Top Challenges Businesses Face When Choosing a Colocation Provider

img blog Top Challenges Businesses Face When Choosing a Colocation Provider

For many businesses, keeping up with ever-growing data storage needs can be a challenge. In-house solutions are often less than ideal because they require significant investment in equipment and ongoing maintenance while taking up precious space. This is where colocation providers come in.

Colocation facilities offer businesses a secure and reliable space to house their IT infrastructure, such as servers and storage devices. However, keep in mind that not all colocation providers are the same, with each possessing different capabilities and strengths. As a result, there are several challenges you, as a business, must consider when selecting a colocation provider so you can get the most value for your investment.

Can the colocation provider support your power needs?

Different colocation facilities offer varying levels of power capacity and support. This makes understanding your current and future power requirements crucial, especially because many data centers were designed for older equipment with lower power demands.

In contrast, today’s hardware requires significantly more power and cooling. That’s why you should always discuss your specific needs with a provider to ensure they can handle your current and projected power consumption.

Can the provider accommodate your space requirements efficiently?

While renting more space might seem like a straightforward solution, it’s not always the most cost-effective approach. Efficient rack layouts and proper cooling management can help you maximize space utilization within the colocation facility, saving you money. Look for providers who can accommodate denser equipment configurations, allowing you to fit more equipment in a smaller footprint.

Does the provider offer a robust and reliable network infrastructure?

A critical aspect of colocation is secure and reliable network connectivity. Poor or inconsistent connectivity can disrupt productivity or trigger downtime. To prevent either issue, you should look for providers who are carrier neutral, meaning they offer connections to multiple network carriers. This enables you to choose the most reliable and competitively priced network options for your business needs. Redundancy is also essential, so make sure the provider has a network infrastructure with built-in redundancy to minimize downtime in case of any network outages.

Does the provider meet your industry’s data security and privacy regulations?

Data security and privacy regulations vary depending on your industry and location. For example, regulations governing data storage can differ greatly between the United States and the European Union.

To avoid breaching any of these regulations, you should choose a colocation provider that adheres to the specific compliance requirements your business needs to meet. Ask different providers if they have the necessary policies, procedures, and technologies in place to ensure your data remains secure and compliant with relevant regulations.

Does the provider offer reliable and responsive technical support?

Technical support is crucial when choosing a colocation provider. During emergencies or unexpected situations, a competent and readily available support team can resolve issues and restore operations quickly. Thus, you should assess a provider’s support offerings, including their staff qualifications, experience level, and availability. Understanding a provider’s response protocols and capabilities helps you set clearer expectations whenever a technical issue occurs.

Does the provider’s growth potential align with your business goals?

Choosing a colocation provider is a long-term decision. It’s important to consider your future IT needs and growth plans; otherwise, you risk growing beyond what a colocation provider can support. Discuss your future goals with potential providers to ensure they have the capacity and services to support your business as it expands.

Does the provider offer a robust SLA with clear guarantees?

A service level agreement (SLA) outlines the specific services a colocation provider guarantees, including uptime and performance metrics. Avoid SLAs that rely on vague terms such as “best effort,” which indicate a lack of commitment to sufficient protection against service disruptions. Look for providers who offer clear and measurable SLAs.

Furthermore, always check if an SLA outlines how the provider measures and reports service level quality to you, as this displays both their commitment and their capacity to address any deficiencies.

Is the colocation facility’s location suitable for your needs?

A colocation facility’s location should also be a major consideration, depending on your concerns and priorities. If disaster recovery is a primary concern, then you should choose a facility geographically separated from your main location, minimizing the risk of a single event (e.g., natural disaster) affecting both locations.

On the other hand, if your IT staff needs regular access to your hardware, then accessibility also becomes a priority. If improving global presence is your goal, choose a provider with facilities strategically located near your target markets to better meet their needs.

Does the provider’s contract clearly outline all associated costs?

While major costs such as rent and power are typically upfront, colocation providers may have additional fees that aren’t always readily apparent. These hidden fees can include setup and change fees, network bandwidth and connectivity costs, and charges for redundant power or other advanced features, such as backup and data protection services. As much as possible, avoid providers that attempt to sneak these hidden costs past you.

Speak with a Liberty Center One expert to learn more about colocation and how to find the colocation provider that’s right for you. Contact us today.