How to Select the Right Colocation Provider

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Reliable performance, peace of mind and cost are the most common reasons more and more companies are choosing to outsource data centre operations to a colocation facility. However, the really difficult choice comes after the decision to outsource is made. How do you choose which colocation provider is right for you?

It may seem as though reputable data centre providers hardly differ from each other with regard to the technical core competencies, ie the physical data centre environment, power, cooling, and security.

Questions to keep in mind at this stage of your decision process should be focused around how the data centre is managed daily, how the maintenance is regulated, who else is in the same data centre and if your business could benefit from close connectivity to your colocation neighbors.

I’ve put together a list of criteria to keep in mind in your RFI stage with regards to your potential providers.

Processes

It is important to find out how potential providers monitor the performance of daily processes. If the data centre comes with the ISO 27001 certification and staff are trained to ITIL standards you can reasonably assume it is properly regulated. However, you should always tour the data centre and explore for yourself first hand that basic rules are followed – such as no food or drinks in the data centre.

Connectivity

Does your company have a relationship with a carrier who meets all your connectivity needs? If so, you’ maybe considering colocating in their data centre for convenience purposes. However, to guard against lock-in, ask if they have any other carriers within the facility to ensure you have a backup provider. 

Does your company require multiple carriers for wider geographic coverage or redundancy reasons? Consider a carrier-neutral provider which offers services from many carriers.

Location

Application performance will be enhanced if your company’s data centre is in the vicinity of your end users. A data centre close to metro areas will reach the widest audience with the lowest latency.

International Coverage

If you operate in only one country, this criterion might not matter to you. However, if your company conducts business across many countries, consider finding a data centre provider who has a wider presence. That way, if you decide to expand, you already have a trusted provider.

Communities

Close proximity to organisations that you can partner with makes your colocation decision more important. Will you be in good company? Does the provider encourage communities, and could they benefit you? More and more the value of the data centre comes from the business connections you can make within it.

Track Record

Ask around. Find a colocation provider who meets your business needs, be that uptime, proximity to end users, or location; but always make sure they can back up their SLAs.  A good provider will put in a lot of work to guard against downtime because in the colocation business, reputation is everything.

Where to house your IT infrastructure is not a decision to taken lightly. Get references and read up on customer testimonials.