As you may already know opting for colocation hosting for your IT data storage is a no-brainer. After all, the premise is purpose-built for IT infrastructure. It offers numerous financial and environmental advantages while allowing for better efficiency, redundancy, security, etc.
That said, there is so much at stake, so choosing the right provider often feels like looking for a life partner. You want someone you can trust with your most precious information and worth investing your resources. You also want to find out as much as possible about them before committing!
Is the provider worth their salt? Here are ten key questions to help you find that out.
1. How Safe and Secure is the Facility?
Ask about the standard safety procedures and whether your hardware will be protected if there is a fire or any other issue.
You also want to ask about the security of the premises, including the location and structure of the building, physical security systems and logical security systems. It would also help if a third party audited the security systems.
Here at Safehosts, we have installed:
- Addressable, multi-zoned optical, smoke and heat detection systems
- Dual-zone VESDA smoke detectors with continuous air sampling in each collocation area
- Low-pressure FM200 gaseous fire suppression in all critical power areas
- IG55 gaseous fire suppression in the data floors.
For your equipment and data security, we are talking about:
- Physical security patrols from perimeter fence to individual racks
- 24/7/365 CCTV monitoring
- Fully ISMS-certified access control system
- Lockable rack doors
- Physical security patrols from perimeter fence to individual racks
2. How Redundant are the Systems?
Redundancy is vital to the uptime of a data centre and your servers. Some of the redundant features to look out for include:
- Power Redundant: Isolated path power architecture (at least two power paths working independently). Back up generators and UPS systems for each power path. Parallel UPS technology does not offer true redundancy, for true redundancy protection you should use an online UPS system.
- Network: multiple carriers, Resilient and Diverse, DDoS attack redundancy and high capacity internet breakout (burstable bandwidth)
3. Do They Have Third-Party Certificates and Audits?
Remember, you are still building trust. Perhaps evidence of third-party audits and certifications can get the colocation hosting provider closer to earning that trust.
For example, are they ISO-certified for quality and information security? How about ISMS certification for access control systems?
4. How Flexible are the Colocation Services?
Technology is advancing fast, and the business landscape is shifty. You will always have to make upgrades or downgrades to your contract, even if it is just for a few months. For instance, you might want to increase your bandwidth for an upcoming big project or demand spike.
It would be more convenient and less costly if your colocation services provider offered flexibility in areas such as:
- Range of racks size options
- Power usage
- Remote hands
- Contract length (like if you want monthly rolling or yearly contracts)
5. Can I Get Professional Managed Colocation Services?
Sometimes it is easier to provide the hardware but hand over its management to your colocation provider. Safehosts could perform maintenance, updates, service monitoring, and other routine tasks on your behalf.
Managed hosting services may save you resources, allow your technicians to focus on the issues within your business premise, and cut down on travel time. If you prefer unmanaged services, your host should still be kind enough to offer additional remote support whenever you need it. Safehosts offers a range of options for all your managed colocation needs.
6. How Eco-Friendly is the Facility?
Does your provider have any green initiatives, or are they comfortable heating up the planet? If not for the environment, at least consider it for your budget. A facility that is energy efficient will reduce costs for you.
Safehosts uses hot aisle containment technology, which makes managing the hosting environment more efficient and cost-effective. It also increases the lifespan of your hardware. Additionally, we employ energy-efficient adiabatic cooling systems to reduce our carbon footprint.
7. What Uptime Does the Facility Guarantee?
Uptime is measured in tier ratings. Depending on the facility, you may get anywhere between tier 1 and tier 4. Tier 1 offers the most basic uptime, while tier 4 is the most fault-tolerant. Here's a brief breakdown.
- Tier 1: 99.671% availability
- Tier 2: 99.741% availability
- Tier 3: 99.982% availability
- Tier 4: 99.995% availability
All Safehosts clients enjoy 99.999% availability, which means they enjoy the best collocation services in the industry. Thanks to our excellent resiliency and redundancy alongside 24/7/365 on-site professionals, there is rarely any downtime.
8. Does the Provider Own the Data Centre?
Who wants to work with an intermediary? Go-betweens are expensive and time-consuming, especially when you have to communicate issues and seek clarifications.
You want to work with a colocation host who owns the facility and other components of the trade. For example, they should have fibre optic circuits and local staff, not outsourced personnel.
At Safehosts we operate a 24/7 helpdesk and local on-site staff.
9. What Terms of the Contract Do I Need to Know?
Your ideal hosting services should be transparent as they come. Ask your provider to lay all the cards on the table. What does the contract entail? You should know everything, from the fees and set up provisions to the customer support. Any hidden costs are a red flag.
10. What Level of Additional Support do You Provide?
You need all the help you can get, especially in technical aspects. When discussing hosting services, you should settle for nothing less than 24/7/365 on-site engineers and other technical support staff.
There should always be a capable pair of extra hands to help you with any issues. Remote hands and eyes can prove quite the lifesaver when no one from your staff can physically get to the datacentre in time.
Safehosts provides professional services backed by years of experience, giving you space and room to concentrate on running your business. Our remote services feature flexible pricing per hour or project.
It gets better — We have been offering free remote services to some extent due to the corona pandemic, at least until further notice. No matter what happens, Safehosts is here to ensure your business's continuity and smooth operation as far as your servers and communication go.
In summary, ensure you ask these ten questions before you commit to a colocation provider:
- How Safe and Secure is the Facility?
- How Redundant are the Systems?
- Do You Have Third-Party Certificates and Audits?
- How Flexible are the Services?
- Can I Get Professional Managed Services?
- How Eco-Friendly is the Facility?
- What Uptime Does the Facility Provide?
- Does the Provider Own the DataCentre?
- What Terms of the Contract Do I Need to Know?
- What Level of Additional Support Can I Expect?