Selecting a Colocation Provider


Selecting a colocation provider means choosing the right strategic partner to host your business IT or research computing infrastructure at their data center.

The right colocation provider will help you build and grow a flexible infrastructure in a scalable and cost-effective way. The wrong provider will slow down your application deployment, negatively impact the infrastructure availability and performance, and nickle and dime you for any additional services.


Strategy When Selecting a Colocation Provider

To make the best-fit choice for your company and be able to properly evaluate potential colocation partners, know your needs, goals, and what you are trying to accomplish.

Are you looking for a colocation to help you power, connect and cool equipment for a data-intensive computing environment, critical business revenue generator, project in development or anything in between?

Here is what to consider when selecting a colocation provider.


Uptime and Availability

Are you looking to colocate a test system which can tolerate some unscheduled downtime? Or a revenue-generator that will lose revenue if it is not always online and available?

If you are setting up and managing a revenue-generating system, you have to determine what does it cost your company if the systems are down for a second, minute, hour and day.

When selecting a colocation provider, choose the one with a data center that can provide you with the right uptime, support and advice to help you succeed. They should ask you about your availability requirements, provide you with different Service Level Agreement (SLA) options, and explain how they will make up, financially, any damage to your business in case of an outage caused by their facility.

The best colocation providers will credit you automatically for any downtime they caused, without waiting for you to call them and file a complaint. They will proactively let you know about the problem, how they are addressing it, and what the impact on your business will be.


Your Infrastructure Growth Potential

“Location, location, location” is not just important for residential and commercial real estate. Pay attention to the following colocation location variables:

1) Low latency connectivity from your end user to your product
2) Solid connectivity options
3) Power, space and cooling pricing
4) Third parties and vendors in your vertical market

Selecting a colocation provider with data centers in the right geographic market locations is very important to your customers. Low latency connectivity from your customers to your service or product is one of the best ways to deliver a good application experience. Choosing a colocation provider that can offer you low latency and great connectivity options in addition to the usual power, cooling and space services is a huge advantage.


Flexibility in Colocation Design

It is a common misconception that only public cloud gives you the required infrastructure flexibility. Colocations are even more flexible than the public cloud, because you cut out the middleman and purchase the infrastructure directly from the data center provider.

While most colocations offer the usual data center services, there are still differences that may be important to your particular situation.

Are you just starting out and need a quarter or half of a cabinet? An entire cabinet? Or multiple cabinets connected together?

Your infrastructure may require caged environments, with multiple security measures like cameras, bio-metric locks, privacy screening and slab-to-slab cage walls.

Or you may need specific power, cooling and cabling options, for example when running data-intensive infrastructure with high-powered compute requirements.

Flexibility in colocation design helps you always take advantage of optimized infrastructure components that meet your exact needs.


Security Requirements

Security should always be at the top of your list, especially if you are in the industry that requires additional regulation like PCI and SOC2 data center compliance.

Different colocations have different basic and advanced security, including compliances and certifications that you may need them to maintain on a regular basis.


Cloud Options and the Ease of Changing Services

Colocations are very flexible solutions. In addition to their data center services, colocations often have dedicated connectivity to public clouds (Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud).

This give you the best of both worlds - the ability to have a combination of data center bare metal or managed infrastructure, and integration with your applications in a public cloud.

When selecting colocations, select those that have the right cloud connectivity options for your needs.

Some colocations also provide flexibility in moving from one of their services to another, giving you a cost-effective way to pivot to a different solution that best meet your changing infrastructure needs. The ability to make such changes is extremely valuable because it saves you a lot of time (and money) when migrating from one solution to another.

Since the technology world moves at a rapid pace, changing services from time to time is inevitable.


Key Concepts

  For some workloads, using a colocation instead of a public cloud can give you much more flexibility and save you a lot of money.

  Colocations enable you to fine-tune your needs, and still provide managed solutions for situations where you don’t want to deal with managing your own hardware.

  Selecting a colocation provider that can help you achieve strategic business or research computing objectives will enable you to grow easier and faster.

  You will have fast, direct and secure connectivity to public clouds that you can use to integrate your systems and applications hosted in both the colocation and the cloud.

  You can reduce your monthly bills and transition from being nickel and dimed at a public cloud to having simple and predicable costs your CFO will love.