Colocation data centers are the ideal hosting solution for organizations that don’t have the resources — or desire — to build and maintain their own data center. Colocation offers flexibility, redundancy, a high level of security and cost savings.
But with the widespread adoption of cloud infrastructures, edge computing and remote work, data centers are seeing a huge increase in capacity demand, which puts even minor latency issues in the spotlight.
Today’s end users expect near-100% availability 100% of the time. Even a small lag in response time can cost you customers. With this level of pressure to perform, it’s important to understand what causes latency issues, how latency issues impact business, and how to find and fix latency issues in your colocation facility.
Main Sources of Colocation Latency Issues
Historically, people were the leading cause of data center latency issues. As recently as 2019, Uptime Institute reported that 70-75% of data center failures were due to human error.
But as more processes are automated and AI becomes more prevalent, there are fewer opportunities for data center employees to make mistakes that lead to an outage.
These days, power failures are the leading cause of data center outages. According to the 2020 Uptime Institute data center survey, 37% of major outages were caused by on-site power problems.
Downtime can potentially cost colocation tenants millions of dollars for every minute their servers are unavailable. And that doesn’t even factor in the cost of lost productivity, reputational damage, and data loss.
Incorporating an uninterruptible power source (UPS) into your colocation facility’s design provides a safety net against unplanned outages and latency issues.
The Direct and Indirect Costs of Latency Issues
Colocation tenants bear the brunt of costs associated with data center latency issues, because their applications and services are client facing. And those costs can be significant. The Ponemon Institute found that network downtime can cost small and midsize businesses between $8,000 and $74,000 per hour, depending on its reliance on technology.
Although it’s possible to assign a dollar amount to some of the impacts of latency issues, such as lost sales and revenue, there are other intangible costs that can be just as damaging to a company’s bottom line.
For example, many consumers have an extremely low tolerance for slow applications, so even a few spins of the wheel can send them running to a competitor. Similarly, reputational damage can affect a business’s standing in the marketplace, which will impact new customer growth and, by extension, revenue.
While end users don’t necessarily know that the latency problem lies within the data center, the tenants do. When tenants lose business and revenue because of latency issues, colocation facility owners can expect to be hit with Service Level Agreement (SLA) penalties and reputational problems of their own.
Facility Managers’ Fixes for Latency Issues
The best cure for latency issues is never to have them in the first place. Prevention is key to maintaining high availability, and these days, availability is everything.
One of the best ways to get ahead of latency problems is to hire a third-party company to conduct an assessment of your current processes and technology. After a comprehensive review, the service provider can either fix the high-risk areas or offer suggestions for improvement.
Another way to mitigate latency risks is by applying artificial intelligence technology. AI is transforming today’s IT, as it plays a role in everything from cybersecurity, software deployment, predictive maintenance and more.
AI’s predictive maintenance capabilities are helping eliminate the human factor in latency problems. Predictive maintenance identifies potential issues before they become real issues. In some cases, AI can even initiate self-healing processes, so issues are recognized and repaired with no human intervention.
Modular Colocation’s Roles in Latency Issues
When it comes to latency, modular colocation centers have a number of advantages over stick-built facilities.
Modular data center construction reduces latency by design. Because they are manufactured in a factory, not built on-site, there are fewer failure mechanisms to worry about.
Every modular data center is constructed in a controlled environment, following standard protocols and manufacturing best practices. Because the facility is delivered ready to deploy, there are no field issues, no delays and little chance for surprises that could affect availability.
Due to the scalability and flexibility it imparts, modular construction is also popular for building edge data centers, a market that is expected to reach $13.5 billion globally by 2024.
The beauty of building geo-distributed modular facilities is that they spread out and mitigate the risk. While the massive data centers are at the mercy of their environments, including power source, climate, weather patterns, etc., modular edge data centers can be placed anywhere. So each small facility could potentially use a different power source, or be located in regions with different climate and weather considerations, reducing the risk of disruption due to a natural disaster.
Today’s users demand fast, reliable 24/7 access to their applications and services. While service providers are in the hot zone when it comes to keeping customers satisfied, in reality, the onus is on the data center to reduce latency and maintain high availability.
There are a lot of factors at play to ensure maximum uptime for your colocation tenants, which means you can’t leave building or expanding your facility to chance. Download Selecting the Right Partner for Your Modular Data Center to find out what to look for in a modular construction partner and how to find the right fit for your next project.