Choosing a data center is a huge decision for your business.
Choosing a data center is a huge decision for your business. After all, you will be storing your mission-vital infrastructure in a third party's facility. There are few things to consider before making the decision. Some of the important steps to take include:
Take a Tour
This sounds obvious, but you would be surprised by how often racks are bought, solely based on audits or vendor-provider information. As such, take the effort to purchase that airplane ticket, book a hotel, and get your feet on the ground. When doing so, even when accompanied by an auditor, carry a checklist and do not hesitate to ask any question. If you’re in London and interested in something local then the Beeks LD4 could be a good choice.
What can go wrong, can and will go wrong. In such cases, the IT staff will be the party responsible to have everything back up and running. As such, it is imperative to ensure the data center has a responsive team. Ensure you ask the number of technicians who are on-call round the clock.
We bring our own gear, but there are numerous reasons to opt for the data center's hardware. If you do, ensure you go through all the specifications and comprehend what networking and computing hardware are available.
Also, it is always wise to ask about gear refresh rates, particularly if you intend to stay with the provider for long and do not want to get stuck with outdated equipment.
A data center's security is vital and it starts with physical security measures. Things to include in your checklist as you take go around the facility include:
-CCTV surveillance in access points and strategic locations.
-Buffer zones around the location
-Fingerprint scanners and mantraps
-Barriers and gates that restrict access to the facility
-Redundant facilities such as air, water and communication
-Sturdy private cages
Apart from physical security measures, it is also important to consider the security standards that apply to your domain and ask about them, to ascertain compliance. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard or PCI DSS is one example, but there are others to keep in mind as well.
You'll want to know the carriers present in the data facility. If you are in the industry of optimizing content delivery, for example, then you should prioritize Tier-1 providers. For redundancy, it is advisable to get at least two different carries, or more if you expect bursts, such as those experienced during DDoS attacks.
The available public peering options in the facility is another important thing to look at. With the right arrangements, you can cut down on transit costs and significantly improve performance.
Bandwidth & Bursts
You'll also want to check your SLA for burst costs and bandwidth limits. By knowing this, you will be able to avoid hidden costs as well as potential downtimes due to traffic spikes. Also, planning for these in advance will help you better manage traffic as well as bandwidth costs.
On average, cooling and power costs account for about a quarter of all operational costs in a data center. That is why you should inquire about this, as these costs will filter down and ultimately affect your own prices. So, ensure you ask about energy efficiency as well as improvements that may or may not happen down the line.
With these tips, you should be able to pick the right data center for your business needs.