What to look for in a modern colocation facility

Written by Anthony Carter, Managing Director, Connotations Ltd. Published 2018-10-23 11:09:43

It’s a fact that moving everything to the cloud is not the right solution in every case. There are organisations with needs requiring them to continue operating and maintaining their own hardware and infrastructure. That’s why colocation providers exist. Colocation gives organisations the ability to rent space for their hardware and combine it with support services offered by the provider.

If you’re looking for a modern colocation provider for your organisation, choose wisely. This business is no different than any other inasmuch as some providers are better than others. It’s always recommended to do a significant amount of research into the most critical aspects of colocation before making a decision. Once you have narrowed down your choices to a shortlist, ask for a detailed Service-Level Agreement (SLA) that spells out the contract between you and the potential provider.

Here are five things to look for in your search for a colocation facility:

1. Prime Location

Where your colocation provider is physically located makes a difference. Right off the bat, you’re going to have to migrate your current system to the facility as quickly, safely, and efficiently as possible. You’re in the right place if you’re near the systems and partners that you require. Then there are those visits you will be paying to the facility in the future. Look for provider with good transport links to your chosen location.

2. Physical and Data Security

Top-notch security is no longer negotiable in an era of serious data security threats. A modern colocation facility should be physically secure in every respect. This includes controlled access as well as a physical structure capable of withstanding significant weather events and other disasters.

Hand-in-hand with physical security is digital security. The best colocation providers implement proven strategies for protecting customer data from a variety of threats. They also have an ongoing strategy of constantly improving security systems in order to keep ahead of threats.

3. Facility and Network Redundancy

In your search for a colocation provider, do not forget both facility and network redundancy. Facility redundancy relates to backup systems for power and cooling. You cannot afford for your system go down in the event that mains power is out or because the facility's main cooling has failed.

Network redundancy relates to data carriers. A good colocation facility has agreements with numerous network carriers to ensure that your data continues flowing no matter what.

4. Scalability and Flexibility

If all goes as planned, your organisation will continue to grow over the long term. You need a colocation provider offering both scalability and flexibility. You might need room in the future for more servers, for example. You might need increased power density to keep up with the demands on your hardware. You need a colocation provider capable of scaling alongside your growth, and preferably one that can adapt to your business needs should they decrease as well.

The idea of flexibility comes into play when you need specialised solutions to meet specific needs. A one-size-fits-all provider will not be able to meet those specialised needs with the best possible solutions. You need a provider flexible enough to provide exactly the level of service you need, as and when you need it.

5. Compliance

Compliance with security and data protection regulations is getting more difficult by the year. As governments ramp up their efforts to make sure consumers are protected, colocation providers have an obligation to make sure their customers maintain regulatory compliance.

Search for a provider that is familiar with, and open to, regular audits. It is even better if a provider can show you records of past audits proving compliance. The icing on the proverbial cake would be a provider with an on-site compliance team tasked with keeping things in check at all times.

Your organisation's need for colocation services now has you on the hunt for a provider you can trust. Don't just go with the first one you find. Instead, research the five components explained in this post with every provider you look at. Go with the service provider most closely aligned with each of them.

In the end, you may not find a perfect provider, but you need to find the one that offers you the most ideal solution based on your needs.

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