How to Choose a Data Centre
At CORETX, we understand that every business has different requirements which is why we offer access to over 100 data centres in the UK and 100s globally.
It can be a big step for a business to move their IT infrastructure from the 'safety' of the main office, into a data centre facility. But it need not be difficult or cause concern, however there are some things you need to consider when contemplating a move to colocation services.
Placing your infrastructure within the wrong data centre can cost you and your customers both time and money. However, if you select a facility based on accurate information, colocation services can save you both time and increased monthly expenditures.
Top 10 Things to Consider
Here are our top 10 key considerations when choosing your site:
Consider the geographical location of the facility, look at the surrounding area to ensure any hazards are kept minimal and analyse the risks around the site. Is it located near a floodplain or an airport or near a potential fire hazard hotspot?
Accidents can happen and to ensure that your IT infrastructure remains secure, it is often best practice to edge on the side of caution and select a data centre that has minimal physical threats. A further consideration is ease of access, are you able to drive straight to the site, or use public transport? Is there suitable access to aid with the installation of your equipment? Think about how often you will need to access the data centre and how easily this can be done, taking into account the future as your demand grows.
Network connectivity is imperative to any business, if you want connectivity choices, make sure the data centre service provider can offer them, or that 3rd party suppliers are present in the facility. If you have a chosen carrier already, ensure that the data centre permits you to connect with them and there are minimal charges associated to this. Many data centre operators charge annual rental fees on internal cable runs in addition to high initial prices.
It is important to understand how much power is supplied to the data centre and whether this is scalable, a few questions asked now, could save a lot of time and money in the long term: Can you increase your power in the future, is it a costly procedure?
How is the power supplied to the facility? Ensure the site has N+1 as a minimum and N+N ideally, on main supply, UPS and generators backup systems.
We advise diverse A + B PDUs which are fed from separate electrical systems, along with a power strip monitor, ensuring that their power usage is accurately monitored and billed.
Bear in mind both the physical access security as well as the IT systems. Most data centres will adhere to a certain standard of security infrastructure, e.g. man traps, biometric security systems, card and pin entry etc, but these are useless if the procedure to use them is not followed.
Watch how you are treated on a site visit, which we would recommend, if its easy for you, then you should be aware!
Ensure that the data centre has the essential systems in place to monitor the electrical and mechanical health of the facility, which ideally should then be reported back to NOCs and the onsite team of technical professionals.
Thinking ahead is paramount to make practical provisions for the future of your organisation. Consider the implications of increasing your demand within the coming years, and try to gauge how well you perceive the data centre in question is able to accommodate this demand.
The cost implications of moving your IT infrastructure to another data centre because of the inability to cope with your rising demand may have larger consequences than you first perceive.
Try and understand how flexible the facility is, will they allow you to add more rack space to your existing commitment? If so, do they require that all of the equipment is from the same supplier?
Furthermore, can you be flexible with your cooling, power, rack space, network connectivity and bandwidth? If you forecast that your organisation will need the flexibility to expand in areas that are tailored to you, ensure that your data centre will accommodate these requirements.
If the location is further away then you must contemplate the procedures in place at the facility should you need support on site. If your server needs a re-boot, are you going to make the journey to the data centre to deal with the situation? Alternatively, does your service provider offer remote hands and eyes with which they can address the issue at hand, saving you from making an unnecessary trip to the facility? Is the site manned 24/7 is also an important question.
Look for a provider that can offer a minimum N+1 design which should result in maximum system uptime and resiliency. Look for a provider delivering 100% uptime, along with a clearly defined service level agreement (SLA), which pays you back if you experience any downtime.
Pay attention to the ISO accreditations that the facility has, these certify the competence and credibility of the provider, and are something to consider when looking into your colocation options.
ISO 27001 refers to the security management of the facility which should ensure the maximum security controls to protect the data assets.
ISO 9001 requires an external audit to ascertain if there exists an effective quality management system at the data centre.
ISO 14001 is not mandatory, but demonstrates the data centres commitment to energy efficiency and environmental management.
These considerations are the basic steps we would recommend you consider, but there are many more. It is reassuring that CORETX can assist you in this process and we have a great deal of choice over the locations that we utilise, and experience in dealing with them. We will always look to provide you with choices in data centre facility, normally we will provide a quote with 3 or more different facilities with different strengths. We can also arrange site visits, bespoke SLA and facilitate bespoke requirements that many other providers simply will not offer.