Why data centre location is important – Cost, travel time and latency

Cost, security, reliability – there are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a managed data centre partner. You might be looking for a data centre that prioritises sustainability, one that offers Gigabit internet, or maybe just making your choice based on a recommendation. But have you factored in location?

We’re all so used to zipping files across to Australia in the blink of an eye, and having near-seamless conversations with colleagues in the US, that the idea that it matters where your infrastructure is physically located might feel a bit absurd. But believe me, there are times when deciding where to host your IT infrastructure does matter.

Are you paying a premium for location?

You’re already factoring in the cost of managed infrastructure provision, but have you considered how location might add a premium to prices? Urban data centres have to pay higher rates than those located outside of city centres, and of course they have to pass these costs on to their customers. While historically it was true to say that the best connectivity was available in the big city, thanks to proximity to internet exchange points, these days the same limitations don’t apply – so there’s no need to pay those big city costs if you can avoid it.

Data centres outside of city centres give you the option to choose a managed infrastructure partner closer to your home or office. These data centres also have lower costs for land and can offer lower rack rates, making hosting your IT infrastructure more affordable.

Minimise travel time

It’s important to remember that the IT infrastructure you are migrating to a data centre still belongs to you. While most data centres will be able to help out with Remote Hands support, your engineers will still need to visit the site fairly regularly. Therefore, it is sensible to choose a data centre reasonably close to your offices to reduce the travel time – and related costs – involved with looking after your hardware.

Remote hands is a service where data centre engineers perform maintenance, repairs or deploy new hardware on your behalf. It’s incredibly useful but can’t always be a replacement for your IT team personally visiting the data centre.

This becomes even more important if one of your servers goes down. Every minute spent travelling is an extra minute of downtime, which is money lost. You don’t want to be stuck in stop-start traffic on a long journey under that kind of pressure. Opting for a data centre that is closer to your office – or at least to your engineers – makes it easier for them to respond in the event of an emergency.


There are two considerations to make here. The first is how close the data centre is to large internet switches, which affects the speed of your connection. The second is how close the data centre is to the people accessing your IT infrastructure – you and your customers.

Latency has an impact whenever you issue a command and wait for the server to respond: opening a file, navigating through a webpage, placing an order, etc.

If the response is too slow, your employees will get frustrated and your customers will go elsewhere.

The good news is that high-speed internet and the roll-out of 5G makes proximity to internet exchanges less of a factor than it once was. But proximity to the user is still important, since even delays of milliseconds can have a long-term productivity cost. Choosing a data centre that is relatively nearby limits the distance that data has to travel, and thus minimises latency.

Some of our locations in Surrey and Gatwick

Whether you are based in London or anywhere in the South-East of England, our data centres will be easy to access for you. Our edge data centres (data centres situated away from internet exchanges) can provide you with gigabit connectivity, so proximity to an internet exchange is no longer the important factor it used to be.

Our Surrey data centre is:

  • Close to the M25 for easy driving access from London or other business hubs in the South-East.
  • Within a short walk of a train station on a direct line to Waterloo, so the journey from London for clients is only 45 minutes.
  • Near Heathrow airport, making us a well-placed partner for international businesses.

And our Gatwick data centre (in Crawley) is:

  • Just off the M23 to also have easy driving access.
  • Inside the Manor Royal Business Improvement District with a wide variety of businesses nearby.
  • Close to Gatwick airport, convenient for international businesses.

To discover our other 7 UK data centre locations, view our interactive data centre map.

Living on the edge

Location is one of the important factors to consider when choosing a data centre partner, but remember it’s not the only factor. Staying close to your IT infrastructure ensures speedy troubleshooting and maintenance, as well as a quick connection. And thanks to the rise of Edge Data Centres, you have more options than ever without having to look to pricey urban centres.

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