Colocation providers vary as much as businesses do. Each one can offer something different to its potential client, making it difficult for a business owner to choose which one best suits their company’s needs. Colocation facilities are popping up all over America, with 22 in the state of Utah alone. With so many making an appearance, deciding which one is the best choice for your specific business can be tough. There are, however, different factors to take into consideration that can help making the decision process a little easier.
Not all colocation centers are going to last. The last thing you want to do is establish yourself as a client with a center by investing your time and money with them and then be told that the facility doesn’t have the funds to continue operating and will be shutting down. Not only does that mean you have to begin your search all over again, but also that you have wasted valuable time on a center that wasn’t worth it in the long run.
Make sure you conduct plenty of research when looking at colocation centers. You can read financial reports, press releases, and any financial reporting written about or released by a facility. You want a provider that will be able to support you and your business for at least five years.
Some businesses require large amounts of equipment in order to have a smooth and reliable online presence. Many colocation centers only support cabinets up to a certain weight and a certain amount of power. This can be a problem for heavy enterprise IT cabinets and storage arrays.
Have an idea as to how much space your equipment will need and how much power you’ll require when deciding on a colocation provider. You can find one with stronger floor builds and higher power cabinets.
As your business grows over the next few years, you want your colocation provider to be able to grow with you. Different providers offer different ranges of flexibility. Some may refuse to offer you the extra power or space you need as your hardware and software becomes more powerful, while others might look at unorthodox solutions that may or may not fit your needs.
Look for a facility that will provide customized solutions (if available) and demonstrates an ability to be flexible with power, connectivity, and extra space. The last thing you want to do is deter your business by choosing a provider that can’t grow with you over time.
Because you own your server and are responsible for updates, repairs, and maintenance, it’s important to have a colocation provider that is close by and easily accessible. If your hardware malfunctions and your provider is a good distance away, your company is losing money the longer your equipment is down. There are also areas that are more prone to natural disasters than others. If your provider is in an area that experiences forest fires, earthquakes, floods, or tornadoes, then there’s a pretty good chance your expensive equipment is at risk of being severely damaged.
Responsible centers will have taken this into account when building the facility, but it is worth taking the time to research the geographical area around the center to be precautious.
A provider should have a minimum of five 9s uptime, which is how reliability is measured in the world of data centers. This means that they are reliable at least 99.999% of the time. You can ask about this when you visit different facilities while deciding which to give your business to.
Every colocation provider should offer numerous services for your disposal. This includes on-site support (24/7 is best) and consistent security. Ask if employees are certified and additional customer feedback. Getting in contact with current clients is a sure way to hear honest thoughts and opinions about their providers.
By the time you settle on your colocation provider, you’ll be itching to get your business online as quickly as possible. Make sure your provider understands the importance of time and the impact it can have on your business. Ensure that swiftness is a necessity when waiting on additional space to become available, certain tools you may need from them or anything you believe will enhance your ability to run your business.
If you find in your research that certain centers don’t have a good record communicating timelines with their clients, then you shouldn’t invest your time with them.