How to align colocation costs with business needs

Colocation services allow you to share the resources of a data centre with other businesses, without having to invest in your own private space. The cost of your organisational IT is something that you always have to consider.

As with any professional business service, choosing the cheapest option is probably a bad idea, however it’s important to explore all options to ensure you’re paying fair rates that provide solid value to your business.

Here are some things to think about when measuring and deciding on your colocation costs.

Aligning colocation costs with your needs

There are several benefits to colocation. Alongside the clear benefits, there are a number of factors that you’re best keeping in mind as you begin to explore such a service:

1. Make sure you choose the best colocation company

Focus on quality over everything else. If you find the best colocation company in your area, don’t let price be a serious deterrent unless they’re charging outrageous fees that strip the value out of the service.

Not every data centre is put together to the same high standards. With the build and ongoing operational costs of a data centre being so high, an immediate red flag during your enquiries would be a bargain discounted rate, which is either being used to hook you in, or is a sign of problems with the facility and/or it’s operation.

The best colocation companies in their industry set the market, so finding out what they charge will also give you an idea of the going rate. Get referrals to make sure that you’re choosing the most competent professionals with the highest quality infrastructure.

A few of the things that you’ll need to look for when taking a colocation service include network carrier and power delivery redundancy, service flexibility, a capable support team, and physical security measures that keep the critical infrastructure secure.

2. Shop for the right fee structure

Aside from the rates themselves, you should also consider a colocation operator that offers a payment structure that works for you. Colocation rates can often be billed very flexibly, from monthly, quarterly, annually, or even by the hour in some unique use cases.

You should also find out whether they lock-in the prices for the contract term or whether the contract is revised on different time frames.

3. Figure out which hardware you want to buy

Buying your own hardware is one way to fully align your costs to your needs. Some colocation companies can also organise leasing agreements for you to rent equipment as needed, if an outright purchase is not possible.

Leasing or renting kit is great for many reasons. For example, you don’t have to pay the full price for the equipment upfront, and only pay for what you need. Under this sort of agreement, you can get top of the line, brand new equipment based on a recurring monthly rate, rather than a full, upfront capital investment.

However, it’s worth noting that these agreements do require you to keep paying well after you’ve exceeded the value of the hardware. Depending on your needs, it might be better for you to buy your hardware outright, rather than paying for it each and every month.

This is especially helpful if you are able to get a good deal on some hardware by getting it on discount or refurbished. You’ll need to figure out what makes the most sense for your company and align those needs accordingly.

4. Assess the rack capacity

When you’re looking for server colocation services, you need to figure out how much rack space you need to house your equipment.

You’ll then be able to correctly specify how much space you need to house your kit, without over-committing to more (or less!) space than you need, which will keep the costs properly aligned with your requirements. You can then scale upwardly when it’s time to expand.

5. Pay attention to cyber security measures

Always educate yourself on the latest cyber security measures to keep your company well-protected.

Without question, cyber security breaches can end up costing you lots of money. A single breach can cost your company a lot to get back up and running, and even more in any relevant fines from controlling bodies.

Ask the colocation provider what kinds of security they have in place for you, and which areas will need to be factored in by yourself.

Many of these data centres also have emergency plans and policies laid out that will help stem the bleeding if you do happen to get breached. This saves you the time and money of having to figure things out on your own and also helps to eliminate mistakes.

Cost-effective colocation services

Handle your colocation costs with care and consideration, taking note of the tips above. By following these handy pointers, your company will have a greater chance of success in employing use of world-class colocation services.

We can help you with any of your colocation needs. You can get in touch with us online, or by calling 0845 430 9900.

London East Build Blog – Weeks 25 and 26

Further impressive progress to report on finalising the envelope this time around, as we prepare for the final stages of this phase, taking us to the end of our first six months on-site at NLE.

Weekly overview

Week 26 marks exactly half a year on-site at London East. This is quite the milestone, and while we did encounter several minor delays at the beginning of the project (thanks to the initial peak of the COVID-19 pandemic), we’re enormously proud of what’s been achieved in that time.

