Once you have determined that colocation is the right strategy for your business, choosing the best qualified provider is the necessary next step. While this may seem like a daunting task, conducting preliminary due diligence and knowing what questions to ask during the vetting process will help establish a framework for your overall evaluation.
Don’t proceed without suitable answers to these questions:
- Where is your data center located and do you have more than one facility? If so, where are your other data centers and are they connected via a private network?
This is a vital inquiry. Follow up regarding multiple locations since having a disaster recovery or secondary facility option with the same provider could be a benefit to your company whether in the near term or long term. Ask how or if the facilities are connected and what geographic location the other data centers are in as well. The location of the facilities is important. What are the potential obstacles and threats of the location – railroads, highways, central to a major city, severe weather, flooding, etc? Also, if the facilities are connected are they done so in a ring topology to ensure redundancy or are they connected as a point-to-point? At Expedient, we have 11 data centers in seven cities that are all interconnected via a 10Gbps fiber optic ring.
- Do you offer complementary managed services? – Even if your needs today are simply space, power and connectivity, in the future your requirements may dictate a need for certain managed services. Such services may include: cloud computing, disaster recovery-as-a-service, replication, managed SAN services, backup and archiving, network connectivity and server management.
Expedient offers a full suite of managed services to complement its physical or virtual colocation offerings.
- What are your power, cooling and carrier redundancies and capacities? – Power redundancy is key to keeping your environment up and running. Don’t shy away from asking the provider about their power source, where the power is fed, how many commercial feeds there are and what the redundancy of the UPS environment is. Data centers must have ample, redundant power to run and cool the facility and need multiple backup generators on premise to ensure uptime and availability. Losing power in a data center is unacceptable. Also ask about connectivity and if the facility is carrier-neutral. Carrier-neutral facilities allow you to connect to a variety of networks.
All Expedient data centers operate at least N+1 power redundancy with multiple diesel generators on-site and our standard cooling design is an N+2 configuration. Expedient also uses a multitude of network providers at each data center facility for guaranteed connectivity and continuous uptime.
- How secure is your facility? – Find out how people enter and leave the building and who has access to the data center floor. If the facility is local to you, request a tour and see the security measures for yourself. You’ll want to see what the data center staffing level is from a support perspective, what protocols are used to manage visits and access to the raised floor.
Expedient data centers are a completely controlled environment that is protected by multiple mantraps, a security system with employee only keycard entry and biometric hand scanning, and cameras with motion detection and recording. They are also staffed 24x7x365 at every single data center.
- What is the SLA? – Service Level Agreements define what committed quality of service the customer will receive. This will spell out the uptime and availability of your environment in the data center.
Expedient offers a 100% uptime SLA and offers monetary restitution if service is interrupted.
- Is the service provider financially stable and what is their track record for investing capital to maintain their facilities as well as to add services? Financially solvent providers are likely to remain in business and continue to invest in their operations as customer demand for colocation and managed services increases.
As a privately-held firm, Expedient has no institutional debt and is free from shareholder or outside pressure, which affords us great flexibility to respond quickly to new opportunities to serve customers. We are opening two new data centers in 2015 and have expanded our colocation facilities in multiple other cities, as well. Our parent organization, Landmark Media Enterprises, is a privately-held conglomerate with over 80 years of experience operating media and technology interests. Landmark as well has no institutional debt.