According to a 2020 Grand View Research study, the colocation market is projected to increase by 12.7% year over year from 2020 to 2027. With growth like this, colocation providers will be vying for your attention—and your business—once you start your facility search. It’s important to really examine key differentiators across providers and to list out your organization’s success requirements to make the most informed decision for your company with a major move like this.
There are several factors to think about when choosing your colocation or cloud service provider. While your head may be in the cloud, so to speak, you should also be focusing on the physical aspects of the facilities that house your mission critical infrastructure from location to connectivity.
The connectedness of a data center is a key indicator of its availability, latency, and redundancy. Your provider should also give you the flexibility to scale proportionally to your growth and accommodate the installation of additional equipment and networking capacity, on-demand. Does the data center have the flexibility, in their contract terms, the design of their facility, and the responsiveness of their support group to accommodate that need quickly and effectively?
Interconnected facilities are the ultimate must-have for your colocation and cloud storage needs. While you may not always see the need in your day-to-day, you will be infinitely grateful you made the investment when you are faced with a disaster or emergency. By choosing highly interconnected facilities with carrier options and multiple paths in and out of markets, you are choosing reliability, uptime, and peace of mind for your business and the clients you support.
Benefits of Interconnected Facilities
While it may seem cheaper and easier to put all your eggs in one basket, that is not the case when it comes to selecting a data center to store your mission critical infrastructure or private customer data.
While more control may be a tempting proposition, don’t let it extend so far as to get individual contracts with carriers to build your own redundancy. That can be a lengthy and expensive process to reverse if the telecom provider you choose is not a good fit. Individually scaling up each network will astronomically affect your bottom line and given the fact that it’s multiple calls, appointments, and contracts, you will likely not be able to scale up or down as quickly as you’d like.
If you choose interconnected facilities, you’re placing responsibility on one provider to manage all your networks. This means that you could have upwards of a dozen networks under one contract that can be adjusted as a group. If you’re looking for a multi-network option, this will ultimately save you a considerable amount of money, and you’ll be able to scale up or down without having to worry about individual providers.
This is objectively the biggest benefit to interconnected facilities. If you are using a provider with interconnected data centers, your days of network outages will become a thing of the past, since there are multiple network paths and carriers to failover to, should you need them. Redundancy like this will save you immeasurable time and money in the event of an emergency, since downtime can have a huge impact on your bottom line at over $5000 per minute for medium-to-large companies.
Investing in interconnected facilities is the ultimate insurance policy when it comes to protecting your uptime from any number of threats. Did a tornado sweep through one of your locations? Were you heavily impacted by a security attack? It’s easy to isolate one network and keep your applications up by routing traffic through another. When the unthinkable happens, interconnected facilities will help you and your team continue with business as usual even under the direst of circumstances.
The right interconnected facilities will pull from multiple carriers and providers to improve traffic flow management and decrease latency. The fact that many of these facilities are run by a third party, means that they have the ability to operate entirely free from the companies that they allow to utilize the data center and are not constrained by competition.
Utilizing a data center that is carrier-neutral will allow enterprises to expand their reach without drastically affecting their cost. Rather than having a handful of contracted providers, interconnected data centers allow customers to reap the benefits of several (or more) network connections without having to contract individually with each carrier.
Types of Interconnection
Just like there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to colocation and cloud storage solutions, there is not a single type of interconnected facilities. Here are a few of the most common you might encounter when you start your search. Some options are better than others and can provide you with connectivity and speeds best suited for your organization’s needs.
- Peering Exchange
In this scenario, two connected networks exchange traffic without having to pay a third party such as a telecom operator or Internet service provider. The operator has the capability to adjust routing in order to avoid traffic bottlenecks and optimize performance. Peering works to keep traffic local to avoid the latency caused by multiple Internet hops.
- Cross Connect
A cross connect is the equivalent of running a fiber or copper cable between each company’s servers. A physical, hardwired cable is provisioned between two different termination locations within the colocation data center, enabling high-performance, dedicated connectivity, excellent reliability and minimal latency.
- Inter-Site Connectivity
Inter-site connectivity provides communications between various data center campuses in the colocation provider’s network. This enables customers to access any provider they might need and to grow without being limited by individual campus facilities. If you run into an issue with space in one data center, it can be simple for a colocation provider with inter-site connectivity to find space for you at another interconnected campus so your service can remain as fast and uninterrupted as it would be if you were housed in the same facility. Various carrier-grade transport options are provided in addition to common-carrier access to other regional interconnection hubs.
- Blended IP
A blended IP service provides the convenience of the colocation provider working with a variety of upstream carriers and ISPs to create a highly reliable, SLA-backed solution based on a fully redundant network architecture that provides the best performance across providers.
While all different types of interconnection have their risks and benefits, there are definitely options that work best for certain goals. For example, if you are a company working with high compliance regulations, you may want to consider getting a professional opinion before moving forward with a provider. The best course of action is to have your CIO take the lead on setting some goals for your migration to the cloud. What issues are you trying to resolve by moving to an interconnected facility? Which solutions get you closest to those resolutions while being mindful of the budget?
