Last week, a potential client followed up with me after receiving quotes from my company, Lifeline Data Centers, and a couple of other Midwest colocation firms, including a Chicago colocation facility. He was baffled at all the different pricing models he received; no two quotes looked the same. How could he compare apples to apples?
We have heard this same story from many clients, even if they're only shopping locally or regionally for Midwest colocation facilities.
An outsource data center facility typically provides:
- hardened building
- redundant power
- redundant cooling
- rack space, private cages, or both
- access to telecommunications services
- professional services
From this list of seven services, the first five related to facilities, or physical plant. It's pretty easy to compare building quality, power and cooling infrastructures. But outsource data center providers differ greatly on how they offer up space to clients. And security can also vary greatly.
Pricing models typically revolve around floor or rack space, power density, telecom circuits and professional services.
The most common pricing model is expressed in terms of dollars per square foot per month. Prices vary from $15 per square foot per month in certain markets to $100 per square foot per month for facilities in major metropolitan areas. Strangely, this pricing model does not accurately reflect quality, tier ratings or uptime levels. Flexible Rated-4 data center space can be found at the low end of the pricing spectrum.
In Part 2 of this series, I'll cover more details of pricing models, what you can expect, and what to watch for when you get your quotes from outsource data center providers.