Your company has decided that internally hosting all your IT infrastructure is no longer a sustainable long-term strategy, so you may be looking for a colocation data center as an alternative. Perhaps your current data center requires expensive capital upgrades or you have limited space or power. Or you need a Disaster Recovery site to backup and restore your data.
No matter what hurdles you have to overcome, data center moves are complex and you need to consider your options carefully.
So, what’s the first step in finding a new home for your business-critical infrastructure? Sure, price matters (doesn’t it always?), but there’s more you need to consider before making your decision.
Colocation is not a new solution, but there are pros and cons. Yes, public clouds are flexible and scalable, but colocation gives you control, security and can extend your hardware and software’s useful lives. Not all applications can be refactored for movement to the cloud.
The LOCATION in Colocation
Yes, the adage: “location, location, location” applies here too. It’s a primary reason you choose a colocation data center facility. After all, the closer you are to your data center, the less time your IT staff and support technicians must travel to facilitate the move, deploy your IT and manage your infrastructure.
Now, let’s say your environment isn’t as hands-on, then location doesn’t matter as much. In that case, your colocation data center should provide critical services like smart hands and onsite technical support to make managing your IT remotely easier.
Space, Power and Growth
Once you’ve identified a possible colocation provider, then consider space, power and growth.
When looking at space, make sure you have both enough current space to house your equipment as well as contiguous space to shorten network runs between cabinets. Your provider should also be able to power and cool the density of your infrastructure without making you buy unwanted and unused gray space.
Finally, you’ll need enough space to grow within the same building so that you’re not incurring the enormous expense to move again in the near future.
It’s the Network!
The final major qualifier is the network. Ask these important questions:
Now that you’ve short-listed your colocation data center providers based on location, power, space and network, it’s time to dig deeper. Colocation contracts typically run from three to five years which means you’ll have to invest in moving, so make sure it’s worth your while long term.
You Need Power
Your data center MUST provide secure, reliable power. It’s that simple. Perform your due diligence and see how your candidate providers have designed, implemented and maintained their power/cooling design and physical security.
Use the Uptime Institute’s Tier Classification System to evaluate each data center’s infrastructure and how design decisions affect availability. Keep in mind that while you may want a Tier IV rating, it will come at a cost.
OPERATIONS Questions to Ask Your Colocation Provider
Here is a list of questions you can ask your data center candidates to gain a deeper understanding of their operations.
SECURITY Questions to Ask Your Colocation Provider
You should expect at least a basic physical security level. Here are some things to look for:
Visit Your Colocation Facility
It may seem obvious but take the data center tour. When you go beyond their sales pitch and learn first-hand, you’ll discover what it’s like to check in, access the man traps, etc. You’ll see how clean the facility is and how the staff presents themselves.
They can tell you all day long what you want to hear but seeing is believing.
Data centers are evolving beyond just power, space and connectivity. Businesses looking to move infrastructure off their premise need several options so here are a few more questions to consider before making your final decision:
When the demands on IT services grow, it puts pressure on budgets and resources keeping your business from expanding. Today’s modern data centers provide more services and options than ever. But, when you partner with the right local data center provider that takes the time to understand your business and its challenges, you get solutions that help your business grow faster.