Data Center

5 Things about Colocation Your Boss Wants to Know

When companies consider colocation as an option to upgrade space and power while eliminating downtime, they start evaluating potential data center providers. When reaching out to get a quote or visit a facility, there are 5 things you need to know in order to answer the 5 questions your boss will ask. Here’s what they will want to know and five ways to make sure to get answers.

1. How much is this going to cost?

2. How safe is our data?

3. Will my bandwidth be slower/faster/go down?

4. Who has access to our equipment?

5. What legal ramifications are we responsible for?

For more questions to ask when evaluating data centers << Download our free Colocation Checklist >>

1. Have a clear understanding of your budget and downtime requirements

Consider your budget and the “hidden costs” included in colocation contracts. These include cage setup fees, circuit installation fees, bandwidth, cross connects and IP addresses. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you are paying for and why.

Downtime is another area to consider. How much can your business afford to be down? If an outage is only a mild headache, then perhaps a Tier II data center would suffice. If downtime costs you money, a Tier IV high availability data center is worth the premium charge.

When discussing service level agreements (SLA) and uptime, always ask how many times they have gone down and had to pay a customer. Just because a data center advertises a 100% uptime SLA doesn’t mean they never had to pay customers due to downtime.

2. Determine acceptable levels of security

Security is always a top issue when evaluating a data center. Physical security such as site location, perimeter monitoring, facility access, vendor management and video recording backup are important to assess.

SANS Institute issued a checklist that is helpful to review. Ask about the SSAE 16 (SAS70) certification to make sure compliances are being met.

Knowing what compliances are needed such as HIPPA and PCI help ensure the data centers willingness to allow auditors the ability to verify proper regulations and controls are in place.

3. Determine connectivity requirements and carrier service

The key to connectivity is having a carrier-neutral data center. If you are currently working with a telecom carrier, make sure they’re connected to that data center.

Facilities with many telecom providers offer lower Internet costs, MPLS networks, point-to–points and PRIs for PSTN termination and carrier cross connects.

Consider what options the data center can offer you. Many offer a blended product from two separate providers, rather than from a single carrier, which would be considered a single point of failure.

4. Inspect the data center support team

Knowing the type of support offered is important. This can save you time and money when it comes to sending one of your staff to do simple tasks such as rebooting services or tape rotation.

Do they offer 24x7x365 support? Is that support located onsite or through a 3rd party? Having local onsite support is key to a quick response time on any hands-on needs you may have. Some data centers offer remote hands while others offer only reboots.

Determine all service levels you require, skill level and certifications of staff, and the cost per hour for utilization.  This is critical if the site is not geographically near you.

5. Managed service agreement and service level agreement negotiations

Make sure to carefully review the MSA and SLA with your company attorney. Verbal negotiations and agreements will not hold much standing as data centers strictly rely on contract terms in the agreement.

Make sure to review all sections and pricing structures to avoid any issues or misunderstandings.

For more questions to ask when evaluating data centers << Download our free Colocation Checklist >>