Colocation Buyers Guide
What is Colocation
Is Colocation Right
for my Company?
Making a Case for Colocation
Colocation refers to the practice of housing your servers and devices in a professional data center in order to access economies of scale, advanced infrastructure, greater bandwidth, lower latency, specialist services and systems, constant security and a whole host of additional advantages. This arrangement can also include service and maintenance as well as planning and deployment of additional equipment as customer needs change.
If you’re in the market for colocation, there are many considerations to keep in mind. This buyers guide presents important factors to consider while choosing a colocation provider, along with buying criteria to help you make the best decision for your organization’s unique needs.
While building a new data center has advantages and disadvantages, knowing the advantages of colocation can help you make the right decision for your business.
Typically, lowest up-front cost option
Client can take advantage of already implemented
No long-term commitment
Technical and business flexibility
Implementation can occur quickly
Colocation benefits include:
Colocation is an excellent strategy for mid-market to enterprise size companies. In these organizations, CIOs play a vital role leading strategic operational initiatives and would rather not be bogged down with day-to-day IT issues. In selecting a colocation partner, the primary objective is to ensure that the company meets their strategic needs, is reliable, secure and can offer expanded services as business needs change.
Right for my Company?
How do you know if your company is a candidate for colocation? First, assess your organization’s goals. Colocation is a solid strategic option if your goals include:
The next step is to understand the roadblocks that may be preventing you from reaching your goals. They often include things like time and budget constraints, lack of in-house expertise, ever-increasing drive for efficiency, cost-cutting efforts and a focus on innovation.
While building a data center is right for some companies, others find that leasing colocation space makes sense. Many organizations are starting to recognize the high costs associated with running a corporate-owned data center and are looking for alternatives that may involve cloud-based solutions. High-performance data center colocation providers are equipped to offer security and networks that are both future-proof and carrier-neutral, creating an environment that is ideal for various cloud hosting plans.
Pushing business and technology integration
Significant growth and expansion
Extending CIO influence within the organization
Enabling the corporate vision
Concentrating on core competencies
Leveraging strategic partnerships
Third-party colocation facilities are an excellent solution to augment data center space and eliminate the need for significant capital expenditures for IT infrastructure and additional sites. In addition, concerns can be minimized by transferring responsibility to a qualified colocation partner, an expert with the expertise and dedicated resources to address all these challenges.
MAKING A CASE
Here are four financial benefits you can utilize when making the case for colocation to your leadership team:
CapEx vs OpEx
True scalability is easier to achieve
Colocation is less complex to maintain
Organization save money by reducing downtime
CapEx vs. OpEx
Leasing space in a colocation facility is less expensive. Building your own data center is expensive. The planning and designing phase alone can cost between 20 and 25% of the construction expenditures. Forrester estimates the costs to build a data center at $200 per square foot.
Additional setup costs include fire safety systems, building permits and local taxes, capital expenses like hardware and installation, and network connectivity. Once you are up and running costs are difficult to project and include power, maintenance and staffing on an ongoing basis. The cost of power alone, taking into account regional variations, generally accounts for 70-80% of total operation costs.
Colocation providers lower your overall expense of running a data center by providing economies of scale and sharing the physical building expenses, such as climate control, and lowering the overall burden that comes with maintaining your own enterprise data center.
When building a data center on-premises, organizations need to predict their future needs to determine what size to build. This may mean that you have hardware sitting around that is underutilized or you don’t have enough capacity at peak times. Either way is costly.
Colocation provides the ability to right size your data center to your needs today and the ability to pay as you grow.
Building and maintaining your own data center consumes a great deal of not only capital resources but human resources as well. It is difficult and expensive to find the depth and breadth of IT expertise needed to operate your data center 24/7, provide business continuity, enhanced security, disaster recovery and optimize applications and systems. The colocation shared resources model means that the expertise is always on hand to optimize your systems and offload core IT functions to free up internal staff to devote more time to mission-critical initiatives.
Organizations save money by reducing downtime
According to Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute. Downtime, at the low end, can be as much as $140,000 per hour, $300,000 per hour on average, and as much as $540,000 per hour at the higher end. Reliability is a key evaluation criteria. To ensure optimal uptime, the best choice in colocation provider will have data centers in multiple locations for failover, business continuity and disaster recovery in the case of natural disaster, human error or equipment failure.
Data centers may appear to have only minor differences but in reality, can differ widely in terms of physical location, connectivity, security and additional services provided. Determining which colocation provider to use can have a great impact on your ability to meet your goals and ultimately your organization’s success. These are the critical colocation considerations for your unique business requirements.
Where is this data center?
Location. Location. Location. If milliseconds matter, it's best to select a data center that is close to where you do the most business. For example, if you are a financial services firm sending large volumes of data to the data center where every fraction of a second matters, distance can affect the transmission time. If your business can tolerate latency you have more options for location and can look for the most competitive options.
Look for locations that are outside of flood zones and offer resilient power connectivity where in the event of an emergency your business will remain operational. Ensure the location is easily accessible from an airport or highway. You will also need to consider the physical facility itself. Has it been renovated in the last five years? What were the construction standards-windowless, hurricane resistant, how many pounds per square foot is the floor load?
Managed Microsoft Azure
Security & Compliance
What options do we have?