Much of the first seven or eight weeks were spent undertaking small-scale works in the office to prepare it for housing our management team when on-site at NLE. So realistically, it’s fairer to say that the broader strokes of the project have only been in effect for four solid months, which makes progress – in our eyes at least – all the more impressive.

We’ve had the envelope trades on-site over the past two weeks to continue progress, taking things to the point of readiness for our raised access floors to be installed. The materials for this phase have begun to land with us from our manufacturers in South Africa, the first container of which is seen arriving below.

Office DB
Our new office power distribution is now in place, segregating the NOC and office power systems from the main facility
Office Sign
As a result of the office distribution board being installed, we’ve also been able to power up our new NOC logo spot lights for the first time
The first raised access floor materials container arriving for unloading at NLE
This first container holds around half of the required flooring material, which will total well over 30 tonnes
Some of the tile stacks standing in the warehouse entrance ahead of distribution throughout the building
More floor tiles awaiting distribution inside the facility, waiting for action in our compound
A look at progress on the main envelope structure – this shows the temporary door openings for goods access to both the ground and first floors
A look at what will become the entrance way to the technical spaces at NLE
The view from the warehouse / loading bay into the ground floor access corridors, with the entrance to one of the main LV rooms on the left
A look down the main ground floor access corridor with the ceiling grid now in place, along with test placement lights and tiles
The view inside Data Hall 3, with the completed grid, as seen from what will be the cold corridor
The view from the doorway of Data Hall 4, looking towards the inter-floor access atrium
A shot from inside the second LV room, looking out towards the stairs and lift shaft, with one of our main service risers shown on the right
A look inside the customer lounge and build room, which shows the topside of the service riser as seen above
A skyward view of the double-height atrium as seen from the half landing on our custom staircase, ahead of ceiling installation
The top landing of the access atrium, with the partially installed lift mechanism in place on the left hand side
A view from the doorway of Data Hall 2, with the resin floor coating now down to protect the top surface, which will be underneath our raised access floor
Another view of the floor now sealed, showing the access door that will lead into the first floor cold corridor at the rear of each hall
The cold corridor will also have a vinyl tank installed, which will be in place to provide added protection where our new cooling system lives (as also seen at NLC)
A view out to the warehouse / loading bay, from the first floor access corridor, which will be the main lifting point for materials and incoming client hardware destined for the first floor
The view from underneath our storage mezzanine, looking towards the roller shutter and newly installed wall behind the fork lift, with our on-site workshop area just visible to the left
The ceiling coming together in the main access atrium
The lift shaft progressed further this time around, with the shaft walls reaching the first floor, and the lifting gear / platform test fitted
A look at the composite ceiling as installed in the cold corridor in Data Hall 3, which will form part of the hot air extraction plenum
The first full placement of our evaporative cooling plant plinths in Data Hall 2, which will hold the CREC units in this hall when fitted out – these will sit under the raise floor
A closer look at the plinths in place in Data Hall 2
This side of the custom built plinths will sit inside the cold corridor, and have an access hatch / door for the quick replacement of bag filters without need to lift floor tiles in the data hall
The front side of the plinths show the apertures for pushing cold air into the underfloor void, and will also house the bag filters for each cooler; the integral leak detection equipment in each plinth can be seen in black
As at NLC, we are also installing a supplementary CRAC system in each data hall, with the custom adjustable plinths for these units seen on the opposite side of the room

As you can see, we’re now tantalisingly close to having our completed internal shell handed over to us. We just have the raised access flooring left to go at this point, along with the doors and some final checkerplate wall protection that will follow later down the line.

Having the shell completed will allow for the next phase of the project to begin, that being containment and electrical. While this is underway, we will also be orchestrating the installation of our evaporative cooling system into Data Hall 1.

One of the most exciting points of the project we’ve reached so far is the placement of our first machine plinths, which will hold our cooling system; both the primary evaporative and secondary / supplementary air conditioning units. These are the first pieces of equipment to be placed in their final positions on-site, and while we’re still a fair way off seeing any actual air be pushed through them to live client equipment, we’re very happy to see them sat in place none-the-less!

