TOP-6 questions to ask when selecting a colocation data center
August 25, 2022
Collocations offer space and all-set infrastructure for companies to place their own IT assets there, under lease. However, along with the quick and cheap deployment and scalability they provide, multi-tenant data centers are more vulnerable to unplanned downtime, inefficient electrical operations, and more frequent equipment failures. All these risks and desire to avoid financial losses make the collocation customers carefully seek a reliable partner to entrust their valuable data and assets.
The Internet is full of information and recommendations for colocation costumes on how to make the right choice of a rented data center. But we decided to make an analysis and filter the TOP-6 questions to a colocation provider from the perspective of physical infrastructure. The right deployment and 360° asset observation is almost half a success, because that’s what ensures the safest conditions for the housed servers, helps timely respond to any critical events, and avoid damage to co-located businesses. Here we go!
1. What level of security will you provide for my co-located server?
What you expect to hear is that the colocation data center follows the most efficient and reliable techniques and methods to ensure the highest level of security for the hosted and managed servers from all perspectives. Even better, if the statements can be evidenced in writing, by certificates issued upon third-party audits of all security systems. Colocations successfully passed security examinations proves that they comply with the standards, the highest among which are SAS70 Type II and SSAE SOC 1 Type II.
From geographical position of the building to individual video surveillance in server rooms – a secure data center fulfills all the requirements and have the necessary parameters in place:
- Physical site
The physical location of a colocation should be stable and easy-to-reach. At the same time, it’s better when it’s placed in a low traffic area, with all outside infrastructure fenced off and monitored 24/7. The colocation room should have no outward-facing windows.
- Physical security systems
The security systems must be equipped with physical barriers and components to protect all internal and external assets from unauthorized access and malicious actions. Such components usually include cages, doors with ID-card readers, two-factor authentication, locking systems, 24/7 video surveillance, sound and visual alarms. The data from these components should be transferred to a Network Operations Center (NOC), where operators continuously monitor the performance and health of the entire colocation network.
Ideally, the status of physical infrastructure should also be provided to NOC along with the data from the physical security components. Here’s a common list of infrastructure parameters critical to observe:
- Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)
- Lightening level
- Smoke detection
- Air quality (including gas concentration)
- Liquid leaks
- Uninterruptible power supply (UPS)
- Load distribution and vibration
- Logical security controls
While physical security measures serve as external protection, logical security constraints prevent computer systems and data storage from intrusions on a programmable level.
2. Will I have an opportunity to access my co-located equipment on demand?
The colocation owner should provide such conditions so that you can access your assets at any time. It may be applied via independently locking quarter, half, and full cabinets so servers can only be accessed by their authorized owners.
3. Is it your cooling system failsafe?
Maintaining the proper temperature in server rooms is about half the cost of operating a colocation data center. But potential losses from equipment damage caused by its heating are times higher for your business. The cooling system must work seamlessly to ensure the temperature of about 20℃ to 24℃, as required.
4. What measures do you apply for energy efficiency?
It’s not a surprise, but power consumption matters a lot! The latest, energy-saving techniques applied in a colocation can cut your costs by almost 40 percent.
5. Does the provider offer colocation support and what level of support does it provide for disaster recovery?
As it was mentioned in the answer to the first question, your colocation provider should ensure the highest level of physical and logical security of your assets. Yet, outrages and emergency events happen, so you need to get ready for any by defining the recovery plan and items to include in a service level agreement (SLA). Along with an uptime guarantee, these should provide clear estimations of the maximum response time for support requests. On-site assistance should be very fast, within one hour, because such problems must be addressed immediately. You should have an opportunity to reach out to them at any time, by any communication means.
Data center support technicians should be available to you at any time onsite, by phone, email, or web-based support portal in the event of a problem.
6. Will you have the capacity to adapt to my growing business?
Your colocation provider should have the capacity, in both infrastructure and resources, to locate and power your additional equipment if your business needs to scale. Ask their support team about a common plan for such cases. Talk to other customers of this colocation to learn how their expansion requests were met and supported.
How Prylada helps with monitoring of your co-located equipment
Even if you are already using services of a colocation data center, and you would like to get more observability of your equipment hosted there – no worries. Prylada will take care of your vital IT assets installed in collocation facilities and will improve their operational reliability. Whenever you lease a rack or a full data center space, you can monitor the preferred infrastructure parameters by connecting Prylada to the relevant assets. You will especially benefit from overall monitoring if you use a mix of in-house and third-party data center services.
Prylada aggregates as much actionable data as you need to help you improve efficiency and resiliency of your equipment. With the received data, you can make more accurate analysis, forecasts and decisions on the uptime, power consumption, environmental conditions, and billing. A full picture of operational processes also helps you define the necessity for extra space and improve capacity planning. With Prylada, you will get the maximum value out of your assets along the life cycle of your leased or temporary data center, while ensuring solid longevity of the equipment. Contact us to discuss a solution for your particular case or request a demo at firstname.lastname@example.org.