The growth in colocation providers has grown exponentially over the past 10 years, making it challenging to research and select a reputable colocation partner. In part one of a two-part series, Site Selection Group will discuss how to vet a potential colocation partner. Reputable colocation providers build, manage and support enterprise class data centers with accompanying IT infrastructure that most corporations cannot realistically deliver in-house.
But vetting potential colocation partners—whether the need is for powered shell,wholesale colocation, a series of racks in a caged environment, data hosting or other mission critical operations means scrutinizing the essential details of every facet of the colocation operator. While the overall economics and projected savings in manpower and maintenance are key benefits, do not enter into a colocation relationship based solely on cost.
Tenants should consider the following things when vetting a potential colocation partner:
Choose a colocation partner for scalability and flexibility
The data center colocation provider’s ability to offer scalability across all sectors of its operations cannot be overemphasized. Business growth is an ongoing process that forces IT executives to project future demands with new technologies (such as cloud computing) into its network planning.
From a data center user’s standpoint, a scalability checklist should include the developer’s ability to increase power density, expand or reduce square footage, and add more services.
Some enterprise class colocation operators are better than others in meeting these demands. “Tenants tend to be solely focused on the upfront cost of the contract without taking a longer view,” explains Michael Rareshide, Executive Vice President of Site Selection Group, who negotiates mission critical and colocation projects for data center users. “In some cases, a slightly more expensive operator may be better equipped to adapt to a tenant’s growth over the life of the contract and ultimately becomes a significantly better solution,” he said. “You want to select a data center partner that will support you, not just a landlord housing equipment.”
Consider power density when selecting a colocation partner
As equipment densities escalate, the tenant’s IT department should expect that future deployments in the data center will reach 20, 30 or more kilowatts per rack. Certain colo providers are better equipped than others for available power and distribution, along with the enhanced cooling needs. Be sure the facility's available power will serve your future IT capacity, and examine the continuity of its power supply. Some questions to ask:
Examine the colocation partner’s ability to expand or reduce square footage
Enterprise data center operators need to plan colocation solutions with the customer to ensure that sufficient space is allocated for extra racks, rows or dense infrastructure systems. Some colocation providers may only offer new space necessitating non-contiguous cages or the movement of all existing equipment from one area of the facility to another. Some questions to ask:
Take into account value-added colocation services
Colocation providers often feature value-added services and technical expertise. The partnership between operator and colocation client should extend here. Some questions to to ask:
As colocation customers prepare to sign long-term agreements, an operator’s capabilities to deliver a robust facility with flexible custom-designed colocation solutions can provide the customer peace of mind that its future planning is being addressed.