Brittany Lutke Goldilocks and the Data Center: Which Location is Just Right?

April 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Congratulations!  You’ve been given the task of researching and finding a data center for your company’s IT equipment.  Where do you even start?

Many of the people I talk to feel like Goldilocks.  Don’t remember the story? Goldilocks breaks into the Bears’ house and tries different beds, chairs, and porridge.  Two of the three were too… something.  Hard or soft.  Big or small.  Hot or cold.  She struggled until she found the bed (or chair or porridge) that was just right. Indiana Map

Location makes many IT decision makers feel like Goldilocks.  This data center is too close, and my equipment is at risk.  This data center is too far, and it will be tough to maintain my equipment.  What is the location that is just right?

When making a location decision, ask yourself the following questions.  Your answers will help you select an appropriate location and to determine your distance threshold.

  1. Will the equipment in the data center be focused on production or disaster recovery?
  2. Does your equipment require heavy management?

If your equipment is for disaster recovery, choose a data center at least 50 miles from your production site.  I talk to many CIOs, network administrators, and IT professionals who struggle with this.  It’s tough to imagine your babies (your equipment) so far from you and your attentive care, but I urge you not to be what some call a “server hugger.”  If you need disaster recovery, it’s best to have geographic redundancy.  By nature, disaster recovery is intended to protect you should your first set of equipment were to meet with unforeseen circumstances.  If your data center is too close, your equipment will be at risk, and you’ll have defeated the purpose of having a disaster recovery site.

If your equipment is for production, choose a data center that is accessible for regular maintenance and meets your quality standards.  For production servers, location is a less important criteria.  It is more important to focus on choosing the highest quality data center that meets your needs.

If your equipment requires heavy management, you may believe that a close location is just right.  But with options like remote hands and managed service providers, companies can reap the benefits of geographic redundancy for their high maintenance equipment.  Using additional support for server maintenance allows your organization flexibility and the option to focus on other high priority items.

Selecting a data center location is not an easy task.  Hopefully, after asking yourself these questions, you’ll have selected the geographic location that is just right for your data center.

Still looking for more guidance on how to choose a data center?  Check out the following resources, or feel free to contact me at


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