Do you need a data center for your business? Choosing the right data center is no small feat. First, data center contracts are generally long-term, making it critical to make the right decision from the start. Once your data center’s hardware is set up, it’s not going to be easy or cheap to relocate.
To avoid making the wrong choice, here are 6 critical factors to consider when choosing a data center.
- What do you actually need?
What you want and what you need are often two entirely separate lists. Who wouldn’t want the biggest plan, the most features, and the highest tier of services? Whether or not you really need all of that is another story.
Data centers are classified by a system of four tiers. Tiers are determined by the following factors:
- Electricity delivery paths through the building. More paths equal more reliable power.
- Redundancy. A higher tier has more backups for generators, cooling equipment, and uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs).
- Concurrent maintainability. Higher tiers can continue operations while maintenance is performed.
- Fault tolerance. Natural disasters, blackouts, and storms won’t destroy the equipment in a higher-tiered data center.
- Guaranteed uptime. Data centers on a higher tier guarantee more uptime.
The four data center tiers are vastly different, and not every business requires the highest tier. Visit Park Place Technologies to learn more about the different data center tiers and their associated standards.
- Where is the data center located?
Ideally, you want a data center close by that you can visit physically. It’s important to take a tour before signing a contract. If you find a good data center far away, take the time to get on a plane and visit the location.
Don’t sign a contract based on the information published on the vendor’s website. Anyone can publish anything. The reality of your data center might greatly differ from what’s presented online.
When you visit a potential data center, bring a checklist to make sure everything meets your standards and lives up to the vendor’s claims.
- Can you rely on someone else’s hardware?
When getting services from a data center, you have the option of bringing in your own hardware. This can be extremely advantageous because you’ll get exactly what you need. However, it’s better to use hardware provided by the data center when you aren’t familiar with components, like rated and riser cables.
If you choose to go with the data center’s hardware, make sure you review all the specs to make sure it’s going to work for you. Also, ask how often the hardware, software, and firmware are updated. You don’t want to get stuck with outdated hardware or software as your performance needs increase.
No matter what tier you choose, your data center should have redundancies in place. Tier IV data centers have more redundancies, but you can also find lower-tiered centers with sufficient redundancies. Without redundancies, your business operations could end up being shut down for a lengthy period of time.
If you can’t find tier-1 providers with suitable redundancy, go higher. Redundancies are one of the most important features and worth the upgrade.
- Cybersecurity standards
Never compromise on security. Make sure the data center you choose has high security standards that are enforced. However, don’t just rely on a vendor’s website for security specs. Search online for security incidents like data breaches that have impacted the vendor in the past.
If you discover that a vendor has been the victim of multiple cyberattacks, reconsider doing business with them. While not all attacks can be prevented, repeated attacks are a bad sign.
- Physical security standards
In addition to cybersecurity standards, make sure the vendor you choose maintains tight physical security. You don’t want to risk unauthorized people entering the data center and stealing or damaging your equipment.
Verify the following aspects of physical security before signing a contract:
- Buffer zones and barriers. Is the facility constructed in a way that keeps people away from the perimeter? Are there gates, walls, or other barriers in place?
- CCTV cameras. Video security is a must.
- Biometric entry. Only authorized personnel should be able to access the building. Keys are unreliable since they can be stolen, borrowed, and reproduced.
- Strong private cages. In a data center, each customer’s equipment should be contained within a private, sturdy cage.
Take your time choosing a data center vendor
No matter how urgently you need a data center, don’t rush into your decision. Take your time choosing a vendor. Prioritize security above cost because choosing the wrong location will end up costing you more should anything go wrong.