For IT leadership, choosing a colocation data center may create anxiety similar to what parents feel when deciding where their children will go to school. In either situation, you’re entrusting a third party with a big responsibility. And even though an organization may present itself well online or in brochures, you need to do some investigative work before making a decision.
Any reputable colocation facility will welcome inquiries and be happy to show you around. So think about what’s important to you, and make a list of questions to ask.
What You Need to Know
Reputation – If a data center has been in business for several years but has only two tenants, find out why. It could mean clients weren’t happy with the service. You could also search on your own for customer reviews of a colocation data center. There are plenty of online message boards where people discuss tech-related topics, and many online publications with articles about data centers. (A tip: Before accepting an article’s wisdom, click on the writer’s bio. Sometimes, contributing writers are data center executives, so their reviews may not be impartial).
Tenant diversity – A colocation data center that is sustained by revenue from one or two big clients could fail if those clients don’t renew their contracts. Ideally, you want to find a facility that houses multiple tenants, and many different types of businesses.
Medical and government contracts – Healthcare and government IT systems have heightened security and compliance rules, so their administrators thoroughly vet any colocation center before signing an agreement. A data center that has medical and governmental clients is likely superior to a center that lacks such clients.
Physical protection – If you live in an area prone to floods, earthquakes, tornadoes or severe winter weather, you should ask about a colocation data center’s ability to protect tenants from those threats.
Service levels – Your needs six months from now might be significantly different than they are today. Ask about the flexibility of client contracts, and whether you’d be able to scale-back or modify services with no penalty.
Support options – Ask what type of support is available as part of your lease agreement, and which services may be associated with a fee. Compliance consulting, for example, may not be a standard feature in all service agreements.
When you work with technology, numbers and data, you may not be accustomed to letting instinct and “gut feeling” influence your decisions. However, even when the facts indicate a data center is a good choice for you, you should still make an in-person visit to ensure it actually feels right.
Lifeline Data Centers welcomes people who are searching for a data center solution. Ask us what we can do for you – schedule your tour today.