The Case for Data Center Colocation

The importance of keeping your business information and applications safe and available continues to rise as your company grows. If your company servers are on premise then, without the security, redundancy, and power infrastructure of a colocation data center, you are running a risk for lost data and potential downtime for your applications.

A professional colocation data center is more than just real estate. It provides the utmost in protection for your business assets. This article explores some of the critical factors to consider when examining a data center colocation.

As realtors will often say, it’s "location, location, location". Your data and applications are critical to the success of your business and need to be in a highly secure facility with an easy and short commute for your staff. You will want simple and easy physical access to your equipment, so the drive time and/or flight time required to reach your data center is something to consider. Having the servers located in a separate building from your office will provide a level of safety if anything were to happen to your primary location.

Evaluate the data center floor space for the weight of your servers, as well as the required density. If you’re thinking of locating your equipment on an upper floor of an office building, be aware that it may not be able to carry the physical load. It’s not just the weight of your servers, but it’s also UPS, battery plants, and HVAC equipment that can make the floor space crowded and even structurally problematic. A ground floor data center will eliminate the weight concern.

The availability and quality of power is extremely important. It is critical that power is available in redundant A/B configuration, is available in a variety of configurations, includes UPS conditioning for AC power, and a DC power plant if required by your equipment. A good colocation facility not only ensures adequate power capacity to maintain your servers and devices, it also ensures high quality and redundant power. A location subject to frequent brownouts will cause equipment reboots and take down applications, resulting in unhappy users. You want to make sure your data center is on both a highly stable power grid and one that receives high priority restoration in the event of any emergencies. Being on the same power grid as a hospital or airport is a safe bet. Lastly, colocation spaces need to offer scalable power, so when your demand grows, or as higher levels of availability are required, the necessary power is there.

A high power facility will require a robust cooling infrastructure. If your business is housing its own equipment today, you’ve already learned that increased power means additional cooling equipment; increasing the amount of floor space needed and creating a higher operating expense. Your business won’t worry about this with a colocation space as your data center provider scales cooling with demand.

Security and compliance is more than simply locking the door. Your data and infrastructure needs protection from malicious attacks, theft and disaster. If your customers require compliance with HIPAA and other regulatory agencies, you will need to make sure the facility housing your applications is certified. It’s important to have 24×7 monitoring and surveillance of the data center and remote hands service available for those middle-of-the-night events where it is imperative to have matters addressed immediately. Environmental controls and emergency equipment, such as fire detection and suppression, are other important protective measures that data centers have in place.

Colocation data centers should have a wide variety of Internet providers to choose from. This makes it possible to maintain your existing carrier contract while moving your equipment to a more secure environment. Most data centers also provide a BGP blend of carriers, selecting the optimal routing path for the lowest transport latency. This blend of carriers also provides redundancy so you are not dependent on a single carrier for connectivity.