Colocation data centre providers always like to accentuate what makes them different – and in their view better – than the rest. It’s a busy market out there with stiff competition, so this approach should come as no surprise. However, for the customer, wading through the marketing hype, Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) ratings, uptime reports and sustainability credentials can be a minefield.   

The fact is that no two data centres are the same, so assessing what’s on offer can feel like a case of comparing apples and oranges. As difficult as the process may be it has to be done, so in order to help sort out the good, the bad and the ugly, Question Time’s panel of experts have been asked to come up with the five key questions that an organisation should ask when selecting a colocation facility and explain why the answers are so important.   

One of the areas identified is energy use and management and in this month’s issue we have a special feature dedicated to this subject. John Booth of Carbon3IT explains why, in light of rising energy costs, the onus is on data centre owners and managers to reduce their energy consumption, while James Hart of BCS looks at why power is an ongoing challenge for data centres.   

We also have a special feature dedicated to copper cabling standards, comprising two excellent articles. In the first, James Withey, liaison officer between IEEE 802.3 and ISO/IEC SC25 WG3, offers some helpful advice regarding how to keep up with the constantly evolving ecosystem of standards. In the second, I interview Valerie Maguire to find out more about her work in the development of cabling standards and some of the notable events she has witnessed.       

Rob Shepherd