The COVID-19 pandemic has shown businesses that disaster comes in many forms and that a data disaster recovery plan is incredibly important. Data generation continues to grow exponentially, which means the demand being placed on businesses’ IT infrastructure is also growing exponentially. In a global economy dependent on digital networks, downtime and failures are increasingly unacceptable.
As we’ve seen during the past several months, colocation has made it possible for many businesses to keep their employees working remotely and their businesses open during the pandemic. But there are other operational and business benefits that come with colocation, like better connectivity and the ability to focus your in-house resources on your core business competencies instead of day-to-day data center management.
Wherever your company is in its digital transformation, colocation can help accelerate it by smoothing the transition to a hybrid or cloud IT model without having to increase capital expenditures every time your data needs expand.
Whatever your reasons for choosing colocation, planning ahead lets you evaluate your options. To find a colocation data center that’s the best fit for your business, keep these five things in mind:
1. Is it in the right location in the event of a disaster?
Make sure the colocation facility is close enough to your center of operations for fast data recovery while being far enough away that it’s not likely to be impacted as well. Also, be aware that there are different regulations pertaining to data security between where the data is being stored and where it’s being used. Energy costs can vary significantly by region, making it an important variable to consider when looking at the total cost of ownership.
2. How confident are you in the facility’s SLA?
Be sure to know if the facility you’re considering has an uptime guarantee, how they measure uptime and whether the guarantee accounts for planned downtime. It’s also important to determine if they have clearly defined security precautions and procedures in place, as well as if the facility guarantees minimum standards for environmental conditions. The power, cooling and networking capabilities of any colocation provider you’re considering should at the very least match that of your primary data center. Finally, how will you be compensated if they can’t meet their end of the SLA?
3. Will the colocation provider be able to meet your future business requirements?
In the midst of, or just after, a crisis, it’s easy to forget to take future data requirements into account. Consider the facility’s ability to expand and adjust to growing demand. Are they able to meet your long-term business goals—the future technologies you hope to integrate and services you want to provide? As your business changes, is there the flexibility to modify the terms of your SLA?
4. What does the facility offer in terms of ongoing monitoring and maintenance?
Again, make sure a facility has the technical support to meet your immediate concerns, but look beyond that baseline to what other managed services they offer. This is where real value can be found by freeing up your team's time to focus on advancing your business objectives. However, make sure you’re not giving up too much visibility into network infrastructure and performance.
5. Do they take advantage of converged infrastructure solutions?
Choosing a colocation provider with strong physical infrastructure is critical, since your network can only be as strong as its physical layer. Are they stitching together components from disparate vendors, or can they provide you with a converged infrastructure solution that works seamlessly as a whole? Between racks and cabinets, patch panels, grounding systems and cabling, it can be difficult to create an agile infrastructure that can scale easily and won’t be thrown off-balance every time something is moved, added or changed. Converged infrastructure solutions like those offered by Panduit combine physical infrastructure and logical network systems into one offering in order to minimize complications.
Panduit’s pre-configured modular systems are fully tested and validated, seamlessly integrating logical systems with the physical layer to optimize performance, network visibility and thermal management. They go a long way in simplifying, securing and speeding up the process of deploying a colocation solution, so you’ll be ready for whatever comes next.
Learn more about Panduit’s converged infrastructure solutions here.
Mike Gallagher, Senior Business Development Manager of Global Data Center Solutions, leads global strategy for the colocation business. Mike’s team is responsible for understanding customer needs and positioning Panduit solutions for success. Key focus areas include market analysis, go-to-market planning, and evangelizing Panduit’s colocation offering among stakeholders across Panduit and its partner organizations. Mike has more than 20 years of technology industry experience. Prior to joining Panduit in 2017, he worked in the data center protection solutions industry for a Silicon Valley Fortune 500 software company, where his many accomplishments included the launch of a data center appliance that was named storage product of the year by CRN magazine.