Dec 27, 2011

Top 13 Questions to Ask a Prospective Colocation Provider

Ansley Kilgore

Not all providers are created equal. When searching for a colocation partner, there are key questions you will want to ask to make sure the provider meets your basic needs as well as your unique business requirements. Use this list to get the ball rolling and to ensure you choose a colocation provider you can stick with over the long haul.

  1. How close to your company’s office building is the provider’s facility? Is it within driving distance so that your company’s IT staff can easily get to the building? Does your business need a facility that’s close to a major airport?
  2. If your company has offices in several locations, can you consider a facility in a less expensive real-estate market? Is the provider geographically diverse? Do they have facilities in other cities or abroad?
  3. Is the provider’s colocation facility in a place with few natural threats, such as hurricanes? If so, what kind of precautions has the provider taken to protect the data center (and your business) from these threats? Are they structurally sound? A provider in California, for instance, should have seismically engineered each facility to withstand earthquakes.
  4. What kind of security is in place? Are there biometric scanners, on-site security and video surveillance?
  5. Is the provider carrier-neutral, or is it carrier-specific? A carrier-neutral colocation provider will let your company connect to a variety of carriers’ networks, while a carrier-specific provider will lock you in to just one carrier.
  6. Does the provider offer a wide array of value-added services? Are services like cloud or managed hosting available in case your needs change in the future? What about remote services or managed installations?
  7. How strong is the SLA? What is the level of availability? Does the provider offer proactive credits for SLA violations?
  8. Is the facility audited by a third party? Is it SAS 70 compliant or is there a SOC 2 report available? How often is the facility audited?
  9. Is this a premium provider or a cost leader? Are you willing to sacrifice performance and support for price reductions? Are there any hidden fees outside of the agreement?
  10. How scalable is the facility? Is there enough space to grow? Do they offer high density configurations?
  11. Is there technical support available when you need it and what level engineer will you speak to when you call the Network Operations Center (NOC)?
  12. How comfortable is the work environment for your technicians? Are there customer lounges or work space?
  13. Is the provider green? Are they looking for ways to address sensitivity to the environment?

Want to know more about how to choose the right colocation partner for your business? Download the Colocation Buyer’s Guide eBook for other tips, ROI facts and more.

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Ansley Kilgore

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