What’s next?

Next up, the raised access floor will be installed. This will bring the internal shell to a point of completion that allows for the next major phase of the project to begin.

We’ll also be undertaking another deep clean of the facility at this point, to ensure the site is ready for the less invasive, non-construction type works to push ahead inside properly prepared clean spaces.

9 ways that London colocation data centres can benefit you

Is your London office running out of space? When walking around your office becomes tougher than an obstacle course on Ninja Warrior, it’s time to take a look at the furniture to see what can go.

You might have an abundance of chairs or desks stacked on top of one another. But an alternative option is to look at your on-premise servers and consider whether they’d be better suited in one of London’s many world-class colocation centres.

More and more business executives around the country (and the wider world) are now taking advantage of this service, not just to free up space in the office, but also to take full advantage of the many benefits that come with utilising these facilities. If you’ve ever wondered how a colocation data centre can work for you and your business, look no further than the nine perks below.

1. Guaranteed uptime

One of the key reasons many businesses look to a UK data centre is the massive improvement to server uptime. Many colocation companies offer tiers that guarantee a certain percentage of uptime. They’ll also work around you and your business to schedule maintenance so that your customers aren’t impacted.

2. Assists with risk management

Compliance teams and auditors always break into a cold sweat whenever data or servers are brought up in conversation. But utilising a London colocation data centre can reduce their heart rate. This is because these facilities can form part of your data recovery strategy.

Taking advantage of a colocation centre means that if a natural disaster or outage were to occur at your workplace, there’d be no impact to your data or core network as it’s located elsewhere. This knowledge should let you and your compliance team sleep soundly at night.

3. Improved security

Hiring a team to keep a close eye on your own data centre or comms room is an expensive cost that most businesses don’t need, or simply can’t afford.

Many data centres are equipped with the latest biometric readers and CCTV systems to ensure that only authorised personnel are working on your servers. They’re also monitored both physically in person and remotely to ensure round-the-clock security for your critical systems.

4. Cost savings

When you weigh up the costs of using a colocation data centre versus managing your servers in-house, the savings become so significant that they can’t be ignored. If you’re hosting your servers at your office, you’ll need to factor in the costs of operating uninterrupted power sources (UPS), backup generators, advanced cooling systems, and diverse connectivity. There’s also the ongoing maintenance costs and staffing costs to service such a service in-house.

None of these factors are a direct cost or concern if you choose to host your servers at a London colocation centre. All of this technology is already built into the fabric of a top-tier data centre, meaning you needn’t worry about implementing this extremely expensive equipment into any on-site server room at your office.

5. Quality bandwidth

Colocation centres are designed specifically to manage multiple enterprise clients and provide them with the bandwidth they need to function properly. Attempting to replicate this in-house would require a mammoth investment and infrastructure. However, there’s no guarantee that you could recoup these costs, which is why many businesses choose to utilise these facilities.

Data centres form the beating heart of the internet, and as such have masses of capacity on their networks, and delivery their connectivity from multiple carriers, making the connections to client systems hyper-resilient.

6. Certified support technicians

Partnering with a colocation centre doesn’t just give you a place to store your servers. It also provides you access to experts in the field who can manage and troubleshoot any problem that may arise. The staff have all the necessary certifications and stay up to date with all of the latest trends and information so that you and your employees don’t have to.

7. Easier scalability

If you’re struggling with space in the office at the moment, what will happen as your business continues to grow? Instead of worrying about growing pains, you can work with a colocation centre to make adjustments and alterations quickly as your company continues to boom. The team is proficient with various types of requirements across all industries and is always ready to make changes to space, support, power, and security as required.

8. Stronger infrastructure

In order to scale this quickly, it requires state of the art infrastructure that can be cost-prohibitive to replicate in-house. It would also take a mammoth amount of time and energy; something many companies don’t have in ready supply. Utilising a colocation centre’s advanced infrastructure gives your employees and customers the confidence and trust they need to be able to do business. 

