Outsourcing data center needs is increasingly becoming an option for companies that are looking to quickly expand their data center capabilities without building out their own facilities. More than likely, you’ll have an extensive array of choices. But, of course, choosing the right one requires taking into consideration a wide number of factors — including the specific needs of your company.
It would be a mistake to simply select a data center provider that meets your basic needs and meets your budget. Take a look at these features of a quality data center that won’t let you down — or end up costing you a bundle because of factors like unreliability and extended periods of downtime.
Check this list for contracting a data center services provider:
Certifications: Data centers, which are generally evaluated by the Uptime Institute, receive a classification based on the performance of their infrastructure, uptime and other factors that determine reliability. With each Tier Level, I through IV, the data center’s infrastructure costs and operational complexities increase, according to Uptime. Also, Tier IV centers are required to demonstrate a higher level of uptime. Uptime Institute recommends that companies analyze their business applications and needs when making a decision on data center providers.
Compliance: Depending upon your industry, it also is critical that a data center provider keeps you in compliance. Many companies face audits, including SSAE 16, NFPA, TIA-942, HIPAA, FISMA, FDA, PCI/DSS and Sarbanes-Oxley. Check to make sure that the data center providers you’re reviewing have the expertise with these audits.
Data Center Location: One of the most critical factors of a reliable data center provider is location. Assess it to determine the history of natural disasters in the area, including tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and floods. Other factors can include proximity to other businesses and first responders, like police officers and firefighters.
Facility: The data center building should feature state-of-the-art equipment, including cooling and updated infrastructure, including structural reinforcements. It also should be well guarded by security officials.
Redundant Power/Cooling: A quality data center should include quality generators, uninterruptible power supplies, power delivery, utilities, and cooling infrastructure systems. When talking to providers, ask specific questions about Service Level Agreements (asking about uptime); electrical and cooling; redundancy power architecture; backup systems; monitoring; and transformers.
While this list is not exhaustive, the process for identifying a data center provider should be extensive. During your research, ask for a tour of the facility and inquire about clients that are similar in size and industry as yours. It is also essential that you feel comfortable with the level of customer service.