There’s no shortage of advice out there on how to choose a cloud provider. But what about colocation companies? Which factors should you consider when comparing one colo to another?
That depends on exactly what you’re hoping to get out of colocation, of course. But in general, the following guidelines will help you choose the best colocation provider for your use cases.
One of the most common reasons for hosting workloads in a colocation facility instead of a public cloud is that colo providers typically offer data centers in places where cloud providers don’t. That’s important if you need to place workloads in a specific geography to minimize latency, for example.
However, some colos offer more data center locations than others. Some also offer data centers closer to population centers or other priority geographies than others.
Depending on where your workloads would ideally be hosted, the number and types of data center locations may be a main factor in selecting a colocation provider.
Some colocation providers offer managed services. The specific types of services may vary widely, from hardware deployment and management, to data backup, to managed security services and beyond.
If you want help managing your infrastructure, consider services like these. On the other hand, if you have the resources to manage everything yourself and just need data center real estate, managed services won’t be a factor when choosing the best colocation provider for you.
While virtually all colocation facilities provide high-performing network connectivity solutions, their interconnect options can vary in diversity and performance. If you need specific types of networking solutions – for instance, if you need to connect your colocated infrastructure to a specific public cloud – compare the interconnect offerings of different providers.
Most colocation companies offer power backups, redundant networking and other resources that can increase the resiliency of workloads running in a colocation facility. But here again, some colos offer more than others.
Some may provide disaster recovery services to help customers restore disrupted environments, for instance. Some may also offer guarantees that their data centers can withstand specific types of disasters, such as floods and hurricanes.
If you need highly available workloads – and who today doesn’t? – compare the resiliency guarantees of colocation providers.
A final factor to consider when selecting a colo is the history – and future outlook – of the colocation provider. How long has it been around? Does it have a history of disruption-free service? Is it likely to be acquired by a larger provider?
While newer colos are by no means inherently inferior, those that have established records of delivering reliable data center facilities are likely to keep doing so. You probably wouldn’t choose a public cloud that just began operating yesterday, and you may want to think similarly about choosing a colo.
From location to resiliency to managed service offerings and beyond, colos come in many shapes and forms. Be sure to evaluate them holistically – and think about more than just price, a factor that is so basic we haven’t included it on this list – to find the right colocation provider for your needs.