Are you considering implementing a colocation strategy and partnering with a colocation provider to host your data? Perhaps your in-house data center doesn’t have the space you need to expand, or maybe you need far greater power density to support the addition of new equipment. Or you want to have a better disaster recovery plan for your IT infrastructure. Whatever your reason for the move, you’ll be faced with the question: Should I build a new facility or consider moving to colocation services?
Many will choose to save on costs and go with colocation, instead of sinking money into construction, hardware and other capital expenditures. If you’re planning to form a partnership with a colocation provider, keep these five things in mind while performing your search.
1.Your Service Needs
Your first step is to figure out whether colocation is what you really need. If you’re looking to keep ownership of your equipment but don’t want the hassle and maintenance of housing it, colocation may be for you. On the other hand, if you decide that you don’t want to maintain that equipment, hybrid hosting may better suit your needs.
Four primary benefits of colocation include:
- Cost savings attributed to lack of overhead costs and capital expenditures
- Power redundancy that protects against surges and blackouts
- Scalability that allows your business to change alongside dynamic resource and data needs
- Added security and disaster recovery measures
Make sure that your prospective colocation provider has proper security, operations and maintenance procedures, as well as the critical infrastructure to support everything your business needs.
2. Resources the Data Center Offers
In step one, you identified your colocation center needs. The next step is to make sure the data center you select offers all of the resources you require. It’s important to remember that some of these resources represent overlooked colocation costs, but they’re essential to operations. These may include: ancillary services, such as janitorial services in your colocated area, backup power systems, environmental services, physical security guards, contractors hired to assist with a problem in your space or within the site, network bandwidth fees, and troubleshooting costs from obtaining the services of experienced staff onsite. The fine print in your prospective colocation’s service level agreements (SLAs) will let you know just how these resources can and will be utilized.
3. Data Center Facility Location
When selecting a colocation facility, the data center’s location will affect your colocation choice. Unfortunately, there isn’t a definitively right or wrong answer to rally around, though there are two predominant schools of thought on this issue: stay near, or go far. If you stay close, trips to and from the data center by your IT teams won’t cost an arm and a leg, and you can perform hands-on maintenance to your IT infrastructure. Furthermore, you can worry less about latency. The case can also be made for a more distant colocation center, especially if disaster recovery is a big concern for your business. With a proximal data center, the same disaster could wipe out both your onsite data and the data stored in the colocation center. There are pros and cons to colocation centers both near and far–weigh them before you decide which works best for you.
4. Are you scaling up or down?
If you answered, “I’m scaling up,” then colocation is ideal for you. As a growth strategy, colocation is flexible and provides critical support while reducing costs. You can buy all the new equipment that your business needs without ever having to worry whether or not you’ll have the space or the resources to support it. Companies that scale by pouring money into capital expenditures miss out on the ability to write off colocation as an operational cost. Those businesses watch their money decrease the minute they put their assets into storage space, while those enjoying the benefits of colocation see their money roll back in during tax season.
5. Your compliance needs
Last, but not least, you’ll want to make sure that your colocation provider has proof of their compliance with federal regulations. Most providers will have the minimum certifications (SAS70 or SSAE16) to make sure you stay on the right side of PCI DSS, HIPAA, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, but you’ll want to check on their most recent audits as well. Don’t just take the data center’s word for it. Explore whether or not you’re partnering with a secure entity, because if they aren’t up to regulation, you’ll be the primary entity that deals with the repercussions.
Of course, these aren’t the only five considerations to keep in mind, even if they are the most prominent. There are plenty of other questions that will arise as you explore which colocation provider is best for your business.
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