Scotland's Digital Future: Data Hosting and Data Centre Strategy for the Scottish Public Sector

The data hosting and data centre strategy sets the vision that Scotland’s public sector data hosting is cost-effective, carbon neutral and makes appropriate use of cloud technology, for the delivery of efficient and highly available ICT services.

Annex G - Co-Location Service Model for the public sector

Service Model Advantages Disadvantages Exemplar
Co-Location Co-location hosting allows a business to still own their own server equipment; however, instead of storing it in their own data centre, they instead are able to store it in rented space in a colocation hosting centre. This facility provides the infrastructure to run an ICT service where it typically provides, the building, power, UPS, air conditioning, fire detection prevention and suppression, monitoring and alerting, security and network connectivity. The client organisation will provide their own servers, racks, power distribution unit and ICT resource to manage the server.
  • greater amount of bandwidth is available
  • no large capital expense that you would need for a new data centre facility or expansion, or renovation of an existing facility
  • your server is stored in a secure location
  • greener ICT - organisations can reduce their carbon footprints as number of individual data centres is reduced
  • ICT staff can be focussed on service delivery and not side-lined by maintenance
  • organisations can quickly meet increase in demand by renting additional rack space
  • 24 hour technical support in the event of outage problems
  • optimised connectivity to ensure network availability by dealing with congestion and other problems in real time
  • full 24/7 CCTV, motion detectors, fire protection etc.
  • secure controlled access to the server room reducing risk of malicious interference
  • initial start-up costs can be high
  • organisations must purchase their own equipment locating to a co-lo data centre near an organisations main location could be difficult
  • maintenance to server must be performed off-site at data centre location
  • time restrictions at data centre might make access for maintenance less convenient
  • organisations are still responsible for maintaining their own servers
  • organisations still need to employ skilled ICT staff scalability can be problematic as it can be difficult to scale down if locked into time-bound contracts
  • security can also be a drawback as there can be privacy issues with data being kept off site
  • risk management may also be an issue - what happens if the provider goes out of business?
  • host is not carrier neutral then connectivity from some telecommunications carriers may not be supported
  • understanding connectivity and usage charges - If faster response rates are required client costs may increase to facilitate faster data transfer
Scottish Prison Services ( SPS) Scottish Prison Services had an ageing internal ICT facility and an unreliable expensive offsite disaster recovery function all of which created a number of risks for the organisation in terms of continuity and operations. The nature of the organisation and the sensitivity of their data was the driver to implementing a co-location model as it also avoided the cost of upgrading the existing environment and power consumption estimated at £20m. The solution was to host their primary facility at the Scottish Government data centre at Saughton House and their secondary facility at South Lanarkshire Council's data centre in Hamilton. The solution reused services that were already in existence in terms of infrastructure (cooling, fire suppression systems, power etc.), security and monitoring and allowed SPS to concentrate their resources on the virtualisation of their server estate to further reduce their costs on hardware, power and licence requirements. The new architecture has also allowed the secondary site to provide more live services such as an additional live internet link and also to have fewer single points of failure and a higher status in terms of national emergency as they are now a critical facility.


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