If you are new to colocation, you might be wondering just how you’re supposed to choose a colocation data center. On the face of it, colos may seem to be all the same, but in reality, every data center is different, which is why you’ve got to do some research to find the best fit for your needs.
Questions To Ask Yourself When Choosing A Colocation Data Center
- Does it meet our business needs? First things first, does the colocation site fit your business needs? Have you even identified what those needs are yet? Make sure the site has the technology to support your business, but also take into account the site’s physical location (this is important if you plan to use the colo site for disaster recovery needs) and if it can accommodate your future plans (transitioning to the cloud, managed services, high-density environment, etc.)
- What’s the uptime guarantee? Service agreements can be written in ways that protect the colo if outages occur. What does your agreement say about outages? Does the site allow themselves a certain number of planned outages each year? If the answer is yes, that means you don’t have 100% guaranteed uptime. For some businesses and applications, this is acceptable; for others, it is not. What does it mean for your business?
- Does it support our disaster recovery and business continuity plans? If you’re looking at colo sites, you’ve got a primary data center already up and running somewhere. Also, your colocation data center should match or provide better power, cooling, and networking than your primary site if you want to ensure business continuity during outages and emergencies. Ask about on-site workspace that your team can use for disaster recovery testing.
- What is the center’s level of compliance? Even if the center says it has a certain level of Tier compliance or is Uptime-certified, double check this. Also, ask to see proof of SSAE 16 audits, PCI, or Cybertrust certification and make sure they provide third-party audits for added transparency. Check the site’s physical security too. What areas are covered by cameras? What are security procedures? Who has access to the servers?
- What kinds of managed services are available? Managed services free up your own IT staff to focus on supporting business objectives, not infrastructure maintenance. Managed services means your team doesn’t have to trek to the data center for minor issues and ensure the colo staff will keep the infrastructure operating smoothly.
Changing data centers, even colocation sites, is a major undertaking. Also, you don’t want to be doing it every time your contract ends. Take some time on the front end to make sure the colocation site is right for your business needs – current and future – to find a location that will serve you well for years to come.