What to Consider When Choosing a Data Center or Colocation Provider
For some companies, storing and managing data on-site is either not feasible or not cost-effective. If this is the situation your company is in, you need to decide what sort of data center would best suit your company. Do you need an all-in-one data center that has the servers, storage, and connectivity you require? Or do you need a colocation data center solely to take care of equipment you own? Either way, you have a lot to consider before you can decide where to house your business’s all-important data.
Independent Data Center or Colocation Data Center?
An independent data center, or one that has its own hardware and operations, is an option that some businesses may want to look into, especially if they do not have the means to get their own equipment. However, the biggest issue regarding whether or not to go for an independent data center is hardware. Many data centers that exist today were created in the 1990s, back when 16 MB of RAM was impressive. Now, we’re looking at 16 GB as “not bad,” while some computers even have 32 GB of RAM. And these are home computers. If you’re considering going with a data center, make sure that they are up-to-date on their hardware, or else you risk your business trying to run on servers that are older than most college students.
A colocation data center is a space for businesses to rent for their servers and computing hardware. If you have the hardware or can get it yourself, you may want to look into a colocation data center. The colocation data center provides the building, cooling system, power, bandwidth, and physical security of the facility, while the business only has to worry about the hardware that is stored there. Some colocation data centers also offer managed services, so it is wise to ask if the facility you are interested in provides these services if you need them.
Regardless of what type of data center you choose, you need to do your research and ask the right questions before you move in because moving out before your contract is up can be more costly than the initial investment.
Choosing a Data Center or Colocation Provider
When choosing a data center or colocation provider, you need to consider several factors, but it all boils down to three major points: the building, the connectivity, and the company.
Even if the purpose of your data center or colocation provider is to help your business in the digital space, the physical facility in which it operates is vital to how helpful it will be for your company’s data. Consider the following when considering what sort of building potential data centers and colocation providers operate from:
- • Location: How far is it from your company’s physical location? Can you get to it if something goes wrong? Will the distance increase your networking costs beyond efficiency? Is the location susceptible to natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes?
- • Space: Bigger isn’t always better. Less square footage can reduce your operating costs. Does the independent or colocation data center have the space management to allow for more equipment in a smaller space without hindering efficiency? Is it better in terms of space usage than other data centers you are considering?
- • Power and Cooling: This is absolutely crucial. Does the data center have the power capacity you need? Does it have easy access to power? Is there a history of outages in the area? Does it have an adequate cooling system?
- • Security: Your data needs to be secure digitally and physically. Does the data center or colocation data center have a multi-level security system? What perimeter and external areas are covered by cameras? What are the access control protocols? Do they use internal or outsourced security?
If you can’t connect to a data center or colocation provider and stay connected, what’s the point of your data being there in the first place? To determine the quality of the connectivity with a data center or colocation data center, consider these important questions:
- • Reliability: Your business can’t afford to face delays due to downtime. Does the data center or colocation provider offer five 9s uptime, meaning 99.999%? What kind of certifications do they have? Does their customer feedback reflect such reliability? Do they have on-site support in case there is a problem?
- • Redundancy: Is the data center or colocation provider carrier-neutral, or can they fall back on other carriers if one goes down? What if power or cooling goes out? Can they turn on auxiliary power or cooling systems in order to keep equipment running safely?
- • Disaster Recovery: Does the colocation data center or independent data center have a disaster recovery plan? How quickly can they detect, declare, and repair after a disaster such as a fire or a flood?
- • Business Continuity: This all ties into how your business keeps running in the event of a power outage or other shutdown event. Can the data center keep your digital operations running?
Knowing the details behind the company that runs your data center and the contracts that bind you to them are crucial when choosing a data center. You need to understand how this company will help your business through the duration of your contract and how they adjust.
- • Compliance: Are they Uptime-certified? Can you verify their certification? What other certifications does the company have? Are they SSAE 16 compliant? Will the data center or colocation provider support 3rd party audits if necessary and at no additional cost?
- • Flexibility: What levels of flexibility are available in the SLAs? Do they offer customized solutions? How much extra space do they have available? What about scalability?
- • Scalability: If you need to downsize or expand your company, your servers should reflect that change. Does the data center or colocation provider allow for scalability in the contract? Can they handle the future needs of your company?
- • Stability: How long has the company been there? Are they financially secure? You don’t want to invest in a data center or colocation provider that won’t be there in a year or two.
- • Additional Services: How much management does the company offer? Can they offer other services your company needs such as cloud computing or data backup? Do they do so at no or little additional cost?
If you are still unsure of how to choose a data center or colocation provider, or if you feel that you want to house a data center on site, contact the experts at Customer 1st Communications. At C1C, we have the knowledge, experience, and expertise to help you make the right choice for your business.
In addition, we can help you relocate, manage, and upgrade your servers whether they are located in-house or in an off-site colocation data center. Call (855) TECH-C1C (855-832-4212) or fill out this short online form to schedule your FREE consultation today!