10 Features to Consider When Selecting a Colocation Data Center

Looking to transform your infrastructure strategy to include colocation services? Here are ten factors you should consider as you select the right colocation provider to partner with your business.

  1. Reliability: Insist on six nines reliability – meaning, the service provider can demonstrate that its infrastructure is up and available at least 99.9999% of the time. That’s 54 minutes/year of downtime. Better yet, find a company with a 100% availability track record.
  2. Security: What physical security do you see when you pull up to the facility? How many layers of security do you encounter before you have access to your equipment on the data center floor? What happens in the event of a security breach?
  3. Protected Redundant Power: Having an A & B source is not enough. Does the power come from a single substation or multiple substations? Is the transmission of power via overhead lines or concrete-encased underground conduit? Ask how many outages the company has had over the past five years & how those outages have impacted customers.
  4. Cloud Connectivity & Hybrid IT: Rarely do companies have a cloud-only strategy. But many new applications are developed for public clouds. Application integration between public cloud, private cloud, & colocation is the key. Cloud interconnectivity is a must for today’s business environment.
  5. Protection against storms, fire and other disasters: Ask lots of questions about the physical infrastructure of the data center you are considering. Is the building hardened and well protected? Has it been built to withstand an EF-4 tornado? Are there redundant fire protection systems in place? Is the data center geographically located in a low-risk area for both natural and man-made disasters?
  6. Customer service and satisfaction: What do a colocation data center’s customers say about that company? All companies will give you their good references. It may sound strange, but ask for good & bad references. You don’t want any surprises. You want the truth.
  7. Location: How far would your employees have to commute to get to the facility? What amenities are nearby? What potential hazards are nearby? What does the infrastructure (power, fiber & water) look like in that area?
  8. Service Level Agreements: Are the service level agreements written to benefit your company or are they written to benefit the provider? What service levels is the provider committing to?
  9. Compliance: Make sure the provider is AT-101 and PCI-DSS audited. Ask how your colocation partner will help you comply with any other certifications your business requires, such as HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley and HITECH.
  10. Network connectivity: Choice and redundancy matter. All carriers should come in via “dual paths.” Make sure the entrances are concrete-encased underground conduits. Your Colocation provider should be very close to one or more major fiber runs. Ask to see a fiber map.
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