Wednesday, 7 August 2013

What To Look For When Choosing a Data Center Colocation

Has maintaining your company server become a full-time job, taking you away from your other responsibilities? These days, more and more businesses are looking into data center colocation to handle their server needs. These centers offer equipment space and bandwidth for rent, and will provide the server maintenance for you. This can be particularly helpful if yours is an Internet-related business because it allows you and your IT staff to focus on actual work instead if constantly providing support. But remember: not all data centers are created equal. You need to thoroughly research the center you’re considering to make sure that they can adequately meet your server needs. Here are some things to add to your data center build checklist:
  • Power: Can they guarantee an adequate power supply? This is vital to avoiding failures and downtime with your server. These days, between 8kW-10kW is required to power the average server rack. That doesn’t include power needed for the climate control and security systems. Ask for specifications on how much power the center supports, and about the performance capability of its uninterrupted power supply (UPS) should the primary power fail.
  • Security: One of the more important considerations of data center colocation is how the center is equipped to handle emergencies. Are they located in an area that would easily be comprised in the event of a natural disaster, such as a flood or earthquake? Just as important are how their premises are designed to handle such an event, and what their protocols are.
  • Climate Control: Learn about how their cooling system works. Does it have adequate power to keep the servers at an optimum temperature? The rule of thumb generally is that for every 100 watts a serves expends, 50 watts is required to cool it. Find out if the center has an adequate water supply for the cooling system, and how their sprinkler system works in the event of a fire.
  • Load: When looking into data center colocation, many are only concerned with the center’s critical load capacity. While that is important, another load aspect that’s just as vital is how often the center will load test its generators. Failing to test at least on a quarterly basis could mean that the center will remain unaware of any generator issues until an actual failure.
  • SLA compliance: While all centers will guarantee optimum output at all times, no center is immune from at the very least minor level issues. Find out the details of their service level agreement (SLA) and ask to see at least their last 5 SLA compliance reports. That will help give an accurate gauge on what their response times are and what level of transparency they offer to customers when outages occur.
  • Support: Do they offer quick response for support issues? Your server can have problems at any time of the day or night, so to meet your data center colocation needs, whoever you go with needs to be equipped to handle any of those issues in a timely manner.
Choosing the right firm to handle your colocation data center is vital to your server running optimally, and, by extension, to your business’ operational effectiveness. Asking the right question when looking for your next data center will help ensure that your needs are met.
Nick specializes in the building and leasing of data centers world wide. He often blogs about this and other computer and tehcnology related topics in his spare time.

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