Many firms find it challenging to build and maintain capital-intensive IT infrastructure. Fortunately for them, it is now feasible to rent floor space in a third-party data center that will take care of your hardware’s power, connectivity, and cooling. This is referred to as colocation.
However, choosing a data center or colocation provider is a significant business decision often difficult to make. The main reason is that your mission-critical infrastructure will be housed in someone else’s building. Hence, before commencing any colocation endeavor, it is critical to creating a clear strategy. This is because a normal colocation contract can run anywhere from three to fifteen years, which is a long period of association.
Though choosing a colocation provider depends on what you want to gain out of colocation, the following guidelines can help you select the best colocation provider for your needs.
No matter how much we stress on location, it still remains an essential factor to consider while choosing a colocation for several reasons. One of the most important reasons for hosting workloads in a colocation facility rather than a public cloud is because colocation providers often provide data centers in locations where public cloud providers do not.
Secondly, consider how easy it will be for someone from your firm to get to the actual location. This is a major factor if you ever need to upgrade or service your equipment (take into account how pricey it could be to have equipment down for an extended period of time.). It would help if you also considered the area’s vulnerability to natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and tornadoes.
Managed services are available from several colocation providers. The services provided might range from hardware setup, and maintenance to data backup managed security services.
Consider services like these if you need assistance managing your infrastructure. On the other hand, managed services will not be a factor in determining the ideal colocation provider for you if you have the resources to manage everything yourself and only need data center real estate.
The ability to interconnect within a shared data center area is one of the most significant benefits of colocation. Interconnection can be beneficial to your organization whether you wish to connect with partners, distributors, or even competitors for peering. Learn about the various connectivity alternatives before making a decision, such as Is the location carrier-agnostic? Do they already have a vast ecosystem of customers who are connected to one another?
Compare the interconnect offerings of multiple providers if you require specific types of networking solutions, such as connecting your colocated infrastructure to a specific public cloud.
The level of uptime promised by your colocation provider is measured in percentages and is referred to as availability. The percentage of time that the network is fully operating is referred to as uptime. Top data centers often aim for a five-nines (99.999%) uptime. Only a small percentage of data centers can attain this level of uptime, with the rest falling somewhere between 99.6% and 99.9%. Even during planned maintenance, a colocation facility with a high availability factor will keep your IT infrastructure functioning. This is particularly vital for mission-critical systems, such as those in the healthcare, finance, and defence industries, where service interruptions can result in severe financial or other losses.
Irrespective of the size of your core organization infrastructure, you should have a secondary site that would be a part of your disaster recovery and data backup plan. This secondary location is usually a colocation facility. The existence of a backup recovery plan in the aftermath of a natural disaster will assist reduce downtime, data loss, and recovery costs. It is important to learn what preliminary drills your prospective facility conducts for data backup and service restoration.
Service Level Agreement (SLA)
A Service-Level Agreement (SLA) is a contract between a service provider and a client that describes the full range of services that the facility is expected to offer. A company’s first priority should be to review the primary service agreement and service level agreement (SLA) with the supplier. When analyzing mission-critical terms and contractual formalities, assistance from your legal and IT teams is helpful. If you have a concern, you should immediately share it with your prospective provider so that you may better negotiate the conditions.
Colocation has recently gotten increasingly specialized. Edge computing, for example, improves network efficiency and computational power by putting data closer to the user, allowing for high-output data processing, and efficiently maintaining distributed data networks.
When picking a colocation provider, you should look beyond the pricing and evaluate other important qualifications, most of which are listed above in the blog. Make sure you carefully consider all the pros and cons to find the right colocation provider.
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