Home Insight The value of out-of-city data centres to London's VFX industry

Soho and the rest of Central London are difficult places to be right now; rent has been increasing for years, and now Covid-19 makes public transport something we should be avoiding when we can. This month we have once again been told to work from home if we can, so the VFX industry will, like many others, need to continue working remotely. Moving your computer systems into a data centre can make remote work easier, but moving into a London based data centre doesn’t solve any of London’s issues, and this is where out-of-city (OOC) data centres become incredibly valuable.

[Read why VFX work can and should be done from home]

Crowded London street, no social distancing

An OOC data centre is based in a less densely populated area. However, this doesn’t mean they’re in the middle of nowhere, and a well-located data centre could upgrade your IT and solve your London problems, all without having to relocate your business which has long been established in production hubs like Soho and other parts of central London.

An out-of-city data centre has the potential to help with your infrastructure costs, accessibility and connectivity compared to a London data centre.

Cost

Rent in London has been rising consistently for years now, so there are significant savings to be made by moving your computer systems out of your Soho office and downsizing it or getting rid of it completely.

And while it would help with your IT problems, moving your computer system into a London data centre means you’ll still be paying London prices for space. This is part of why OOC data centres are such good value, as they are setup in areas where space is less of a premium and can offer more competitive rates on rack space compared to London and other inner-city data centres.

You don’t have to go too far for these competitive prices; there are plenty of data centres that are outside of London but well connected to it.

Accessibility

The Government has again issued the guidance that if you can work from home, you should, so your London office will be sitting empty for a few more months, at least. On top of that, there’s a lot of reasons people don’t want to go into London in particular, which won't go away even when socially-distant offices are allowed again:

  • London has a high density of people
  • You're reliant on public transport to get around
  • Lifts are impractical if your office is on a high floor of a building

As the VFX industry continues to find smart solutions to effective home working, you might even be considering a longer-term remote strategy. The very nature of the industry relies on top-notch technology and computer systems, and your engineers will still need to be maintaining your IT to make sure it remains operational 24/7 and you can meet your deadlines.

Moving to a data centre will upgrade the infrastructure around your computer system, providing advanced redundancies and reducing downtime. Remote hands services will also reduce the number of visits your engineers need to make to perform routine maintenance.

Remote Hands Service is when a data centre's engineer performs maintenance on your system on your behalf, meaning no one has to visit the data centre.

However, using a London data centre means that your engineers are still coming to the city when they need to make necessary trips.

Hosting your system in an OOC data centre means your engineers can easily drive there, conveniently bringing all of the equipment and hardware they need, while staying isolated. You can be sure you'll find data centres in the south-east of England, or elsewhere, which are close enough to London that your current engineers will be able to drive to them, especially with proximity to the M25.

Connectivity

If you’ve read the blog this far you might be wondering:

Why would anyone work with a London based data centre?

And the answer is that, historically, proximity to internet exchanges meant that London data centres could offer superior connectivity compared to other data centres. But networks have been upgraded and technology has improved over the years, and this latency advantage is a thing of the past.

You will be able to find data centres all over the country that can provide you with gigabit connectivity, capable of uploading the huge amounts of data that VFX houses need to send internationally. Additionally, your employees’ ability to remotely connect to your systems has never be more important in this new era of remote working, and a data centre located anywhere can now provide you with fast connections that facilitates smooth working from home.

This all means London data centres don't have the advantages they used to and, with the complication of Covid-19, working with a data centre outside of London will likely be the best way to host your computer system to avoid pandemic related disruptions.

Use a data centre that’s the best of both worlds

Hosting your computer system in a data centre will increase your security, decrease your downtime, and give you access to advice and support from experienced technical engineers. And now that working from home has been proven possible for the VFX industry, it makes sense to begin migrating your computer systems into a data centre.

With its historic base in Soho, if you're part of the VFX industry you might want to keep your entire business, including your computer systems, within London, but this doesn’t solve a lot of the problems that being based in London is currently causing.

Out-of-city data centres reduce your costs and are easy to access, even during a pandemic, and they offer the same high level of resiliency and connectivity for your computer system. If you’re interested in working with award-winning data centres in the south-east of England, get in touch.

Data centre migration checklist