Mainstream Technologies

Thought Leadership

A Colocation Evaluation Guideline

colocation guidelineChoosing the best data center for you is as personal as selecting a finely tailored suit.  Each data center is unique and it may take time to find one that fits just right.

Understanding your issues are important to properly evaluate a data center.  Are you challenged with;

  • Improving end user connectivity,
  • Increasing uptime and availability,
  • Removing yourself from on premise data center responsibilities,
  • Meeting government or industry compliance requirements,
  • Improving security,
  • Securing a secondary or fail over location?

The time you invest on the front end could very well save you from headaches down the road.  Remember that cost is only an issue in the absence of value.  The trick is knowing how you define ‘value’ and finding a match that meets your needs.

Infrastructure Support

  • Are their power sources above ground, or underground?
  • What are their backup solutions for power?
  • Do they have backup HVAC in place?
  • Are they N+1 in critical infrastructure support?

Connectivity – abundant and affordable telecom infrastructure

  • Will you provide your own carrier service?
  • Are they carrier neutral?
  • How many providers do they have access to?
  • If you don’t have a connectivity preference and the data center can provide it, do they offer redundancy?

Performance and Uptime

There are two key components to uptime – infrastructure availability (power) and connectivity performance.

  • Power
    • What are their performance expectations?
    • When was the last time they lost primary power?
  • Connectivity
    • If you choose, the data center can provide connectivity. Be sure they offer redundancy. (see above)

Physical Security

Physical security is paramount.  You’ll want to know what measures they take for physical security.  Do they employ digital video, electronic access control, fingerprint recognition, retinal scans, etc.?  Have these measures been verified by a 3rd party?

Geography  

Is it important for you to have ready access to your infrastructure?  If so, location is important.

Is the prospective data center in a high risk region for natural disasters?  Earthquake, hurricanes, tornados?

Compliance/Certifications

Are you required to provide proof for industry or government compliance /certifications?   Some examples include SSAE16 Type II, PCI, HIPAA, UCS, and Safe Harbor.

  • Is the data center compliant/certified? If so,
  • What certifications do they hold?

SLA/Contract Terms

  • What are the contract terms?
    • Duration or length
    • Expected cost for expanding your footprint?
    • Expected cost for renewal?
    • Is there an easy escape if ever you become dissatisfied?
  • Do they offer additional services outside of the colocation agreement? If so,
    • What do they offer?
  • How do they handle trouble tickets?
  • How do they define the notification/tracking/resolution process?
  • Will they report any visible issues within your rack?

Business Stability of the Data Center

This is loaded with subtlety that can impact the support you receive down the road.

  • Are they financially healthy?
  • How long have they been around?
  • If you expect the personal touch, are they structured to accommodate your needs?
  • Are they positioning for a merger or acquisition. Do they have a history of M&A?
    • If their contract terms exceed 12 months, this could be a signal they are positioning themselves for acquisition.
    • If your provider is acquired, how will that affect your relationship and support?

The Personal Touch (for Managed Colo only)

If technology is important to your business and personal success then you have a lot at stake.  Contrary to popular belief, business is personal.

  • Who’ll be responsible for supporting your infrastructure?
  • What is their trouble reporting/tracking/resolution process?
  • Who will you be working with?
  • Will they be accessible to you? If so how?

References

Be sure to ask for their client list and contact them.  Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions.

  • Who are they?
  • Are they similar in size and nature?
  • Contact both the primary contract and ask to speak to their staff who’s directly responsible for interacting with the data center on a regular basis?
    • What has been their experience regarding support, connectivity, and availability?
    • Are they easy to do business with?
    • Have they ever used another provider for colocation?
      • How do they compare?

If you would like more information about Mainstream’s colocation facility, please give us a call @ 501-801-6700 or send us an email.

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