5 Tips for Selecting a Data Center Colocation Provider

July 20, 2015
FORTRUST’s Joshua Moody looks at some of the most important best practices businesses can observe when seeking out colocation services.

Welcome to the second edition of “Voices of the Industry”, a column for thought leaders in the data center industry to share their insights. This week’s column is from Joshua Moody, VP of Sales and Marketing at FORTRUST.

Joshua Moody, VP, Fortrust

Selecting a colocation provider can be a long and difficult process for many business decision-makers. Currently, there are more than a few available options, but companies must be sure they are choosing the provider that will best suit the needs of their organization and their clients. A colocated data center environment can offer a number of benefits for enterprises, but only when the provider is able to address current IT pain points and meet specific requirements.

There are several factors administrators should take into consideration when choosing a colocation data center provider, their final decision hinging on the level of service the vendor can provide. Let’s take a look at some of the most important best practices businesses can observe when seeking out colocation services:

1) What type of services is the company needing?
First and foremost, decision-makers should outline the exact types of services they will need from their data center provider. These could include specifics about the colocated environment, the equipment used and what machines or components the business will bring to the table. The breadth of services offered is an important criteria, as it could help shape not only the current relationship, but a more robust partnership in the future as well.

On the other hand, some organizations solely need colocation, as they have other vendors they are currently working with or host their solutions themselves. For this reason, it is imperative to outline the exact level of service the business is looking for.

2) Where is the data center located?
As part of its best practices for selecting a colocation provider in North America, Gartner recommended examining the geographical placement of the data center facility and what this could mean for the business. Gartner noted that location can have a considerable impact, and could serve as an opportunity to enhance the company’s ability to address obstacles like network latency, disaster recovery or data sovereignty.

When examining data center location, it is also imperative to consider how the geographical location will affect the provider’s services. FORTRUST’s Denver data center, for example, offers a site with a low risk for inclement weather like tornadoes, hurricanes and severe storms. This helps to ensure continuous service availability and uptime.

3) What level of uptime can the provider offer?
Another critical factor to examine is uptime. We recommend asking about the provider’s current track record of delivering 100 percent critical systems uptime, as downtime can be not only unproductive but costly for the business too. A Ponemon Institute study found that the typical organization can lose approximately $7,900 per hour during downtime due to the inaccessibility of essential content and resources.

While data center design does have an impact on uptime, human error and mismanagement can hamper whatever gains are offered by the data center’s design. Decision-makers should be sure to ask how long the provider has been able to maintain a 100 percent availability for critical electrical and mechanical systems and how it defines uptime. In addition, it is also important to ask about previous events related to unplanned or planned downtime and how these instances were addressed by the provider.

4) What processes are in place for facility maintenance?
Data center maintenance and management is also a critical consideration to factor into the equation. Service providers should be able to walk potential clients through their practices for data center infrastructure management, including the upkeep of essential systems like those supplying power and cooling. The provider should have adequate oversight of the facility and its important components to ensure that thresholds are being observed and any issues that crop up can be quickly mitigated before they cause an outage.

“Monitoring many key data points throughout the critical systems infrastructure allows data center operators to be cognizant of changing conditions while proactively managing capacities, trending specific parameters and making well-informed decisions,” FORTRUST​’s Rob McClary noted.

5) What level of oversight do clients have within their environment?
Enterprises should also look into the level of control and oversight the provider can offer for their individual colocated environment. Decision-makers should ask about any remote management capabilities and how the provider reports key data to the client.

FORTRUST is the only provider that offers access to COLOVIEW, its industry-leading remote data center infrastructure monitoring solution. The service offers real-time, round-the-clock access to critical information related to each environment’s temperature, relative humidity, power usage and cooling to ensure that clients are never in the dark when it comes to their colocation services.

To find out more about COLOVIEW and FORTRUST colocation services, contact FORTRUST.

About the Author

Voices of the Industry

Our Voice of the Industry feature showcases guest articles on thought leadership from sponsors of Data Center Frontier. For more information, see our Voices of the Industry description and guidelines.

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