present 24/7? What measures are in place for optimal cooling?

Think about uptime rates as a key reliability measure. The industry standard currently sits around 9.99999%. Verify this statistic against staff certifications, accreditations and customer reviews.

 

 

 

 

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Data means everything to business. It’s a high value strategic resource collected by corporates, SMEs and AI machines in expansive volumes. It’s also the norm for teams of dedicated analysts to scrutinise and investigate data for cost reduction and income generation.

The pace and bulk of data production is higher than ever before considering its strategic value. But the unfortunate consequence of this is that even the largest corporations are now falling victim to cyber attack and data breach.

When considering connectivity, security, scalability and cost, why is offsite colocation the best colocation solution for your business?

Read on to find out…

Security and stability

Protecting your data is essential, which is why modern data centres implement stringent security measures to keep your data and applications safe. The highest quality colocation providers house client servers in near impenetrable physical and digital environments. With the leading accredited providers boasting biometric scanners, 24/7 onsite security, coded access points, closed circuit cameras and secure firewalls.

For even the smallest businesses, the cost of implementing similar security systems is considerable. By choosing to store your critical infrastructure and applications in dedicated facilities you can take confidence in advanced protection from forms of physical and cyber threats, such as denial of service attacks or IP theft.

An enterprise class data centre will utilise multiple power grids, UPS, backup power generators and have straight maintenance procedures carried out by highly trained onsite staff. These measures ensure clients avoid interruptions to service and applications perform to the highest expectations.

Advantageous connectivity options

If you choose an carrier neutral colocation provider, you can benefit from multiple choices in connectivity providers. Not only do you have more choice, but can benefit from subsequent competitive prices of opposing services. Simply put, carrier neutral colocation providers allow connectivity options that are simply not available in most corporate comms rooms or data centre environments.

You can ensure that the unique and specific connectivity requirements of your business are well met with access to numerous leading Telcos, ISP’s, internet exchanges and hyperscale cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services, Azure and Google Cloud. This in turn allows for hybrid and multi cloud services to be easily deployed.

Not only can you benefit from a more competitive service offering and high bandwidth speeds, but your business can also benefit financially. This is because you don’t have to pay the costs of maintaining advanced IT infrastructure within your own site, allowing your in-house teams to focus on other business requirements.

Reactive scalability

One of the major benefits of using an offsite colocation provider is that you can benefit from options of scalability. Being able to choose the right size infrastructure for your requirements from day one, has distinct advantages in terms of cost savings and budget planning.

In an era in which your computing requirements are ever evolving and where demand can fluctuate, the right provider allows you to effectively scale without costly penalisation. Even if this means removing your data altogether. Alterable capacity removes a need to hire and fire staff within your business as requirements change.

Similarly data centres provide a fast alternative for businesses looking to rapidly expand. In accommodating their growth, it is easier to store data with professional providers than setting up internal infrastructures both financially and pragmatically.

Crucially, once data is deployed externally on private servers, it is not irretrievable. Business can benefit from setting up temporary test or development environments to assess the effectiveness colocation services for their operations. If deemed unnecessary or unsuccessful, full scalability ensures confidence of full data retrieval and removal from colocation providers.

Future-Proofing for a multi cloud world

As businesses embrace Cloud services for more and more business functions, colocation providers become an essential part of a “Hub & Spoke” architecture to manage and deploy a multi-cloud strategy.

With client's infrastructure within their Colocation Data Centre becoming the “Hub” and secure, private connections to multiple cloud providers being the “Spoke”, businesses can gain significant benefits from selecting a colocation provider that can provide the necessary ultra-low latency connectivity options required to deploy such a strategy.

Cost effective investment

Cost savings are clear in utilising outsourced data centres. Businesses are able to benefit from individually tailored colocation services, without directly investing into the costly development of similar infrastructure and staff training on-premise.

Instead they only pay for the equipment environment they use within 3rd party facility such as space, power, bandwidth and support services that house their IT infrastructure.

Unpredictable capital expenditures in maintaining onsite data infrastructure become predictable monthly expenses with data centre services. This allows businesses to more effectively allocate existing IT resources and budget more effectively within their operations.

For more information on how to get the best from data centre and cloud technology, get in touch below...

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Our three top tips for simple data migration.

Globally, businesses are increasingly recognising the ROI on colocation, big data, cloud mobility and security. In the past 5 years alone the growth of the colocation marketplace has been and is predicted to continue exponentially, from £24.1 billion in 2016 to a predicted £42.7 billion in 2020.  

Investment is hardly surprising given Dell’s 2015 Global Technology Adoption Index (GTAI), which states that companies investing in data solutions were seeing up to 53% faster revenue growth than their direct competitors.

But logistically, how easy is it to outsource the storage of your business critical data and applications? This article will highlight the best practice for your business, what to do when your planning to migrate your data and how to ensure minimal downtime.

1. Prepare to plan.
Fail to prepare or prepare to fail. When it comes to migrating your data, preparation is truly the key. Consider assessment of hardware and software you actually need to move, are you still using equipment that no longer serves a critical purpose?

You need 100% visibility of your assets, update your configuration management database and other systems that track your assets. Without doing this you won’t know what infrastructure contains and the challenges you may face.

Most often servers are migrated in batches. To ensure that latency will not become an issue after migration it is important to identify which apps work in conjunction with one another. Plan your migration timelines around avoiding keeping them apart for long periods of time.

For applications where you can’t find a background, the type that have been around for years working independently without update. Relearn how they operate with network tracing tools in the months running up to migration.

In doing all of the above you can create a concise and step by step plan to break down stages, time frames, allowable downtime and customer or department notice requirements.

2. Lose nothing – note down a thorough inventory and test your backups.
While a sizeable undertaking, it pays dividends to keep an up to date record of your complete data environment.  In identifying pre-existing workloads software and system planned backups you will know exactly what will and won’t operate during your migration.

The better your understanding of the source and target, the more efficiently you will be able to efficiently migrate your data from in house to external storage. For your own peace of mind it is good to be sure that data will not become distorted or duplicated when its moved (as can often be the case when new and old environments are using alternative data formats or profiles).

Take a full inventory of your equipment warranty information and serial numbers before physical relocation and ensure you keep enough backups to minimise risk. The best colocation providers will make this process simple and guide you through it. Find out how to choose the best colocation provider for your business.

3. Communication is key.
The migration of your data will have an effect on anybody who uses your applications. Be sure that everybody within your team is aware of their role. In most instances where migration doesn’t go to plan, it is a direct result of poor communication.

There are a number of factors to consider including practical, technical, business and legal issues. Making sure you know who is responsible for each of these areas is key whether that individual sits within your own business or is employed by your colocation provider.

A professional colocation provider will work with you in order to fully understand your plans and requirements. However the more information you can provide to them, the smoother the transition will be. Inform service contractors of your plans for migration and ensure they are compatible with your service package.

This includes the fine details like security clearances for individuals present to assist in migrating data and moving servers all the way up to licencing and contractual obligations. Ensure that you make the most of your colocation provider to ensure that everything is covered in terms of server, storage and software dependencies.

Finally ensure that you are aware of any latency issues or minimised downtime that may occur and inform your customers and employees. This will avoid complaints about the quality of your service and give software users enough notice to avoid service disruptions or productivity barriers.

If you would like to see how tailored colocation solutions could benefit your business, please get in touch below. Feel free to reach out to us on twitter or LinkedIn. What do you think is the most important thing to consider when you migrate data?

 

Want to see how data migration could benefit you?

Find out how Athena can help you by getting in touch below…