If you’re planning to purchase colocation space for your business, there’s a lot of stuff to consider first. You need to look into not only the facility and the resources it offers, but also the organization maintaining it. We’ll go over the most important questions to ask - and the most important factors to examine - to help you make the most informed decision possible.
You’ve done the math. You’ve determined that dedicated hosting doesn’t quite provide the kick you need for your use case. Colocating is the way forward.
Before you purchase, however, there are a few things you’ll want to take into account.
We’ll start with the most important details first - the physical data center. From security to sustainability to infrastructure, there’s a lot to consider here. You’ll want to account for the following:
- Location. Where will the physical servers be situated relative to your business? Moreover, how important is it that the facility is close to you?
- Power. How is power distributed to server rooms? Is it circuited or sold by the kilowatt/kilovolt? What sort of backup power does the facility offer?
- Security. How does the facility’s owner protect the hardware contained within? Do they have 24/7 uniformed personnel? Do they have closed-circuit television? What sort of access controls are in place?
- Sustainability. How environmentally-friendly is the facility? Does it make an effort to be green?
- The number of facilities. Does the host maintain only a single data center, or do they manage an entire network of them?
- Scalability. How much space is available in the facility? Is it enough to scale with the projected growth of your organization?
Next, you’ll want to look at the network environment of your prospective facility. Even if a colocation data center is a match in terms of physical infrastructure, you also need to take bandwidth into account. Ask your prospective host about the following:
- Carriers. Is the facility carrier-neutral, or will you be locked into one of several internet service providers? Generally speaking, the former is the better option, so you’ll want to seek that out if at all possible.
- Redundancy. What systems are in place for failover in the event that the facility is rendered partially or entirely inoperable?
- Compliance. Is the facility compatible with the regulatory requirements of your organization? Are they certified to host highly-sensitive, highly-secure data?
- Bandwidth. How is bandwidth managed in the facility? What does the host charge, specifically?
- Networking. Does the facility provide direct connections with services like Microsoft Azure? What sort of network speeds are typical in this facility?
Finally, let’s talk about the host itself. Even the best data center can be a nightmare to colocate in if the owner doesn’t pull their weight, after all. As such, you’ll want to pay attention to a few details:
- Service level agreement. How much uptime does the host promise, and what do they offer if they fail to meet that commitment?
- Technical support. Most colocation facilities offer 24/7 technical support and site monitoring.
- Transparency. Is the host open and honest about their facility, its certifications, and their qualifications?
- Online presence. What are people saying about the host online? A few bad reviews are likely to be expected, but if people are overwhelmingly negative, it could be a red flag.
There’s a lot that goes into choosing the right colocation facility. By going down each of the three checklists above, you’re that much closer to selecting the one that’s perfect for you.