What To Consider When Choosing A Colocation Data Center

Colocation is the latest "in" thing for data hosting, especially as more enterprises take advantage of cloud-driven web services. In terms of long-term cost and flexibility, colocation offers plenty of upsides seldom matched through managed or cloud hosting. If you've been thinking about climbing aboard the colocation train, then you'll need a data center that offers a good blend of rock-solid reliability, affordability, service and robustness. The following offers a few pointers that will come in handy for finding that ideal colocation facility.

Connectivity Matters

Colocation sites are usually divided into two camps:

  • Carrier-neutral sites allow any telecommunication provider to interconnect with the data center. Carrier diversity helps keep prices down and fosters competition, plus you can switch carriers without having to switch data centers.
  • Carrier-specific sites have a working relationship with only a single carrier. This arrangement offers stability and consistency, but it can be stifling to those in search of customized solutions.

Most customers prefer the wider access that carrier-neutral facilities offer. For instance, many businesses take advantage of this by utilizing a primary carrier for main connectivity and an alternate carrier for backup network services.

Looking At Availability And Reliability

A data center is only as good as its reliability. Not only should your chosen facility have a solid track record in terms of availability, but the service-level agreement (SLA) for your contract should clearly define said level of availability as well as the remedies and provisions for addressing unplanned issues. A strong SLA can mean the difference between an incident that's quickly and professionally resolved and a broken contract due to unsatisfactory service.

Tier standards offer a relatively simple and quick way of finding a colocation data center that offers robust performance. Ranging from Tier 1 to Tier 4, these standards not only focus on effectiveness in facility management, but also features that provide excellent reliability under a broad range of outage types.

It's also a good idea to find out as much as possible about the level of support on offer. Many facilities offer 24-hour, 7-days-a-week support, while others offer limited support. You should also consider whether you want to rely on any third-party maintenance performed by the colocation facility or if plan on installing and supporting your own equipment.

Consider How Much It'll All Cost

Price can be a big – if not the biggest factor – when it comes to choosing a colocation data center. It's difficult to put an exact number on colocation costs – estimates of monthly costs are between $1,800 and $2,200 per cabinet, not including installation charges and other potential fees.

How you choose the following will have a tremendous impact on your quoted price:

  • Rack and cabinet space – Most colocation facilities offer space on a per-cabinet basis (usually for small to moderate-sized businesses) or a per-square-foot basis (for large companies or those with outsized hosting needs).
  • Power requirements – Power charges can vary depending on the number and type of servers you run. Some facilities offer fixed-price per-outlet contracts, while others offer more flexible usage-based rates designed with fluctuating power needs in mind.
  • Cooling requirements – Depending on your equipment, you may need to invest in additional cooling systems to sustain your rack or cabinet.
  • Setup and support – Keep in mind there may be first-time setup costs associated with moving your equipment into the colocation facility, in addition to regular charges for support features.

As you compare quotes among vendors, make sure those quotes are for comparable facilities with equal levels of support. Some facilities may even be willing to reach out to new customers by offering their services at attractive rates. For more information, visit a specialist's website, such as http://colocationnorthwest.com.

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