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— Blog

Making a Data Center Decision

August 25, 2017

Normal used to be an in-house data center powering the IT capabilities and applications of an enterprise. Everything under one roof. But as networking equipment grew increasingly complex and sophisticated and demanding, and as IT became essential to operations, that all changed. Companies recognize that the expensive space in their corporate headquarters is much better suited to human resources than IT infrastructure, and the result has been a migration to public clouds, as well as a migration to off-site data centers.

This isn’t to say the decision to move data centers off site is easy. And there are multiple ways to initiate the migration. Data centers can be custom built, or bought or leased. They will be big, and they will require massive amounts of reliable connectivity, cooling and power, as well as specialized management. How does an enterprise tackle the problem and make the best choices?

Facing the Music

According to a recent white paper published by Digital Realty, a leading data center provider, there are 11 factors that all data center decision-makers should keep in mind when they’re faced with this choice:

  • Deployment size
  • Equipment needs
  • Timing
  • Connectivity
  • Security and regulations
  • Redundancy and availability
  • Location and distance
  • Scalability
  • Subject matter expertise
  • Environmental considerations
  • Budget (CAPEX and OPEX)

Let’s take a brief look at two of these 11 factors.

Deployment Size

Leasing is a clear option for smaller companies or companies looking for smaller deployments. Cost savings and efficiencies can be considerable. By leasing a facility, a company can leverage common infrastructures they could not otherwise afford.

Larger organizations with larger deployments may need more space than a leased facility can provide – particularly with other tenants on site. They may also have particular concerns about the technologies and equipment utilized within their data center. This makes building or buying the more pragmatic option.


Every option a company considers has its own lead-time, ranging from months to years. So timing – the time it takes -- is everything. In fact, it’s often the primary driving factor behind a company’s decision to build, buy or lease.

Leasing offers the shortest time frame. An enterprise can get up and running more quickly than with the other options. Building has the longest time frame. Depending on size, construction of a data center can take from 12 to 24 months. But it may be worth the time it takes if control and customization is a primary factor.

Buying is often the middle ground. While not as fast as leasing, buying has a shorter time frame than building, while generating some customization and full control.