As the data storage needs of companies continue to expand, many are choosing to keep their business-critical data in third-party data centers. Colocation has emerged as a popular practice among organizations reluctant to store and maintain data on their premises. Selecting the right colocation provider can, however, be a complicated task, given companies have to take stock of their current and future data requirements when doing so. In addition, they need to assess how colocation will impact their IT resources as well as customer service.
To simplify the task, we have, in this post, offered a rundown of the key aspects you need to take into consideration when choosing a colocation service provider.
Let’s have a look at these, one by one.
- Physical Location: A vital element to consider when choosing a colocation data center in India is its physical location. This can vary depending on the specific needs of your business. So, if you are using the colocation facility primarily for storage or cloud hosting service, make sure it is close to where you are based. This way, it will be easier for your technicians to drive down to the facility if they need to upgrade or repair your hardware. On the other hand, if you need the facility for offering services to customers, go for an edge data center that’s close to your end-users. Proximity to your users will get rid of any latency issues that may arise otherwise.
- Vulnerability to Natural Disasters: This is yet another aspect of location that you should check out. Natural disasters including earthquakes, tornados, and hurricanes may wreak havoc on a facility, resulting in significant downtime and, in some cases, loss of critical data. While most of the data center facilities have a disaster recovery plan in place, you will always be better off when your colocation provider is housed in a low-risk area.
- Number of data centers
While you may be looking to keep your data in just one facility, choosing a facility that’s a part of a larger network assures you of top-notch service and reliability. So, even if one of the data centers suffers damage on account of a natural disaster or outage, other centers keep their operations up and running. And if you seek edge computing services, a service provider with data centers in your key markets will help augment your reach and keep latency issues at bay.
Wondering what carrier-neutrality means? Carrier-neutrality simply means a data center allows its customers to connect with multiple internet service providers (ISPs) instead of locking them with a single ISP. Access to different network providers not only drives down costs owing to strict competition but also allows your business to establish redundancies and switch to another carrier if your requirements change over time. On the contrary, when stuck in a locked environment of a single network provider, your business may find it cumbersome to adapt in the future.
5) Physical Security
Physical security is an indispensable, albeit overlooked, element of a colocation data center. Your facility should be clear of obstructions so that anyone trying to approach the premises can be tracked and stopped well in time. The perimeter should have fences or high walls to deter intrusion. Also, there should just be a single entry/exit point with no windows.
Furthermore, there should be stringent guidelines regarding who all can access the facility and when. Tools for physical protection such as armed manpower, high-resolution surveillance cameras, fire alarms, cabinet locks, and biometric scanners should be installed at strategic points.
6) Ability to Scale
Your service provider should be able to accommodate the growing needs of your business. Most businesses turn to colocation in India simply because they don’t want to deal with the colossal expenses of building and maintaining an on-premises facility.
Your colocation facility should have redundant physical space and power so that it can absorb your increasing capacity. As a business owner, you need to stay abreast of your rising storage and hosting needs, so as to ensure you don’t outgrow your current colocation provider in just 2-3 years.
Irrespective of the domain you operate in, you need to comply with certain regulatory guidelines that apply to your line of business. These guidelines may be particularly stringent if you deal with sensitive customer data such as their credit card details, social security numbers, etc. Your data center provider should be able to produce attestations and certifications to establish their compliance with requirements, such as PCI DSS and HIPAA.
8) Service Level Agreement (SLA)
A service level agreement, or SLA, lists your service provider’s commitment to customers. In the case of a colocation provider, the SLA stipulates the uptime and redundancy they are required to offer to your business. So, before signing a contract, make sure you carefully read the terms and conditions laid down in your SLA. Also, if possible, connect with your prospect’s existing customers and assess the quality and consistency of the service being offered.
9) Technical Support
Regardless of how efficiently you run your operations, you are likely to face technical issues at one point or the other. So, you need to have a partner that addresses and resolves such issues instantly and satisfactorily. Ideally, a few members of their support staff should be present at the facility all round the clock. Remote hands service should be made available as and when needed. All renowned service providers maintain a high degree of transparency and allow clients to monitor their hardware at all times. So, make sure you carry out adequate due diligence and choose a provider that delivers unwavering support.
Count on Colocation Hosting to Grow your Business
Anyone would agree that partnering with a colocation hosting provider in India is a big move that brings in opportunities and challenges in equal measure. By staying proactive while selecting your colocation service provider and asking him the right questions, you can leverage their resources to fulfill your computing needs and pave way for the seamless expansion of your business.
Thanks for reading.