Making the decision to put one’s computer infrastructure into a data center colocation facility is certainly a transformative process. Usually teams of stakeholders in a business have input on what they need in this process to better meet the demands of the business. After the process of selecting a provider has concluded, the real work begins. For many companies, this is the first time they can’t control everything about their data center environment. There is always the obligatory, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Here are 5 things most companies realize once the selection process is concluded.
- The need to get operational is usually faster than normal projects. When a business tries to roll out a new application, speed to market is important. When a company transforms its IT environment to colocation, that transformative process needs to happen quickly. Companies make the decision to move to colocation for a reason(s): Unreliable power, outgrew existing space, cost of operations, security, support staff, etc. Now it’s time to execute the plan. Line-of-business managers are eager to execute on their plans to meet their operational goals and a slow implementation process doesn’t help anyone. The faster a company can transform, the faster the company can get new products and services to market.
- Structured cabling is too important to do it yourself. Many of us have tried to do a project that stretched our capabilities. It’s how we learn. Do you really want to trust your company’s critical infrastructure to a first time structured cabling job? Unless your company has its own structured cabling professional, consult with one of the reputable providers in the area where your colocation environment will live. Be prepared for surprises even after extensive planning. There will always be something you didn’t think about. Build in flexibility for additional costs and time to get things done correctly.
- Reliable connectivity should outweigh existing connectivity relationships. At your current data center, you may have a certain fiber provider that has provided connectivity to other offices, your supply chain, the Internet, etc. At a colocation provider, you need to know which of those service providers has the most reliable design and track record. There’s an old adage: “You get what you pay for”. You can choose the lowest cost provider, just make sure their reliability is on par or better than the higher cost providers. Likewise, that company who you’ve done business with for years, may not necessarily have the most reliable design and track record for uptime at your new colocation facility.
- Who can help when you’re not around? One of the worst kept secrets: Computers break, switches fail & the Internet goes down. And this normally happens outside of business hours at the least convenient time. Who do you trust to help resolve the issue, when your team is not around? Do you know what your Service Level Agreements say? If the issue is outside of the scope of the Service Level Agreement, who can help? In order to save money during the selection process, companies often neglect to order remote hands services. There are qualified individuals at the data center who can quickly resolve many of those issues, without on-site involvement from your team. These services can be an insurance policy to minimize disruption to your mission critical business applications.
- Do we want to tout our successes in this transformational process? Now that everything is up and running, your business teams are seeing successes. Why not publicize those successes? Certainly, there are non-disclosure issues of which we all need to be aware. But at least internally, celebrate those successes across your entire business. Show how your company is benefiting from the IT transformation process and how it’s benefiting your business and your customers. Individuals like to be recognized for their part in those achievements. These accomplishments can also be the content for white papers, case studies, and press releases. Check your policies regarding publication.
Bottom line: You’ve worked hard to transform your business. Be cognizant of these new concerns during the process, so that the transformation process of your business is a phenomenal success, of which you and your company can be proud.
Bob Kramlich is Director, Enterprise Solutions at T5 Data Centers. T5 offers flexible and reliable data center solutions and operations across its nationwide portfolio of world-class facilities. Bob can be reached at (404) 220-9790 or firstname.lastname@example.org.