In recent years, an increasing number of data center providers of all sizes have been including colocation within their critical infrastructures. In fact, 451 Research predicted that the global data center colocation market will reach $36 billion within the next two years.
However, with so many available choices, SMBs are having a difficult time selecting the best provider. There are a few key considerations these companies can make to help ensure they are choosing the colocation vendor that will best suit their needs. Let’s take a look at these key
considerations and questions to ask:
1) Where are data centers located?
Continuity Central contributor Roger Keenan noted that while location may not seem like an important consideration, it is actually critical. Although the colocation provider will take care of much of the upkeep and maintenance of the business’s equipment, the company should still be able to access this hardware when necessary.
“It’s vital you can access equipment quickly and conveniently to make changes and investigate any problems, as if there is a real crisis, fast access will likely be a lifesaver,” Keenan wrote. “So, hosting operations in a location that your business and your most critical people can access in a timely manner is essential.”
2) Are there fail safes in place for optimal performance and disaster recover?
Another key consideration to make comes in connection with service performance and disaster recovery. SMB decision-makers should examine the provider’s infrastructure and ask about redundant systems to ensure that services will perform at their best. In addition, it’s also imperative to ask about disaster recovery and what processes take place in the event of an outage or other event.
“Any latencies or points of failure need to be eliminated or minimized to ensure the performance of your business applications,” Data Center Knowledge contributor Bill Kleyman noted. Redundant systems ensure your business will continue to operate and serve your customers, no matter what unforeseen events may arise.”
3) Is there adequate connectivity to support the business's needs?
SMBs should also examine their connectivity options within the data center to ensure that there will be adequate resources to not only support current demands, but future initiatives as well. In this way, scalability is key.
Keenan noted that diverse connectivity is critical, especially for complex, mission-critical applications. In addition, if the organization is anticipating a considerable amount of traffic – such as that related to international events or a new website launch – it is essential that the data center be able to provide access to an array of nearby connectivity suppliers.
4) How much will services cost?
Cost is an especially important consideration for smaller business with less expansive IT budgets. Cost will vary depending upon the services being provided, the needs of the business and the market in which the provider resides. Keenan pointed out that in markets with only a handful of providers, costs will likely be higher. Areas with more diverse options, such as California or northern Virginia, will often charge lower rates in order to be competitive with other vendors in the region.
Overall, choosing the best colocation provider is key, particularly in the SMB industry. By examining available options and asking the right questions, small and mid-size business will be able to select the vendor that is best equipped to meet their needs, now and into the future.