Choosing the Right Data Center Provider

Even the most basic differences in data center facilities and data center colocation provider capabilities can have a major impact on a company’s overall performance. If a business experiences even a short amount of downtime, for example, the results could prove disastrous.

According to the National Archives and Records Administration, 93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more filed for bankruptcy within one year. In addition, a 2013 Forrester Research and Disaster Recovery Journal study found one in three companies have declared a disaster in the previous five years. And, an Aberdeen Group study reported the yearly average cost of downtime is $25,806 for a small company, $880,600 for a medium-sized company and $2,712,000 for a large company.

These alarming findings underscore the important role a data center plays in maintaining a healthy business. Because so much is at stake, companies must be extra diligent during the selection process for a data center provider.

What is Retail Data Center Colocation?

In a retail data center colocation model, businesses lease space from a data center provider. Typical solutions include secure space for computing and storage equipment, power and network connectivity. Data center colocation offers a cost-efficient alternative to building and maintaining a private or on-premises facility. As a result, companies of all sizes are increasingly migrating to a data center colocation model.

Other factors driving the adoption of data center colocation services include:

  • More rapid expansion and contraction of organizations due to M&A activity, organic growth, and economic downturns
  • More efficient design of applications and operating systems to support remote access
  • Budgetary pressures that drive more optimal utilization of expensive real estate and server housing environments

Three Reasons Businesses Consider Data Center Colocation

Businesses use data center colocation solutions for a variety of reasons – the top three include:

1. Primary or secondary data center site – Data center colocation provides off-site, physically secure space for IT equipment. When a company needs additional IT capacity, it may not be willing or able to make a huge capital investment to build a new data center or upgrade an existing facility.

In addition, a company’s data center requirements may be uncertain or fluctuate over time. Rather than risk over- or under- building an in-house data center, businesses instead choose a data center colocation solution.

2. Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning — Data center colocation is an essential part of an effective business continuity/disaster recovery strategy. In the event of a planned outage or unplanned disaster, it provides off-site data center reliability and security.

3. Remote Hands – A data center colocation solution offers on-site professionals to reboot servers, replace hardware, swap cabling and more. A company’s internal IT staff doesn’t have to travel to the data center to perform these functions.

Five Data Center Colocation Questions to Consider

When evaluating data center colocation services, you need to weigh the pros and cons of each candidate. Every data center solution you analyze will have strengths and weaknesses relative to your specific requirements.

Over the past few years, data center colocation services have seen an increase in demand. As a result, more and more providers are entering the market. If you do the proper due diligence and analyze your options carefully, you should be able to select a partner who will help optimize your IT performance.

Although you’ll likely have numerous questions you need answered, the following should be at the top of your list:

1. Is the data center conveniently located?

The right data center provider will provide ample flexibility to meet the specific requirements of any organization. For example, a data center colocation solution should offer numerous network access points at convenient locations.

2. Is the data center reliable?

A reliable data center provider employs state-of-the-art environmental controls to maintain proper temperature at all times. In addition, battery and generator backup systems ensure the facility stays up and running – even in the harshest of weather conditions.

3. Is the data center physically secure?

A properly protected facility is monitored 24/7 and protected by multiple layers of security. Smoke detection, fire suppression, water detection and key card access systems ensure the safety of the facility and your data.

4. Does the data center offer scalable, cost-effective solutions to meet your changing business needs?

In a data center colocation solution, you can manage the cost of housing and protecting mission-critical systems without incurring construction and other capital expenses to build new, or expand existing, IT facilities. With the right data center provider, you can license a half rack, full rack or cage with a predictable monthly fee. The ability to pay-as-you-grow lets companies scale when their needs change, enabling them to respond rapidly to changing business requirements.

5. Does the data center have access to high-speed network services?

A data center needs to be connected to the largest Ethernet networks in the area. Your data center provider should offer attractively packaged and priced services that include high-speed network connectivity of up to 1 Gbps at the data center and customer locations.

The Four Major Benefits of Data Center Colocation

Businesses of all sizes and types leverage data center colocation for a wide range of benefits, including:

  1. Cost – Data center colocation reduces the capital and operational costs of housing and protecting mission-critical systems. Traditionally, organizations have built new data center space to accommodate IT growth at a primary corporate data center or secondary sites. The “build-it-yourself” approach is costly and creates uncertainty as businesses try to predict and plan for future growth. Hidden costs can also creep into the lengthy and often delayed construction projects.
  2. Scalability – Modular, “pay-as-you-grow” design ensures businesses pay only for what they need and can scale capacity as they grow. You avoid the growing pains associated with maintaining on-premise data centers. Data center colocation allows you to use secure connections from any location to access data and provision equipment. Also, deploying servers at an off-site facility offloads internal corporate networks and frees them to support critical business applications.
  3. Physical Security – When properly built and managed, a data center will ensure industry leading physical security of equipment and data. At a minimum, the data center will offer secured entries and exits, 24/7 video monitoring, locks on all racks and cages, and proven processes for maintaining a secure facility.
  4. Reliability – Installing on-premises power redundancy is an expensive proposition. With data center colocation, you simply plug in your servers and take advantage of state-of-the-art UPS and backup generator systems. Data centers typically have the backup power capacity to power small towns for days.

In addition to redundant power, robust facilities will offer redundant cooling, environmental controls and network connectivity to help secure data and minimize downtime. This high level of redundancy provides businesses with the peace of mind knowing they can keep their business up and running, even in a disaster.

Download the “Choosing the Right Data Center Provider” Infographic

Want a handy guide on choosing the right data center provider? FairPoint Communications has summarized this discussion in an easy-to-read infographic. Download your copy today.

Learn More about FairPoint Communications

FairPoint’s data centers provide organizations with network connectivity and rack space in physically secure, reliable locations. Businesses can use these spaces as primary or secondary data center sites; and they can be employed as an essential part of a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy. FairPoint’s data centers are strictly controlled environments with essential power, cooling, connectivity and security features – including continuous video monitoring and keycard access at ingress points.

For data center colocation services that address your remote storage, off-site IT and disaster recovery requirements, call FairPoint Data Center Services (1.866.984.4001) or visit www.fairpoint.com/businessclassdatacenter.

FairPoint Communications

President
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