It can be a big step to move your IT infrastructure from the ‘safety’ of your main office into a data centre facility. While colocation services can save you both time and expenditure, there are some things that are important to consider when you’re selecting a facility. We’ve listed the ten most important considerations below. Get them right and your move can deliver all the benefits you’re expecting.

1. Data Centre Location

It’s important to consider the location of the facility. Is it conveniently located for your staff and are there any potential risks to its ongoing service?

Think about how often you’ll need to visit the data centre and how easily this can be done. Sometimes, your technical staff will need to access your equipment for maintenance. How far is the data centre from where they’re based? Can they easily drive there or use public transport?

Data centres located in areas prone to flooding, next to busy roads in central urban locations have intrinsic risks. Err on the side of caution and select a data centre that has minimal physical threats.

2. Connectivity

Fast and resilient network connectivity is imperative. Make sure the data centre service provider or a third-party supplier present in the facility can offer you the connectivity you need. If you already have an agreement with a specific carrier, ensure the data centre permits connection with them and that the associated charges are fair.

3. Power

It’s important to understand how much power is supplied to the data centre and whether it is scalable. A few questions asked now, could save a lot of time and money in the long term. How is power supplied to the facility? Is it possible to increase power in the future and would it be prohibitively costly?

Look at the specifications the providers publish. The facility should be N+1 as a minimum and N+N ideally, on main supply, UPS and generator backup systems. We advise diverse A + B PDUs, fed from separate electrical systems, along with a power strip monitor, ensuring that power usage is accurately monitored and billed.

4. Security

Bear in mind both the physical access security as well as IT systems. Most data centres will present certain standards of physical security infrastructure, e.g. biometric security systems, card and pin entry. These are all useless if they’re not implemented. We recommend you take a site visit so you can witness procedures and practices first-hand.

5. Protection

Check the data centre has systems in place to monitor the electrical and mechanical health of the facility. These should be monitored by the onsite team of technical professionals, as well as the provider’s remote network operation centre (NOC).

6. Future-proofing

Think about the future when you’re making decisions for today. Consider the implications of increasing demand in the coming years and try to gauge how well the data centre in question would be able to accommodate this growth. The cost, time and service consequences of having to move your IT infrastructure to another data centre sometime in the future is likely to be significant. Try to avoid having to go through the upheaval.

7. Flexibility

It’s important to understand how flexible the facility is and whether they might allow additional rack space to an existing commitment. If so, consider too whether they require all equipment from the same supplier.

Furthermore, is it possible to be flexible with cooling, power, network connectivity and bandwidth?

If your organisation’s forecast requires the need for flexibility to expand into tailored areas, ensure that your data centre can accommodate these requirements.

8. On-site support

If the location is distant to your site, assess what resources are in place at the facility should on-site support be required. Does the service provider offer 24/7 remote hands and eyes with which they can address issues?

9. Reliability

Look for a provider that can offer a minimum N+1 design, which should result in maximum system uptime and resiliency. Ask for their uptime track record and for clearly defined service level agreement (SLA), which would compensate you if you experience any downtime.

10. ISO Accreditations

Pay attention to the ISO accreditations of the facility. These certify the competence of the provider, reinforcing their credibility when looking at colocation options.

  • ISO 27001 refers to the security management of the facility and ensures security controls are in place to protect data
  • ISO 9001 shows an effective quality management system exists at the data centre
  • ISO 14001 demonstrates the data centre’s commitment to energy efficiency and environmental management

Good answers and you can go forward positively

If you get good answers to all these questions from a service provider you’re considering, you’ll be in a great place to go forward with a positive decision.

IDE Group can support your search, as we have relationship with a large number of data centre service providers and we quickly shortlist facilities that potentially meet your needs. We can also arrange site visits, bespoke SLA and facilitate stand-alone requirements that many other providers simply will not offer.