Colocation providers aren’t all created equally, so when you’re shopping for a provider you need a checklist to optimize results. Remember: Your colocation provider is in charge of creating an infrastructure that holds your critical data. If you choose the wrong colocation provider, you and your business will suffer major losses—in fact, it could even end your business for good. This isn’t fear mongering, but rather a fair warning before you get led down the wrong path.
There are many ways colocation providers can take shortcuts to save money and boost their profits while their clients suffer the consequences. For example, maybe a colocation provider doesn’t offer around the clock human security. To save money, they may (or may not!) simply install cameras. There may or may not be trained security personnel watching the monitors on a regular basis. Not hiring human security personnel that’s trained and high quality is a great way for a colocation provider to save money, but not so great for you (the client).
Here’s what you need in a Utah colocation provider, or in a provider located anywhere in the world:
- Great scalability
Of course different colocation providers will be at different stages in their growth. Plus, some of them may want to remain boutique in order to focus more on customer service than snagging as many clients as possible. However, all colocation providers should be scalable for you. This means that as your business grows and changes, your new needs will be met now and in the future. This could mean customized solutions from your provider instead of fixed plans. Know just what kind of space, connectivity and power situations the provider offers. If a colocation provider doesn’t seem like they’ll scale up for your growth, find one that will.
- Speedy deployment
You’ve found a colocation provider who has everything you need, but how quickly will they deliver? Will your business be live and running immediately, or do you need to get in line? It doesn’t matter how great the services are, from brand new cross connects to extra rack space, if it takes forever to get them. Unfortunately, deployment isn’t always quantifiable. This means that when you’re negotiating your terms, there needs to be a clear timeline in place.
- Strong reliability
This one is a biggie. Don’t settle for anything less than 99.9 percent uptime, not even if you can get a “great deal” on 99.8 percent uptime. You should be able to find this in the agreement, and there should also be compensation in place if that number isn’t met. However, also look for reviews, feedback, what kind of on-site support is offered and certification that staff members hold. It’s pointless to focus on everything else but forget about reliability. The best provider in the world can’t help you if their uptime is low.
- Research the nearby Lemming Effect
You already know what this is, but this has nothing to do with your mom asking, “If your friends all jumped off a bridge, would you?” In the tech world, the Lemming Effect is a good thing. Check out how many other colocation providers there are in the area, regardless of how good they are. A lot of colocation providers in one area means it’s a great region for reliability and connectivity.
- Know how close staff members are to the data center
It’s possible to find the perfect data center—in a very remote area. The region might be virtually natural-disaster free and have premium connectivity, but what if something goes wrong and the closest staff member is 100 miles away? The location of the data center in relation to staff members is critical. Factors like natural disasters are crucial, of course, but that’s not the only consideration.
- Choose a financially stable provider
You’ve found the ideal colocation provider, but what if they close up shop in two years? This is a big decision and investment for you. While there can be no promises, aim to select a provider that will be open for at least another five years. You can gauge this with their current press releases, financial reports and financial history. Your due diligence can save you a lot of headaches down the road.
When it comes down to it, there are only so many guarantees a colocation provider can offer, so they matter a lot. Read the fine print, ask questions and choose a provider that gives you exactly what you want. If you just go with the first, easiest or cheapest choice, that poor decision will likely come back to bite you.