When it comes to connectivity, you want a data center that provides you with options - including seamless connectivity to your on-premises data center and to your provider's other colocated data centers. The colocated facility needs to provide a high level of reliability, offer high performance and allow you to control traffic prioritization as well as meet all of your application needs and provide carrier diversity. Items that should be on your checklist include:
Multi-home transit routing
Multiple private connections to other data centers
Enterprise-grade blended Internet bandwidth
Full end-to-end network visibility
Tier 1 connectivity and Quality of Service (QoS) capabilities
Advanced global IP-based MPLS network
How does the provider
In this age of the data breach, securing sensitive data is a top priority for all organizations. When partnering with a colocation provider they must view security as an essential element of the service they provide. It is critical for any outside provider to provide additional layers to your existing cybersecurity and physical security measures to mitigate your risk.
Another priority for a colocated data center is that they help you meet compliance regulations like HIPAA and PCI-D55 and back their claims with third-party audits.
Physical security needs should include biometric authentication, video surveillance, on-site guards, alarm systems and reinforced physical structures.
Support, customer amenities and environmental controls
Your colocation provider's SLA should go beyond the basics to make sure that your equipment is safe, your data is secure and your staff is comfortable. Backup and recovery procedures need to be spelled out in detail and meet your specifications.
Customer amenities should include private suites, conference rooms, Wi-Fi access and emergency services. Engineer consultations need to be available 24/7 to ensure uptime and manage installations. Environmental controls that include fire detection and prevention, lightning protection, leak and leak detection and an energy efficiency environment are required to protect your organization's investment.
How much is it going to cost me?
There are many ways that pricing can be structured when negotiating a colocation agreement. Here are a few common pricing options to consider when it comes to colocating space:
Cabinets - Individual locked cabinets and cabinet-equivalent spaces are sold under two models:
Bundled - Monthly price includes cabinet space and all utility onsumption.
Unbundled/Metered - Monthly price includes cabinet space; utility consumption will be metered and invoiced monthly based on actual usage by client. Your provider should not mark up your utility consumption, and you should only be invoiced for what you use.
Cage - Private locked caged space is available as metered space (meaning utility consumption will be metered and invoiced monthly based on actual consumption). The space is sold under a per square foot, per kW available or per cabinet equivalent model.
We hope that you take away from this eGuide some basic must-haves when selecting a colocation provider. Maybe you’re looking for basic colocation services or a more encompassing solution that includes cloud services for your organization. No matter what you’re looking for, we’re here to help.
The OneNeck data center in Madison, WI, is a 60,000-square-foot facility. Located on the Fitchburg Technology Campus, it’s a concurrently maintainable facility offering six fully functional data rooms, a command center, staging areas, meeting rooms and a full spectrum of hybrid IT solutions including colocation, cloud and managed services.
Learn more about the Madison facility.
The OneNeck data center in Minneapolis, MN, is a 50,000-square-foot Uptime Institute Tier III Design Certified facility. Located in the Golden Triangle Business Park in Minneapolis' suburb of Eden Prairie, it was the first commercially available data center in Minnesota to receive the Uptime Institute Tier III Design Certification. The data center offers a full spectrum of hybrid IT solutions including colocation, cloud and managed services.
Learn more about the Minneapolis facility.
Cedar Falls, Iowa
The OneNeck data center in Des Moines, IA, is a 20,000-square-foot facility. Once all phases are built out, the building will be 60,000 square feet. It’s a concurrently maintainable facility offering a full spectrum of hybrid IT solutions including colocation, cloud and managed services.
Learn more about the Des Moines facility.
Des Moines, Iowa
Our Denver data center is a 35,000-square-foot facility. Located near the Denver Tech Center, this purpose-built facility is based on a phased-build architecture allowing for rapid expansion of the facility. Once all phases are built out, the building will be 160,000 square feet. It’s a concurrently maintainable facility offering a full spectrum of hybrid IT solutions including colocation, cloud and managed services.
Learn more about the Denver facility.
The OneNeck data center near Phoenix, AZ, is a 14,000-square-foot facility. It’s a concurrently maintainable facility featuring industrial grade environmental systems to minimize risks from electrical power failure, fire, water damage and unauthorized access. This data center provides a full spectrum of hybrid IT solutions including colocation, cloud and managed services.
Learn more about the Phoenix facility.
The OneNeck data center in Bend, OR, is a 30,000-square-foot Uptime Institute Tier III Certified facility. It was designed and built to be as energy efficient as possible - earning the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® certification for superior energy efficiency. It’s equipped with a rooftop solar array, passive cooling system and a flywheel-based Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). This facility is truly a green data center.
Learn more about the Bend facility.
OneNeck has partnered to provide space at a Somerset data center, which is engineered to manage comprehensive information technology solutions and ensure the highest levels of protection. This facility features industrial grade environmental systems to minimize risks from electrical power failure, fire, water damage, acts of nature and unauthorized access. The facility also includes strict environmental controls, integrated fire detection and suppression systems and enhanced security measures.
Learn more about this facility.
Somerset, New Jersey
OneNeck has eight data center locations throughout the U.S.
Click each state to learn more.
The OneNeck data center in Cedar Falls, IA, is a 24,000-square-foot facility. It is a concurrently maintainable facility offering a full spectrum of hybrid IT solutions including colocation, cloud and managed services.
Learn more about the Cedar Falls facility.