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You can find many colocation providers from one internet research. But it could be tricky to choose the best provider from them. Each business may have different requirements. So, you should know yours to find the best colocation partner.
Businesses of different industries have different colocation requirements. A healthcare organization and a SaaS provider will not have similar requirements. Compliance and security measures would be the focus of the healthcare organization. SaaS providers would be more interested in cloud options, uptime, and redundancy.
There are a lot of pros of colocation. Some examples are scalability, reliability, security, and cost savings. But you have to choose the right provider to enjoy them. So yes, no one size fits all, yet you can keep some basic things in mind while selecting the colocation service.
Reliability, availability, and scalability are always the expectations when you go for colocation. Make sure your provider meets them. But the required reliability level may also affect your choice. You will need the highest availability and reliability for mission-critical workloads.
Reliable design should be the first thing you should look for. Go for the one with many facilities to ensure full redundancy. So even if one experiences an outage, others will take over to ensure you are not down.
Small and mid-sized businesses can enjoy benefits like time-saving and cost-saving. But larger organizations can ensure most uptime and growth.
It is important to analyze the provider in-depth and find the potential point of failure. To be more specific, you should know about the reliability failure points. Here are some possible reliability failure points:
Building Failure: A lot of physical disruptions are possible. Bad weather conditions and natural disasters are two best examples. Find out the steps your potential provider has taken for physical security.
Equipment Failure: Check their equipment maintenance procedures. Also, inspect backup mechanisms they have if equipment fails. It could be a source of cooling, power, and connectivity.
Hardware Failure: Dependence of hardware on equipment makes it vulnerable if equipment fails. Also, check the protocols for hardware failure.
Colocation would always allow you to upgrade and downgrade according to changing needs. Scaling up brings many benefits and is excellent for you as a growing business.
Colocation is not all about racking and stacking your equipment in a data center. The story does not end after the addition of a network connection. Good IT performance needs reliable and redundant network connectivity. So, find the provider that offers a range of connectivity options. It would ensure your business has access to the required applications and resources.
Also, your potential provider must have carrier diversity in all data center facilities. The importance doubles if you run applications that need redundant network connectivity.
You should know if your organization is subject to regulatory requirements. Authorities like HIPAA/HITRUST, PCI DSS, ISO 20000-1, ISO 27000, SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 may specify them. Ensure that your potential provider helps you meet them.
You are responsible for remaining compliant, if any. But some providers may also help you by employing many security controls and audits. Prefer the providers that undergo independent audits by third parties.
Has SSAE 18 audited a data center? Does the data center also tell you to check the copies of attestation reports? If both answers are yes, it is one of the best options. It further increases their worth if they also undergo audits for HIPAA and PCI DSS. It shows their dedicated commitment to investing in the security of critical infrastructure. Getting a colocation provider that supports you during the compliance audit is great.
Security is a broad term. It encompasses so many different aspects that beginners feel confused. They cannot understand what counts as security and what doesn't. It covers the location and advanced security tools for theft and natural disaster.
Any random person entering the data center without security check-in is a red flag. Tornadoes powerful enough to damage data centers fall under the same category. There must be a mechanism to prevent unauthorized access if someone steals pin code.
Every colocation provider does offer security. But they differ in processes, tools, and level of protection. You must check the following things:
Secure Physical Location: It should not be in the flood plains. It should be outside of airport landing paths. There has to be a proper natural disaster recovery plan.
Secure Check-in: A data center must verify the identity of every visitor using a government-issued ID check, key card, pin, and biometrics.
Secure Tools: It includes many things. Examples are multi-factor authentication checkpoints in mantraps, and badge and keycard access. Cabinet combo locks and video surveillance with archival periods are also relevant.
Secure Staff: Staffing the data center facility 24x7x365 with trained security professionals, access management controls, internal threat protocols, and protection is what you should look for.
Find provider that meets the required standard ranges for power, cooling, and humidity. Find one that uses cooling techniques like raised floors. Also, they must use real-time air quality monitoring. Cooling is one of the significant cost factors for data centers. Its poor implementation can make the equipment fail.
Here is what Cisco Unified Computing System Site Planning Guide for Data Center Power and Cooling says. A hot aisle and cold aisle layout, and a raised floor cooling layout are the best data center airflow management practices.
In most cases, power is the highest cost in a data center. Thus, your total price will decrease if you use a provider with a lower power cost.
Unexpected situations can arise anytime. It would be so relaxing to know that support is always available on phone calls and ticket requests. Ensure that your colocation vendor provides 24x7x365 support for emergencies. Hence your minor issues will be solved before changing into a significant problem. Also, the level of support you enjoy is as good as the experience of the colocation provider’s support team. Try to find those who have skilled staff on-site. They must have all procedures documented.