As organisations do more of their business and host more of their core applications in the cloud, the data centre will have to be considered as vital to businesses.

That’s what Domininic Phillips, the managing director of data centre provider, Datum, told delegates at Data Centre World in February. In a presentation called ‘The data centre of the present is not the data centre of the future’ he called for a change in attitude and practice when it comes to the supporting business critical data.

“Organisations have to consider data centres as more than a temperature-controlled outhouse,” he said. “They have to seriously consider whether their data centre of choice provides an environment for their infrastructure that is as safe, as resilient, as connected and as well managed as their business demands. Downtime is serious for any business – and a poor choice of data centre will certainly show up when things start to go wrong.”

He argued that the data centre should not be considered a commodity item. “Buyers who continue to focus their buying decision on price alone could live to regret their choice” he says.

He told the conference that the data centre of 2014 and beyond has to be equipped to minimise all risks, and managed to remove uncertainty. “It will no longer be sufficient to pay lip service to the basic considerations of a data centre. Providers will need to demonstrate to buyers that they can truly deliver on the fundamentals of security, resilience and connectivity”.

He listed five key items to consider. “The location: a controlled environment is critical, both inside and outside the data centre and its grounds, which means that the data centre has to be in the right place. Service: do you know who you need to call – and do they know who you are? If something does go wrong, you need someone to help you right when you need it, not when they get round to it.

“Ecosystems: data centres should provide a meeting place, with direct connectivity, for service providers and businesses who want to speed their journey to cloud; and Stakeholder concerns: when IT managers select a data centre, they will not be the only people interested in the choices made. Clients, compliance organisations, the market, the board will all be increasingly interested in whether the data centre is environmentally efficient, sufficiently resilient, secure and properly managed with the ability to pre-empt problems and deal with any issues that might arise.”