There is no doubt that in today's highly competitive market that IT infrastructure is at the core of a retailer's ability to operate and if it was to suddenly come to an abrupt stop it could be the end of the line. Amazon went offline for just 40 minutes back in 2013 costing the company a staggering $5 million - they were lucky to be in a strong financial position to cope with the fallout, others unfortunately wouldn't have survived.
An on-premise data centre, provides more agility and control over the IT equipment that manages your data and reduces the risk of unplanned downtime. Space though is often a challenge for the retail sector, due to the lack of it. The solution comes in the form of a Micro Data Centre enabling the housing equipment racks, I.T cabling, power distribution, UPS systems, cooling, environmental monitoring & security, fire suppression and remote management technology all to be contained within a compact and secure space.
Other options include pre-fabricated Mobile & Modular Data Centre solutions which are ideal alternatives to the traditional design and build option. Providing complete flexibility, they deliver a scalable approach to data centre planning and design as well as eliminating the need for traditional 'brick and mortar' buildings. In fact, where access is a challenge this type of data centre architecture reduces deployment time from years and months to weeks and can typically reduce overall capital expenditure by 40%.
Could these be alternative options to putting your data in the Cloud? As many retailers are faced with legacy data rooms, lack of space and an array of mismatched equipment it is easy to look to transfer all your data to the big white fluffy nebulous option but before you do, remember there are alternatives. After all, have you considered how you will control your data from somewhere that is intangible?
With the introduction of GDPR in May 2018 looming and the fact that 25% of businesses plan to invest in big data in the next two years (source: Gartner) can you guarantee the security of your customers' data? Failing to adhere to the new GDPR regulations could fine retailers facing fines of up to 20 million Euros or 4% of global turnover whichever is greater - and it still applies whether we are part of the EU or not.
It's not to say that putting your data in Cloud is the wrong decision but do retailers really understand the risks of storing data in a public domain? According to a report from Intel Security, it found that only 15% of UK respondents believed senior management understand the risks. This statistic leaves the UK having the lowest awareness levels compared to the other participating countries.
We have all heard the saying 'don't put all your eggs in one basket' so maybe the solution exists in a Hybrid data centre infrastructure. Some retailers are choosing to have their own data centre infrastructure as well as utilising colocation providers whilst being on the Cloud too - could this be the solution?
As in-store features continue to be driven by technology and the investment in big data increases retail operations are becoming ever more complex thus requiring the agility and resilience of a robust IT data centre infrastructure. With retail personnel, increasingly being asked to deliver more with less resource, the need to meet critical deployment deadlines without fail and for IT systems to be faultless, agile and robust it may be time to call in the professionals to design the perfect data centre solution to take away your pain.