Last month a small business owner came in to talk about using our data center (colocation) facilities to house his money-making, customer-facing computer systems. He has had some downtime at his main office, both with electrical problems and with his telecom carrier. He realizes he needs to do something to improve his computer system reliability, but he came in with the mindset that there is no such thing as affordable colocation.
The reality is that his needs are not much different from large enterprise data centers. How so?
- He realizes that downtime costs him both credibility and hard-dollar sales
- He is capable of managing his customer-facing website, so he doesn't necessarily need IT services
- He needs a place where the power never goes off and where the Internet bandwidth never goes down
So what should he look for? Depending on hist cost of downtime, he could probably benefit from a facility with tier III or higher rated data center characteristics . These top two tiers offer the best uptime levels available. He would also benefit from a carrier neutral data center that doesn't charge monthly cross-connect fees; that way he can shop for the best price/service combination from multiple telecom carriers. Finally, he should look for a data center that allows him to start small and grow incrementally if needed. A "pay as you grow" pricing model makes colocation much more affordable.
Shopping for flexibility in a data center is a winning strategy for both large enterprises and small businesses. And oddly enough, this small business owner's needs are very similar to most of our large enterprise data center clients.