Making the leap to outsource your data center can be both a liberating and harrowing move. On one hand, the transition offloads much of the overhead of IT infrastructure management to the colocation facility, allowing the firm’s staff to focus on other core competencies; on the other hand, relinquishing control of the facilities can be a significant psychological hurdle for the nervous IT manager and staff. Proper assessment of your needs is the first step to a successful migration or initial server deployment to a colocation facility, and for anxious IT folks, an effective means for putting their minds at ease. The following are some guidelines for determining what your needs are when considering colocation facilities and services.
Because colocation facilities charge per space allocated, the amount of required server real estate is often the first consideration to be had. Colocation facilities typically charge per rack, cabinet, or cage and can range from a 1U slot to a farm of servers housed in multiple cages. More often than not, firms will only choose to colocate some of their servers, leaving others residing in-house. For example, a firm’s objective may be to provide better network redundancy and quality of service for its web offerings. The number of servers required to run these services provides the baseline metrics for colocation sizing and requirements.
Once a firm has determined how much space it needs, the next step is to research multiple colocation facilities to find not the lowest cost provider, but the average, fair-priced colocation facilities. Ideally, the providers in question should offer a single price point that includes bandwidth, cabinet space, power and IP addresses. Through this research, you should be able to determine what your needs and requirements are from a cost perspective, and scale up/down based on these findings.
Though most system tasks can be managed remotely these days, IT staff will invariably need to visit the colocation facility to perform in-person administration tasks from time-to-time. To what degree varies per organization–if frequent trips to the colocation facility are necessary, choosing one that is within close proximity to the firm’s office or place of businesses is highly desirable.
Some colocation facilities provide 24/7 access to their data centers, while others do not. Depending on the organization, this may be a critical requirement for a potential provider. Furthermore, how stringent the facility’s security measures are may also be a deciding factor. A company planning to house highly confidential, proprietary, and/or valuable data and dedicated server equipment may require a fully manned, experienced staff patrolling the premises regularly. Closed circuit TV monitoring, individual video monitoring per cage/cabinet, and biometric ID access (fingerprint, hand, or retinal scanning) to server rooms are also common options for highly secure colocation facilities. Based upon the nature of the server resources being co-located, a firm will need to decide what type of security measures are required for potential colocation providers.
Some colocation facilities will provide a fully managed solution, while others will at the most provide a server restart upon request. You will need to determine what your needs and competencies are in this category to make a fully informed decision. If your firm’s IT staff is less experienced and will be needing assistance frequently, a colocation facility with ample technical and help desk support included in the pricing may be desired.
In short, there are many factors that come into play when determining your colocation needs. There isn’t any one-size-fits-all solution, as each firm’s requirements differ. The above considerations are some common items to keep in mind when identifying and comparing one’s colocation requirements against the plethora of provider options on the market.
About Hivelocity’s Colocation Solutions
The Hivelocity data center is staffed 24/7/365 and accessible to our colocated customers the same. Colocated customers are provided with secure access to our facility first via a gated private lot accessible only with key card and pin credentials. Once within our secure lot customers are able to access the data center through our man trap entrance. Each cabinet, (full, 1/2 and 1/4 rack) is locked with customer access granted only after their private code is entered on the cabinet itself. Our Tampa data center is SSAE-16 certified and audited for both HIPAA & PCI compliance.
Hivelocity has maintained 100% power and network uptime for close to 4 years straight.
Each colocated customer is provide with the myVelocity customer management interface. From myVelocity colocated customers can setup the monitoring of up to 5 services on each of their servers. If any of the services being monitored is triggered alerts can be sent via email or SMS text message. Additionally, customers can view the bandwidth usage of each server, open trouble tickets, manage IPMI and much more.
Although we feel we provide a superior colocation service to our customers our pricing is about average to industry standards. We feel we provide a better hosting solution for several reasons. Each customer, including colocation, gets an our intelligently routed blend of Level 3, TWTC, Global Crossing, Cogent, GTT, NTT and Comcast transit. Additionally Hivelocity maintains private peering at exchanges in Miami (NOTA), Los Angeles (Any2) and Atlanta (TIE). Additionally, most colocation providers provide the infrastructure and not much more. Hivelocity is staffed 24/7/365 with Linux, Windows and Virtualization experts. If a colocated customer has a question or requires our assistance our team of experts is ready and willing to lend a hand. Lastly, because we deploy several hundred bare-metal dedicated servers each and every month we have a wide range of hardware in stock at all times. If a colocated customer were to need a part in a pinch, we are happy to sell that part at cost.