The Ins and outs of data center migration
As your organisation grows, inevitably your technology needs to evolve and change too. So, whether you’re a small business on a winning streak, or a non-profit organisation expanding into unfamiliar territory, chances are your IT equipment is expanding, too.
Your once-manageable servers have been steadily taking over your premises, occupying useful space and racking up ever-bigger energy bills. So, what happens when you get to this point? Colocation, or moving into a data center, might be the right way to go.
Large colocation data centers are much more efficient at delivering power to servers and cooling them thanks to their economies of scale. Because they buy power at wholesale rates, they can pass these savings on too. They also eliminate all the costs of maintaining internal server room equipment such as UPSs, generators and air con units, as this is included in the price. Finally, factory and office space, especially in London, is at a premium - by moving into a data center you can free up that space for more productive activities or desk space.
Getting colocation right
Colocation is not only a smart decision, but it’s also a critical one. You may, and quite rightly, have concerns around downtime, security and application performance, as well as the nuts and bolts of what the process actually entails. For migration to go as smoothly and safely as possible, there are several factors that need to be considered.
You really need to do your background and research. Kickstarting your data center migration blindfolded is a big no-no. Take the time to consider how relocating your critical apps, services, and data will affect your business during the migration process, and what you can do to mitigate any risks or temporary disadvantages.
Server downtime is a key consideration. How you approach this depends on the nature of your business. If it simply can’t tolerate any server downtime, you need to safeguard operations with a robust disaster recovery and backup initiative. You could also setup a temporary private or hybrid cloud to keep critical processes running during the migration.
Likewise, if your system-critical apps are moving, consider running a trial migration to ensure ongoing software compatibility (and reducing chances of further downtime). A good data center provider will help you with this and ensure the process goes to plan.
Network configuration is also a factor to take on board. Organisations must decide what needs to be done to ensure that older apps will retain their functionality in cases of incompatibility. Decisions will need to be made on a case by case basis, as some apps may or may not encounter configuration issues in the move from your local area network. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so be sure to investigate the effect migration may have on your mission-critical apps.
This might not be one that comes to mind immediately, but network latency is important, too. Colocation means accessing your data center through a dedicated, high-speed connection. Latency (time lag on the network) shouldn’t be an issue after the migration, but it’s important to consider instances where it may occur during migration.
Jack Bedell-Pearce, Managing Director, 4D Data Centres
China Takes Additional Step to Control Big Tech’s Data
China’s new Data Security Law will take effect on September 1st, allowing the government major control over the collection, use, and transmission of data. Tech companies have grown exponentially in terms of market size and overall power, and the Chinese government has no interest in alternative power hubs—especially those that belong to private enterprise.
With its Thursday legislation, companies will face extravagant fines if they export data outside of China without authorisation. The Chinese government claims that this will create a legal framework and help companies from taking advantage of citizens, but according to analyst Ryan Fedasiuk from Georgetown University’s Centre for Security and Emerging Technology, “China’s push for data privacy...is yet another move to strengthen the role of the government and the party vis-à-vis tech companies.”
How Do Other Countries Approach Data Privacy?
- Europe: The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights assures EU citizens the right to data protection. The bloc’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), passed in May of 2018, put stringent restrictions on commercial data collection.
- Canada: 28 federal, provincial, and territorial laws govern consumer data privacy; DLA Piper ranks the country’s data protection legislation as heavy, in comparison to Russia (medium) and India (limited).
- The United States: As usual, the States doesn’t have a single comprehensive federal law for data privacy. Instead, its lawmakers have passed hundreds of local and state acts, many of which are seen by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
China, in contrast, thinks data should be a national asset and has written data collection into its five-year plan. Although its new legislation will help curtail private access to consumer data, the government may be the final beneficiary.
What Will China Do With the Data?
According to advisors, consumer data can mitigate financial crises and viral outbreaks. It can protect the interest of national security—no surprise—and help the government with criminal surveillance. Right now, Chinese regulators have summoned 13 major tech firms, including Tencent, JD.com, Meituan, and ByteDance, to meet with China’s central bank. Communist Party Chief President Xi Jinping can shut down any companies found violating the new privacy laws, as well as hit them with a fine of up to 10 million yuan—US$1.6mn.
How Will Laws Affect Foreign Firms?
Now, foreign firms must store data on Chinese soil, a practice that many companies protest will infringe on their proprietary data. So far, Tesla will comply: in late May, the electric car manufacturer promised to build more Chinese factories and keep the resulting information within Chinese borders. In fact, businesses hoping to start China-based businesses—such as Citigroup and BlackRock—will have to comply with the “data-localisation laws”.
The Chinese government has framed data as a critical source of intelligence for the party and central government. “You have the most sufficient data, then you can make the most objective and accurate analyses”, Mr Xi told Tencent’s founder, Mr Ma. “The...suggestions to the government in this regard are very valuable”.
Greater digital control is coming, that’s for sure. Mr Xi has named big data as an essential part of China’s economy, right up there with land and labour. “Whoever controls data will have the initiative”.