At this point, interconnected facilities should clearly be an important element of your colocation strategy. You’re aware of the huge benefits of choosing interconnected data centers and various types of interconnectedness, but did you know that there were other factors to consider when shopping around, more than just which type you’re looking for? Here are a few places to start, so you can get one step closer to finding the best provider for your needs.
Look for Widespread Facilities
Geographical redundancy is a big indicator of your uptime, especially if you are in an area heavily impacted by electrical grid disruption or natural disasters. Providers should operate data centers that are spread out far enough to avoid similar disasters or to be in the wake of the same disaster. Look for a provider who can route traffic out of other regions without any interruption to your service. A trend we’ve been witnessing on the consumer side is many corporations headquartered on either coast invest in a data center further inland should they be impacted by a hurricane, wildfire, or even one of the power grid-crippling snowstorms in the Northeast.
Are They Reliant on Carrier Hotels?
Carrier hotels are buildings that house networks and cloud services in strategic areas, usually in a downtown location of a city. These carrier hotels host multiple networks in one place so enterprises who collocate in these facilities can failover from one network to another in the event of an outage. While this is a fantastic service for its availability, location and ease of use, it’s not a failsafe.
As time goes on, we see our cities are not impervious to power outages, natural disasters and more. There may be multiple carriers that make the hotel redundant, but what happens when the grid goes down in the city and the carrier hotel loses power? When looking for a colocation facility, make sure they build pathways not only through the carrier hotels but also around them, so your services remain uninterrupted in the event of a massive outage.
Get the Most for Your Money with Additional Services
Benefit from or Inherit Security Controls
Compliance is a non-negotiable when it comes to selecting a provider. If your business interacts with sensitive customer data, it is critical that your data center works with you to ensure that your business is compliant with rigorous standards for your industry. Your chosen facility (or facilities) must have security controls in place that comply with industry-recognized standards, because you can absolutely be penalized for the action or inaction of your colocation provider.
On a more positive note, you can also inherit some of the security controls your provider has in place, as well as, benefit from their compliance certifications. Take some time to make sure you understand the compliance nuances of your industry before starting the process of selecting a colocation provider.
Two of the most common and rigorous standards are HIPAA and PCI. Chances are your organization must comply with one or both of the following to keep your doors open and your bottom line healthy:
- The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards designed to ensure that all companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. There are 12 PCI DSS requirements for compliance and a data center that boasts PCI compliance should be able to help customers configure their network to accomplish requirements 1-6 and 8-12. PCI compliance is a must in this day in age.
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) establishes requirements for the use, disclosure, and safeguarding of electronic protected health information (ePHI), and a plan for recovery, should it fall into the wrong hands. If a data center is sincerely your partner in HIPAA compliance, they will show it by working with you to build a comprehensive, fully compliant solution that addresses the confidentiality, availability and integrity of ePHI. Ask your prospective provider about their HIPAA controls.
One of the less common, but equally important, certifications to think about is ISO 20000-1. Unlike HIPAA, ISO 20000-1 applies to any company that processes customer information. It proves that the provider is consistent in their change management process to mitigate the risk of human error. Since human error is one of the most common causes of a cloud disaster, it is definitely a certification you want your provider to have.
Take Advantage of Managed Services
Managed servers are single- or multiple-server installations with dedicated power and bandwidth, hosted within the data center. They work best for customers who would prefer that the data center own, operate and monitor the equipment on which their applications are running. This can help offload some of the burden from your IT staff, giving them more time and resources to move the needle on some of your business’s other goals.
If a data center provider offers both colocation and managed hosting, they should have the ability to augment your hardware infrastructure with resources on-demand. This can enable significant flexibility to grow and scale resources according to your unique needs. Managed service can add layers of virtualization so you can reap the benefits of a private cloud.
In addition to managed hosting options, ask your prospective provider if they can support other managed services including managed storage, managed backups, and managed devices. While your business may not need this now, it may be a wise move to plan for future changes and growth.
Looking for the Gold Standard of Interconnection? Look no Further than LightEdge.
Finding a colocation provider that meets the security, network availability, scalability, and support that your organization requires may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. As a top-tier colocation services provider, we guarantee superior levels of availability and reliability through secure, certified data centers, and dedicated experts in all our facilities. Our customizable and scalable services and solutions place you in the driver’s seat, whether you need a colocation rack, cage, or custom suite.
With interconnected, geographically dispersed facilities across multiple US power grids, our data centers are the heart of our operation—and can be the heart of yours too. We have a wide variety of options for colocation and disaster recovery solutions delivering advanced shared infrastructure designed to enable operational and financial efficiency, reducing the burden on your IT staff and ultimately saving you money.
Customers depend on LightEdge to fine-tune compliance, unparalleled security services, and for our proven predictably and cost-effectiveness. LightEdge provides customers with an extended team of experienced engineers, so you can offload some worries and continue running at full speed toward your organization’s long-term goals.
Are you interested in our colocation and cloud services? Contact us today or visit our website for more information about how we can help your organization level up in compliance, uptime and reliability.