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Key considerations before choosing a colocation data centre

Thu 28 May 2020 | Sean Hilliar

Sean Hilliar, Co-Founder and Data Centre Manager, IP House, lists 15 tips to help you make the correct choice of colo

Today, many businesses choose to host their critical applications within resilient colocation data centres, offering a cost-optimised solution that dramatically simplifies the complexities of owning and operating on-premise IT. However, a key issue that customers all too frequently experience, is an inadequate level of service, lack of attention to detail and a long, complex on-boarding process.

London is a renowned key technology hub and in 2019, Synergy Research Group cited the city as one of the top five metros for retail colocation revenue worldwide.

Location is a key differentiator in the first phase of selecting a facility and can be crucial to the establishment and delivery of high-quality services with seamless transitions. With so much choice, what are the prevailing drivers for businesses moving their critical infrastructure off-premise?

The increased demand for localised data, compute power and ultra-low-latency is set to be the precursor to a wave of digital transformation using edge computing to personalise the customer experience.

At Schneider Electric’s 2019 International Colocation Club, Kelly Morgan, Vice President of Research and Services for 451 Research, highlighted the shifts in strategy transpiring. The enterprises surveyed cited that hybrid IT environments, encompassing a mix of hosted applications, public, private and multi cloud, and on-premise IT, would be their main approach going forward. Currently, many enterprises are still looking to outsource secure disaster recovery services and the expertise to deliver a collaborative solution

Another significant factor changing IT environments today has been the rise in IoT, a future disruptor to even the best capacity planning strategy. This often requires higher rack densities than some out-dated colocation facilities can accommodate, and according to 451 Research, in two years, many enterprises anticipate that they will move 80% of their IoT data into the cloud.

The IEEE’s Survey of Multi-Access Edge Computing in 5G also reports that via ‘the emergence of new compute-intensive applications and the vision of the Internet of Things (IoT), it is foreseen that the emerging 5G network will face an unprecedented increase in traffic volume and computation demands.

There are many advantages to relocating your on-premise IT infrastructure to a colocation data centre, however, these benefits can only be realised if careful consideration and planning is implemented.

On-premise solutions can pose a higher potential risk of human error and other critical facility outages. With a secure and reliable colocation provider, you can alleviate these risks whilst having the flexibility to gradually scale as required.

The business continuity and reputational impact of mismanaged IT migration projects, slow on-boarding, and delayed responses can be costly for companies working with less diligent colocation providers. So to help guide customers in in their decision-making process, we’ve listed 15 points to consider before choosing a colocation data centre.

Top 15 points for seamless onboarding

  1. Colocation Benefits

The initial capital expenditure for on-premise IT infrastructure and on-going maintenance will significantly impact business revenue. Colocation can offer a cost-effective solution.

  1. Equipment

Ensure your data centre provider makes accessing your equipment fast, reliable and safe with 24/7/365 access.

  1. Uptime

Clarify the Tier level and redundancy of the facility and each sub-system providing critical supply and services right up to the rack.

  1. Security

The facility should be purpose designed and built to house critical IT infrastructure. Review the physical security, restricted access policy, remote monitoring and manned personnel in place.

  1. Location

Location is essential: Cost vs Quality of Service, accessibility, network latency and factors such as scalability and capacity are some of the areas of service which will influence your choice.

  1. Customer Service

A data centre provider should be equipped to respond to your needs, day or night. You should expect a response to your query or request within 1 hour of your initial contact being received.

  1. Connectivity

Low-latency is a core consideration. How well is the data centre connected and are the correct routes available to establish links to remote sites and infrastructure?

  1. Network

Investigate network connectivity in detail. For full private rack services, you should expect fixed terminated fibre and copper (RJ45) connections, serviced by diverse routes.

  1. Flexible Contracts

One size does not fit all. Typical contracts start at 12 months minimum, but some providers are very flexible. It’s vital to explore all options and carefully review charges related to over usage.

  1. Standards and Compliance

From quality management to sustainability and data security, adhering to standards can reflect an operator’s commitments to each of these important business responsibilities.

  1. Future-proofing

For the long-term occupancy, it is advisable to consider the technologies implemented. What are the benefits of each system and plans in for legacy critical infrastructure due to be replaced?

  1. Scalable Capacity

Size matters, but bigger isn’t always better. Underutilised space can be detrimental for environmental and operational efficiency. Ensure that you have flexibility to meet future growth.

  1. Remote Monitoring

Environmental monitoring will help to optimise the efficiency and increase the resiliency of your infrastructure. Remote monitoring helps to right size your equipment and identify problems before they cause major issues.

  1. Status and Stability

Does your provider operate their own facilities? Determine whether a direct relationship or working with a sub-space operator is best. Understand their financial status and track record.

  1. Reputable Partners

Finally, review the scope and breadth of partnerships in place to ensure your provider works with reliable, proven vendors where their quality of service is recommended.

Be confident in asking the questions to evaluate the best IT infrastructure solution for your business. Ensure the required level of service will meet your expectations and the proposed on-boarding process is comprehensive and seamless.

  • IP House’s Top 15 Points to Consider Before Choosing a Colocation Data Centre e-book is available to download now. Click here for your copy.



Experts featured:

Sean Hilliar

Data Centre Manager
IP House


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