12 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Colocation Data Center

There are a growing number of reasons for businesses to use a third-party colocation facility.  There are, however, a large number of options to choose from when assessing these facilities.  One of the biggest problems facing these organizations is developing an effective method for identifying the best possible options.  The list of factors a company could consider when selecting a colocation facility potentially includes hundreds of different characteristics.  While every business should tailor their criteria based upon their needs and industry regulations, there are 12 essential factors which should never be overlooked.

Location

Location is a critical factor to consider, regardless of how important the actual location is in relation to the businesses primary office.  Location directly affects how often the businesses IT staff will be able to access the servers, which can lead to higher monthly costs.  This is due to an increased need for additional services, such as virtual hands.  Additionally, some businesses prefer to use colocation facilities outside of their primary operating zone to ensure their data is saved in the event their home office is affected by a natural disaster.

Access Control (Physical Security)

Every colocation facility is forced to delicately balance the ease of access with physical security.  When selecting a facility, it is important to review staffing hours and security monitoring systems to ensure all of the hardware is safe and secure, yet accessible, at all times.

Power Redundancy and Back-Up

Power redundancy is less important to businesses using a colocation facility as a disaster recovery resource rather than their primary data center.  While it may be less important, it should always be a consideration.  Along with power redundancy, take a close look at the power backup strategy.

Fire Prevention Strategy

Fire is a unique threat within a data center because the prevention method has the capacity to cause more damage than the fire itself.  It is important to consider the use of smoke and heat detection systems, EPO systems, as well as the specific fire suppression technology utilize throughout the facility.

Connectivity

When evaluating connectivity, it is important to look at both the available bandwidth as well as carrier options.  Carrier neutral colocation facilities are always preferable because it drives down bandwidth prices as well as provides a built-in redundancy.

Financial Stability

Regardless of how long a colocation facility has been operating, it is imperative to always review their financial information.  There is no use choosing a facility which will be out of business within the next five years.

Power per Square Foot

Most colocation facilities are easily compared based upon a “watts per square foot” criterion because it directly affects cooling and power delivery.  The greater number of watts per square foot, the greater future growth potential there is within the facility.

Company History

It is important to always speak with existing customers to discover how well they are treated by the colocation provider.  This will not only provide greater insight into the facility itself, but also how unexpected complications are managed.

Natural Disasters (Plans and Location)

Most areas around the country are prone to experience one or more types of natural disasters.  It is important to find out what they are and how the colocation facility reacts to them.

Overview of Facility Health

Colocation facility infrastructure naturally degrades over time.  While considering the age of the data center itself, special attention should be paid to how well it is maintained and what steps are being taken to extend its lifespan and improve efficiencies.

Ability to Meet Special Needs

Some businesses operate within industries which have special requirements regarding data protection and privacy.  If a business has any special needs, it is important to address them with the colocation provider as soon as possible.

Service Level Agreements

The final factor to consider is the service-level agreement.  While there are a variety of standard specifications, the compensation penalties paid to businesses when the facility does not meet service levels varies greatly.

Choosing a colocation facility can be tricky because the decision process has become increasingly complex.  In order to a evaluate multiple options as quickly and efficiently as possible, it is all of the necessary criteria and factors used to make the final decision must be outlined in advance.

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