Colocation data centers help businesses reduce costs while providing a secure, redundant data environment. Grand View Research reports that adoption of colo centers is expanding at a rate of more than 14% annually and is expected to continue to grow at that rate through 2030.
In this article, we will discuss managed colocation services, how to evaluate colocation data centers, and what to look for. First, however,we need to define colocation.
What Is Colocation?
Colocation refers to the use of a data center facility where you can rent space for the servers and hardware you own and manage. Using colocation, you can eliminate the cost of building and maintaining a data center, effectively outsourcing the real estate, power, and cooling associated with an on-premises data center.
Your servers, storage, and networking equipment can be stored in a third-party data center in racks, cages, halls, or private suites. While you provide the equipment and manage it, the data center handles the resources to maintain operations along with multiple redundancies to prevent downtime. Costs are generally lower since power, cooling, and network bandwidth are shared among other tenants.
What Is Managed Colocation?
Besides collocating hardware, managed colocation can provide additional services, from remote hands support to help with updates or troubleshooting to more in-depth services such as:
- Installing and configuring your equipment
- Monitoring, troubleshooting, and repairing hardware
- Routine maintenance like OS patches and software updates
- IT consulting and architectural design services
- Capacity planning for expansion
Some colocation facilities offer end-to-end infrastructure management, while others offer a menu of services you can choose from to fit your level of comfort and need.
Defining and Evaluating Colocation
When you are evaluating colocation providers, there are several key factors to consider, which will impact quality, reliability, and security.
Since your data resides off-site, the physical and network security protections in place are of critical importance. Look for state-of-the-art physical security like biometric scanning, video surveillance, and enhanced access control.
Evaluate the network connectivity and carrier offerings to ensure optimal bandwidth and performance when accessing colocated servers and storage.
Nearly 90% of companies today are using a multi-cloud strategy to provide greater redundancy. The best colocation data centers are carrier-neutral, allowing you to choose your preferred fiber carrier or carriers for connectivity.
Reliability requires redundant layers, such as generators and diverse power supplies, to racks. When you are evaluating data centers, you will want to discuss the capacity, redundancy, and maintenance of these systems.
Data centers are rated for reliability in two ways: architecture and tiers. Look for a colocation data center that offers at least N+1 architecture. N+1 means that every single critical point of failure is backed up by an additional system. Redundant power typically includes UPS and backup generators. Cooling systems might employ computer room air conditioning units (CRACs) to provide more resilient climate control.
The best colocation data centers will also be Tier 4. Tier IV data centers are fault-tolerant, so when a piece of equipment fails, or there is a disruption to a distribution path, IT operations will remain unaffected.
Service Level Agreements
Carefully review service level agreements (SLAs) to understand uptime guarantees, response times, provisioning processes, and metrics used to define acceptable service levels. This sets clear performance expectations.
You want 100% power guarantees to avoid downtime, so look for SLAs that provide such a guarantee.
Where the data center is located also plays a role in operations. Geographically diverse locations can help mitigate the potential for area-wide natural disasters and aid in business continuity and disaster recovery. However, you may want to choose a facility that is close enough for your IT team to travel to for maintenance.
Another key to colocation centers is the provider’s technical expertise and capabilities. Look for a colo center that provides 24/7, year-round monitoring to prevent failures and remote hands support to save you the time and cost of sending a technician to the center for things like rebooting servers, installing updates, or doing basic equipment maintenance.
LOGIX Colocation Data Centers
LOGIX Fiber Networks operates data centers in:
Each offers the highest level of security, flexible and scalable spaces, and customized solutions for all of your colocation needs. LOGIX data centers are N+1, Tier IV facilities with electrical power redundancies for uninterrupted power.
Data centers are monitored 24/7, year-round, by LOGIX’s Network Operations Center (NOC) and Texas-based customer support. Facilities are carrier-neutral and provide direct connectivity with major carriers, including the LOGIX fiber network — the largest independent fiber network in Texas.
With LOGIX data centers, you get continuous access to your data and equipment with multiple disaster recovery options between select data center locations. Each data center is SSAE 18 audited SOC compliant with assessments by independent auditors to provide high confidence in safeguarding data security and systems.
If you are looking to better define a colocation strategy or need managed colocation, call LOGIX at 281-688-6231 or contact us online to request a data center tour.