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Here's the thing. Upper management would like to move our servers (domain controllers, file servers, accounting, payroll, the whole she-bang) to another building at least 15 minutes away. Not sure what the reason for the move is, as we'll have to pay to rent the space in the new building. The new room is just as secure as the current room. What are the pros/cons of having the servers at a remote location? Trying hard to keep the servers with us.

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Depends on the connection bandwidth and the frequency with which you need to physically access the machines. –  Orbling Feb 18 '11 at 2:38
    
@Orbling: it's not about bandwidth, it's the latency what kills you. –  Javier Feb 18 '11 at 2:40
    
@Javier: Yes, I should have just left the word bandwidth out and stuck with plain connection. –  Orbling Feb 18 '11 at 2:48
    
We would have to travel daily in order to swap backup tapes (one of our backup servers does not have a loader). –  Calvin Sy Feb 18 '11 at 3:00
    
Just guessing here but could it be that the space in the current building is more highly valued for humans and the company needs the space currently occupied by your server room? –  John Gardeniers Feb 18 '11 at 4:37
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Moving your critical systems off-site and into a managed datacentre is a good thing. Reasons include:

  1. Security. The DC we lease from have freaking bullet-proof glass at reception, two-stage authentication to get into the DC and have an airlock-style system. They employ full time, 24/7 security guards that actually scrutinise your ID every single time. All of this is a good thing, even though it means having to submit visitors lists 48 hours in advanced for contractors.
  2. They have more bandwidth than you do. Unless you have multiple 10Gb inbound links into your office, you can't compete with a proper DC. Ever.
  3. They have better internet redundancy than you do. See previous point.
  4. They probably have better power redunandcy than you do.
  5. Disaster recovery. What happens if your building is hit by a meteor? This way your financial data is safer. Of course, the same could happen vice-versa, but then your accountants will still be alive and chances are they can re-construct the important bits. You do have backups, right?
  6. 15 minutes is not too far. They may be able to give you a fibre tail that drops right into your rack to keep latency at a bare minimum.
  7. It gives you an excuse to get out of the office every now and again.

Now, all that said, you didn't actually mention if you're moving into a managed DC or not, so that's all conjecture.

And it doesn't really make sense to move file servers over unless you can get a 1Gb or higher link into the DC, unless you still keep local copies and replicate them with say DRDB or DFS.

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That's what puzzled me; it wasn't clear that the new DC was managed. Just that it was a new building away from the office. And did you mean Fiber and not Fibre? –  Wesley Feb 18 '11 at 2:54
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@Wesley, no, I meant fibre. Both spellings are valid based on geography –  Mark Henderson Feb 18 '11 at 2:55
    
Good points. The building is not an enterprise level DC. It's staffed by at minimum one person during the night shift. Bandwidth should not be an issue since we have fiber in between buildings with 1Gb links internally. Backups are stored offsite with a storage agency (although they are only delivered out monthly). Power redundancy would be great, but over the past 5 years, they building has had planned power outages whereas our building has had none. –  Calvin Sy Feb 18 '11 at 2:57
    
Still hard to comment with the limited info available. Mark Henderson's points are all totally legit if the facility is a real data center but we don't know...and we don't know what the facility in your building is like. So we're all left to wonder. –  icky3000 Feb 18 '11 at 4:58
    
@Mark Well sheep dip me and call me Dolly. I didn't know that fibre was also a British variant of fiber. Fie on they who named Fibre Channel. FIE!! –  Wesley Feb 18 '11 at 7:17
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Cons:

  • You have to spend more money for monitoring devices in the remote location. (cameras, mostly) You must then manage them, although APC makes some nice stuff for that.
  • You must spend more money for lights-out management cards to physically manage the servers remotely
  • Travelling to physically maintain the devices.

Pros:

  • If it's true that the new building has no better facilities, then there are none, with the possible exception of...
  • If your building burns down, the servers are safe.

Isn't there any more to this decision? Management has a bad reputation in many places, but very few are willing to make a decision that costs so much money for no reason at all.

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I don't really know the reason behind management's decision. We are moving to a temporary building for two years while our current building is being rebuilt. Aside from saving money not building a secure server room I just don't know. –  Calvin Sy Feb 18 '11 at 3:03
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