How To Choose The Right Colocation Provider: A colocation facility is one of the few options for your business’ workload hosting needs. But not every colocation provider on the market is a good choice for your business’s particular needs. This makes selecting a reliable colocation provider that’s also suitable for your needs a challenge.
And that’s what we’re going to simplify for you with this guide!
Keep reading to find out what the must-check factors are when selecting a colocation provider for your business.
With colocation facilities, the client is in charge of configuring their servers, not the provider. This means the company will need to access the facility regularly, so it helps to consider a facility that’s close to your company.
In addition, the facility should be located in a secure location that has easy access to power and network connectivity. It shouldn’t be in an area that is prone to natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, and storms.
If you need to minimize latency, then you should generally aim to choose a colocation facility that’s near a network hub and/or your users. Ideally, it should be both. Sometimes, however, this is not a practical option.
If latency is less of an issue for you, then you will have a wider choice of locations and, hence, potential colocation providers. When evaluating them, consider how often your staff members are going to need to access the site.
If you’re likely to need frequent access, then it’s advisable to choose a colocation facility that’s easy to reach. If, on the other hand, you intend to outsource most of the on-site work, then accessibility for your staff can be less of a concern.
Connectivity will be heavily influenced by location. Network performance, by contrast, is much more under the control of the data center provider. They can choose what infrastructure they install and how they manage it. They can also choose whether or not to support carrier neutrality and/or interconnectivity.
You can evaluate a colocation provider’s network connectivity in a variety of ways to gauge its quality and strength. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key factors to consider here.
Uptime refers to the time that the colocation facility remains in operation. It is an important factor to consider for companies with business-critical applications and services that will fail in the event of downtime.
Most top data center providers guarantee 99% uptime, but some industries, such as finance and healthcare, might need 99.99% uptime guarantees or higher.
Uptime guarantees are benchmarks for reliability. To be meaningful, however, they need to be contractually enforceable (rather than just “best effort”). Even when uptime guarantees are written into contracts, it’s advisable to check the provider’s ability to meet them. This can be done by looking at their historical performance data and their tier rating.
Data center providers who are willing to guarantee high reliability will typically run highly resilient data centers. This means that their operations are very unlikely to be disrupted by severe events such as extreme weather conditions.
Redundancy refers to having enough backup to ensure higher uptime. It ensures the facility has enough redundant power sources to deliver an uninterrupted power supply to all of its security, cooling, and other maintenance systems.
You can check this separately by taking a look at the provider’s redundancy level, connectivity options, and carrier diversity.
The uptime guarantee must be supported by a strong redundancy such as 2N+1 level, which is the strongest. But you can also opt for lower tiers such as 2N, N+2, or N+1 based on your needs.
Having connectivity options and carrier diversity helps providers deliver uninterrupted services even if one of the carriers goes down.
Colocation security involves safeguarding the facility, servers, and network from both physical and digital vulnerabilities.
Some of the best security measures you want to look for are,
In addition, clients must also check whether the provider uses internal security personnel or outsources the work to a third party.
There are two key factors that determine a colocation provider’s level of support for scalability. The first is their physical infrastructure. This includes factors such as physical space, power, cooling, and connectivity. The second is the type(s) of contracts they offer. It’s therefore important to check both factors before making a commitment.
No matter how small or big your business, you are probably going to need to upsize or downsize your network at some point due to changes in business requirements. This also means you will need to increase the number of servers or reduce them.
To make this process smooth and quick, you want to work with a colocation provider that supports scalability. Confirm whether they offer scalability for both the space and the infrastructure needed.
Another factor that’s as important as scalability is the deployment efficiency of the colocation provider. Deployment efficiency refers to how quickly the provider can deliver the infrastructure you need and get it running. You can gauge your provider’s capabilities by asking them for clear deployment timelines.
In the context of colocation services, industry compliance relates to mandated standards for the secure operation and management of data center facilities. These standards are generally intended to protect sensitive data (and, hence, the individuals or entities to whom it belongs).
The most obvious reason why industry compliance matters is that compliance programs are often mandatory and backed by meaningful sanctions for non-compliance.
On a more positive note, however, industry compliance demonstrates an organization’s ability to maintain the security (and integrity) of the data it holds. It therefore fosters trust amongst stakeholders such as customers and investors. This can translate into increased business opportunities.
It is also worth noting that the measures taken to achieve industry compliance often have other business benefits. For example, achieving compliance may require organizations to optimize the processes they use to collect, process, and store data. This may enable them to make better use of the data they hold.
Data centers are required to follow various industry-standard guidelines to ensure their operations comply with governmental regulatory demands—especially if they’re supporting regulated industries.
While keeping up with these regulatory demands is the task of the data center, it is the client that needs to verify the certifications and check whether requirements are being met.
Some businesses might also want to confirm whether the provider supports third-party audits for validation.
Cooling and power seem like obvious services, so you might overlook their details when choosing a colocation provider. However, going with a provider that doesn’t implement cooling and power systems properly can result in equipment failures.
Not to mention the losses incurred due to the downtime.
To avoid such a risk, make sure to confirm what systems the provider is using and ensure they meet the standard ranges. Also, check whether the provider employs real-time air quality monitoring for additional security.
There are a few ways to ensure a colocation provider is reliable. One way is by checking customer reviews, staff certifications, press releases, financial reports, and the financial history of the provider. These should tell you how stable the provider’s company is and whether you can trust it to tide you through events for the length of the contract.
Another option to check reliability is to check how many data center providers are in the vicinity. A good region with easy access to power and connectivity should have a good number of colocation providers.
Choosing a provider that offers the best quality of services at a reasonable cost is a key factor when choosing among a list of providers. Make sure you check the fees you’re being charged for hosting your equipment and servers, as well as any additional fees for installation and setup. Also, confirm the cost of adding any additional services to those already in the contract.
Finding the right colocation provider for your business requirements is easy once you know your priorities and understand the offerings of the provider. With this guide, you now know what to look for and how to analyze offerings better to make better decisions for your business.
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