Chris Alberding is Vice President of Product Management for FairPoint Communications.
Migrating to a new data center facility presents major challenges that must be addressed to avoid costly mistakes. In particular, moving all or part of your IT operation to a data center colocation provider requires not only a thorough evaluation of the facility, but also of the provider’s stability. Here are five aspects of data center migration you must thoroughly analyze:
How the Provider Got into the Data Center Business
You want a data center colocation provider that thoroughly understands the industry, not a company that saw the growth and profitability prospects and decided to jump into the business. Research how the provider got to where it is today.
Does it have a long track record operating colocation data centers? How did it enter the industry and grow its business? Did it purchase data center operations from multiple providers? A significant amount of merger and acquisition activity in a provider’s background may create some instability.
In addition, a provider who leases its facilities instead of owning them may not provide the stability or peace-of-mind required for your business-critical IT assets. You may also be subjected to price increases as the provider attempts to recoup its acquisition costs.
How the Provider Services its Customers
A good provider will have local, on-site expertise and assistance available whenever customers need it, as well as a track record of quick response times. A provider with many acquisitions in its history may have trouble providing consistent service. Restructured workforces and employee attrition could lead to service issues. You must carefully evaluate whether a prospective provider can meet and exceed your expectations.
How the Provider Determines its Data Center Footprint
Where your provider’s data centers are located could affect your future operations. Even if the location and provider you select meets your requirements today, there’s no guarantee they will continue to do so in the future.
For example, if a provider acquires another data center provider’s locations, it may end up with facilities within close proximity of each other. If this is the case, the acquiring provider may decide to eliminate some locations. If your location is on the chopping block, you will incur the time, effort and cost to relocate your facility. The best option is to partner with a provider that owns and strategically locates its facilities.
How the Provider Bundles its Services
A major benefit for data center customers is access to facility resources and network connectivity. Does your provider offer these capabilities on its own, or does it need to partner with a third-party? In some scenarios, partnerships may not last in the long term. And a discontinuation of the partnership will affect your services.
For example, once the network and data center services are decoupled, a significant portion of the value proposition is lost. Customers will need to deal with two service providers that may not be able to offer seamless and cost-efficient service. One-stop shopping experiences backed by strong SLAs and competent on-site staff create an attractive value proposition.
How Reliable are Provider Services?
Since unexpected outages could cost you in terms of lost revenue, productivity and more, you should select a data center colocation provider with the fewest number of service outages in their history. To determine the level of reliability, you want to analyze a provider’s security systems, fire suppression systems, environmental controls and other measures. For example, working with Security Operations Center (SOC)-certified data centers can help assure businesses that the facility offers state-of-the-art systems and procedures.
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