Colocation provides for the installation of the company’s server in the common space of the data center. This service is popular with those organizations that do not have the ability to install servers on their own premises, as well as to ensure their stable operation:
- reliable power supply;
- improved bandwidth capacity;
- maintaining a stable indoor climate, including ensuring the necessary server cooling.
Collocation hosting is similar to dedicated hosting. However, when renting a dedicated server, the company gets to use the hardware and infrastructure of the provider. But in the case of colocation, it uses its own equipment, paying only for the use of infrastructure. How to choose a colocation provider from among dozens of offers? Let’s find out what you need to pay attention to.
Features of choosing a provider for colocation
The collocation service provides that the customer has their own server, which they must bring to the provider’s data center. The owner retains control over the software and hardware settings. In the meantime, the landlord guarantees the stable operation of the entire infrastructure, which ensures the normal, stable functioning of the equipment.
Choosing a reliable service provider is a serious matter, which should be treated with great responsibility. After all, any risks may have irreparable consequences for companies. A comprehensive review of proposals will help determine the best provider.
Find out how much power the provider is willing to offer. Discuss your requirements verbally, and then write them in the contract. High-density technologies will require significant power to run and cool blade servers. Power or cooling restrictions may come as an unpleasant surprise to you. It’s best to be aware of this as early as the negotiation stage.
Think about the location of the racks, because it determines the occupied area. If you rent a large space in a data center, it will not increase the performance of your equipment, but it will incur higher costs for your provider. Reduce the distance between server racks as much as possible, but not to the detriment of cooling, taking into account weight distribution on the floor. Check with your ISP to see if they can provide the extra power and cooling density of vertical racks. This is a great option for reducing the footprint.
The provider must be confident in the network operator. And even better, if he offers the owner of the server several options for connecting to different network operators. By the way, customers pay separately for telecommunications costs at the operator’s rate. But some providers network operators pay extra for lobbying interests. Find out what options your provider is willing to offer you, and choose the one that’s right for you.
Contract flexibility and SLA
Examine the service level agreements (SLAs) of several potential providers to choose the best option. It’s a good idea to have a lawyer review the proposals. He or she will be able to identify points of contention. And you pay attention to technical parameter guarantees: availability, response time, and scalability. Discuss with the vendor the points that raise your doubts or dissatisfaction.
Location and security
Make sure that the data center is in a safe location. It and the equipment inside it are not at risk from fire, floods, hurricanes, or unauthorized access. Make sure that the provider has considered all possible risks and protected against them with warning and security systems. It’s not a bad idea if the data center is physically accessible. Although the equipment can be managed remotely, you may need the participation and intervention of staff directly at the site of the server installation. By the way, the ability and security of access is other important parameter. Find out who can enter the server room, how the control and security system is organized, and whether there are organized checkpoints. Great, if the provider allows you to install client cameras in the hall, allowing you to remotely monitor the state of the equipment at any time.
Ask the provider to provide industry licenses, approvals, and certifications. It’s a good idea if the provider has a third-party audit confirming compliance with all industry standards.
To provide the necessary package of services, the ISP maintains a staff. Make sure that data center support services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All processes must be documented. Reporting documents should be sent to the client for a certain period of time.
Also clarify what services the colocation company is willing to take on. For example, it may be backup, disaster recovery, and so on. It is good if the provider offers assistance in hardware management and maintenance. In this case, you will not have to send employees to reboot the server. This is important if the distance from you to the data center is decent.
100% uptime is your goal. Find out whether the provider has thought of measures to ensure uptime. A power outage in the building, or a cooling system failure can cause a server to crash. Check with your potential provider to see what the protocol is for dealing with such a situation.
As a summary
Let’s briefly go over the main parameters that you should pay attention to when choosing colocation hosting.
- Choose a data center with a secure location and transport accessibility. A good option is an underground location in a major city. A bad option is an above-ground hangar in the Sahara desert, which you can only get to on a camel.
- Mandatory security tools – video surveillance, biometric locks, site security, checkpoint, visitor accounting, locks on the server cabinets. Do not agree to cooperate if the data center is guarded by a single guard at the checkpoint, and suspicious persons walk around the territory.
- Good technical support works without weekends and lunch breaks around the clock. A test appeal confirms that the specialists are ready to come to help instantly in any situation. Refuse to cooperate if it is impossible to get through to the company or you will be redirected from one department to another within half an hour.
- It is good if the provider has provided the building with high-quality cooling and ventilation systems, installed powerful generators and power-saving systems for uninterrupted power supply, and built a stable (duplicated) communication channel. Do not agree to trust the company’s equipment if you are offered a “place” in the damp basement of an apartment building, and only low-power uninterruptible power supply elements are provided in case of a power outage.
One last piece of advice. Check the references of third-party clients of the supplier. Earning and maintaining a reputation is hard enough. If a provider has behaved inappropriately in any way, you will be told about it.