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October 31, 2011

How to Choose a Colocation Data Center to Host Your Website – A SPN Exclusive Article

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Choosing a colocation data center for your servers is an important step in the growth of any business. There are a few important things to consider before choosing a data center. The following tips will save you a significant amount of money and improve uptime:

* Choose a location that is easily accessible to your business or by a reliable support technical team. This will help in reducing or preventing outages and minimizing downtime. Most major cities have hubs full of technical expertise and resources that can be available at the drop of a hat.

* The data center facility you choose should have a sufficient amount of room to expand. That way you do not have to worry about moving if the facility fills to maximum capacity.

Alternatively, be cautious of moving into an empty facility. You do not want to do business with a data center that has a failing business model.

* Consider your future colocation Internet bandwidth needs because Internet bandwidth prices can vary dramatically from data center to data center. It is wise to select a vendor that is capable of growing with your needs at the drop of a hat. Provisioning additional resources can often take weeks to prepare and install.

* When asking for colocation rates, make sure you ask for all prices including: rental fees, rack or cage setup, additional power, interconnection, additional technical support charges etc. Ideally, you want to find a provider that does not charge for remote hands service because it can be very costly. There is no need to pay a fee when there are state-of-the-art providers that offer it for free. These colocation providers who include remote hands service for free often have faster, more responsive and experienced technical service personnel who will be on site around the clock (24/7/365), when you need them most.

* Find out what type of colocation services they provide. Most colocation services offer One Server Colocation, Quarter Rack Colocation, Half Rack Colocation and Cage Colocation.

* Make sure the colocation provider has the necessary certifications for running a data center. For example, Internet T1, a colocation provider has technicians that are certified in CCNP, CCNA, ATSP: Internetworking, ATSP: IP Telephone, A+, Network +, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MCSE 2000, MCSE 3000, Network Application Management and Network Baseline Analysis.

* Make sure the data center offers support. A good colocation data center will provide client support 24 hours per day and 7 days a week.

* A colocation facility should have top-notch security. They should utilize video surveillance, state-of-the-art firewalls and fire detection systems. It is highly valuable to find a provider that has invested in state-of-the-art security, whereby digital surveillance cameras are throughout the facility, card key locks at every entrance and exits within the facility exist with an enforced access list, and personal locking cabinet(s) are provided. It is important to note that individual secure locking cabinets are much more secure than an open rack in a shared cage. However a shared cage can be more affordable than cabinets.

* Location, Location, Location: go with a provider who is located within a telco building or carrier neutral POP with diverse fiber connections to all carriers. The saying “Birds of a feather flock together” – meaning that there is a reason for all the carrier connections being in a telco colocation facility, mostly because of reliability for uptime of their equipment, ease of access and it being a centrally located facility for quick access and access to other network providers or customers.

* Choose a colocation service provider that is financially stable. Profitability means satisfied customers! A financially sound company allows for better pricing and overall technical security because there are no hidden/excess charges attributed to alleviating company financial burdens. A provider that is profitable will not cause you the frustration of a forced move due to bankruptcy. Choose a provider that has been consistently profitable for many years.

* Longevity translates to experience and stability in any industry. It is wise to find a colocation service provider that has proven itself over time, having survived the dot.com bust, moreover sustained business and growth repeatedly for numerous years. Look for a colocation service provider which has been in business for over 5 years.

* It is crucial for the provider to maintain an especially cooled environment for all of the servers it houses on a continual basis. Heat is the enemy of servers and network equipment. Having redundant A/C systems means that if any of the A/C systems fail, another A/C system is already helping to cool each separate colocation suite and can therefore take over as the primary cooling system. Choose a provider that has a state-of-the-art A/C system that provides air in each section of the facility redundantly.

* These days power consumption is costing businesses more and more. Consider negotiating an acceptable power amperage rate to service your servers. In many cases you can request lower power amp costs in the negotiation stage of your services. If over time you are finding your power consumption is more and more, don’t be afraid to ask for improved power pricing. Data centers should be providing A+B Power options, in other words if the main power supply to the building should fail it should have failover to UPS while diesel generators kick in to support the main load. These generators should be able to sustain power for potentially 1 week should a catastrophic event occur.


Drew Ferret is a business communications consultant at InternetT1.com, a full service ISP (Internet Service Provider) specializing in high speed Internet services, such as Ethernet Internet and data center colocation. Internet T1 offers a suite of other services that can improve the growth and value of your business, to learn more please visit Internet T1.

2 Responses to “How to Choose a Colocation Data Center to Host Your Website – A SPN Exclusive Article

    avatar Sophie says:

    Hi Drew, thank you for this article. It was very helpful. I read another article on this topic, which you might find interesting as well: http://ow.ly/aimFR

    Great information Drew – you really drilled down into some areas that many first time clients wouldn’t think to ask. The one area that I’d add is to have a discussion about downtime. There are a lot of providers out there that advertise 99.9% uptime, which your average consumer would assume is good, and that would be the end of the conversation. When in fact, 99.9% leaves almost a full working day of downtime per year, something that can be quite costly. While there are additional costs associated with going to 100% uptime, I think it’s important that a business have that conversation and really understand how much that’s worth to them.

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