There are many items on your data center collocation provider checklist. Perhaps you require an SLA that guarantees 100% availability for facilities, power, and connectivity. Perhaps biometric access controls are important to you, too.
Whatever your requirement list includes, be sure to keep these three items in mind when selecting a colocation provider:
A is for Assistance
Does the data center provider’s staff have the ability to troubleshoot proactively? Ask about their customer satisfaction record (with private sector and government agencies). Depending on how your organization operates, your colocation provider may need the knowledge base and communications ability to converse effectively at the IT, business unit and C-level. Agencies and entities working with the government should look for a colocation provider whose employees have had long experience with GSA and FedRAMP.
For many, a best-fit colocation provider is one that is big enough to offer high-end capabilities (e.g. full Joint Authorization Board authority to operate (JAB ATO)) but focused enough to attract an informed and responsive staff that’s all about proactive support, flexibility, and working intelligently with users. Deep expertise in a colocation staff is not as common as you might think. It is important to find a team that has put a premium on recruiting top talent that works smarter and harder, and combines operational excellence with responsiveness to customer needs. Such a provider uses industry products that do not add unnecessary complication and possibility for failure. For instance, software-defined firewalls may add cool bells and whistles but can also fail, so that’s an area where collaboration can result in the best overall decision. An experienced staff has the ability to define and exploit best practices while delivering maximum flexibility and savvy assistance to customers.
B is for Backup
Your data center colocation checklist may include data protection through off-site back-ups. If so, make sure the colocation provider you select offers image-based replication across fully redundant paths that span multiple time zones to guarantee maximum uptime and performance. Offsite backups and cloud-based disaster recovery should be easily and efficiently managed.
To support such an important requirement, your colocation provider’s backup capabilities should be based on world-class technology. For instance, Vazata is a platinum partner with VEEAM, whose industry leading backup products secure hypervisor and file layer replications to our geographically redundant data centers, where archiving takes place.
C is for Construction
Best-in-class data centers are constructed by certified builders with specialized expertise. The provider should be able to minimize overprovisioning at the outset, while adding capacity quickly and flexibly as needed over time and upgrading clients to more advanced hosting as future technologies become available. When data centers become larger and operate at higher densities, the colocation provider must ensure that all staff members are trained to follow proper procedures. A well-built, highly resilient and cost-effective data center supports mixed-density rows and balances resiliency against density for optimal cost effectiveness and safety.
Top colocation providers are moving beyond delivering maximum cooling to embrace removing heat as efficiently as possible to reduce costs. Economizer technologies and intelligent thermal controls can achieve power usage effectiveness (PUE) levels below 1.2. Advanced techniques optimize water consumption and refrigerant use while delivering highly efficient, reliable, and economical thermal management. Technologies featuring pumped-refrigerant economizers that use no water and introduce no outside air into the data center will save over 1 billion gallons of water in North America in 2016.
These “ABC” considerations are just the start. Contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss with you many other important factors to keep in mind when evaluating colocation providers.