9. Colocation data centres are good for the environment

Before you sign on the dotted line, one question you should ask is how the colocation centre powers its facilities. Only a select few use 100% renewable energy, meaning that all of their power comes from sea, sun, and wind.

A green facility can significantly reduce your carbon footprint, which is something that more and more consumers are looking further into before they purchase from a company. Attempting to replicate this in-house is not always possible for a lot of businesses, especially if you share a building or office space with other companies.

Looking for more reasons?

Businesses across the UK are seeing the many benefits that come from utilising colocation centres. Whether it’s freeing up space in the office, cementing a disaster recovery plan, or picking the brains of certified experts, it’s giving companies the peace of mind that their data is safe and secure.

If you’d like to learn more about how a London colocation data centre can benefit your business, or want to see what everyone is fussing about for yourself, get in contact with us today and we can help you get going. We’ll even pour you a nice cup of tea!

London East Build Blog – Weeks 23 and 24

Another extremely transformative week is now in the books at our London East site, following a fortnight of envelope works that have taken much of the internal layout to near-completion.

Weekly overview

The visible transformations continue this time around, as the entire internal layout reaches completion, with all insulated wall panels now fully installed. Aside from another pass for finishing trims, this element of the project is now complete – a great milestone in the envelope construction phase.

The fire protection is now also nearing completion, zoning off all rooms appropriately where the panels reach the warehouse roof, along with any other installation gaps that need closing off.

The ceilings have really transformed each room, allowing the final shape of each room to be more visible, even ahead of the raised access floors going in next week.

A look at the now enclosed structure of Data Hall 4, on the ground floor
The overhead containment basket, flown in Data Hall 1, ahead of the ceiling grid installation
The ground floor wall installation works continue, as the final areas are completely zoned off
The view from the doorway of Data Hall 4, across the ground floor corridor to the double-height stair and lift atrium
The long ground floor access corridor, which links Data Halls 3 and 4, along with the two electrical distribution and UPS rooms
The shell structure of Data Hall 4, ahead of ceiling and floor installation, complete with overhead containment basket
Data Hall 3, at the same state of completion, pending ceiling and floor installation
A closer look at the overhead containment grid, which is identical in all four data halls, and continues into all other areas of the facility
The ceiling grid installed in Data Hall 2, ready for lighting and tiles

There have been plenty of other jobs undertaken this time around, while the envelope construction works continue with our main contractors.

We’ve flown most of the overhead containment for systems that require cable runs above the ceiling. This includes lighting, fire systems, access control, CCTV, and any other supplementary systems added during the initial build or in the future.

The bulk of the main containment will be under the raised access floor, and will be installed shortly after the envelope phase is complete.

What’s next?

With the internal walling now essentially complete, and the ceilings over half way there, the next major phase will be the raised access floor across throughout the entire facility. We’re also coating the first floor with a high-quality paint seal as an added leak protection measure. This will be joined by a full protective vinyl underfloor surface along the length of the first floor cold corridor.

London East Build Blog – Weeks 20 to 22

Massive changes to report this time around, as the walling installation works begin at NLE, zoning the building into its final room layout.

This comes along side a range of other works that have seen a huge, tangible evolution of the site as we head into the final phase of the envelope installation.

Weekly overview

What a three weeks we’ve had on-site here at NLE. The walls have really started to take shape, with the first floor data halls now visible, along with some of the main access corridor and customer breakout / build room. We’ve also had the ground floor to first floor riser access holes cut into the mezzanine floor, ready for our future inter-floor service routes.

Our lift installation is now also underway, with the main vertical runners and lifting mechanism now in place. This will be enclosed by the shaft in the coming weeks, and the platform will be installed.

The ground floor of the facility has also had all fire protection for the mezzanine structure installed, which is another great milestone in terms of having that component of the envelope fully finished.

A look at the now finished EcoTherm skylight blanking
A view of an EcoTherm panel through the newly cut risers, of which there are now two in the facility
Mezz Casing
The mezzanine posts with new fire protecting caps installed
Mezz Casing
The mezzanine has also had its edge fire protection capping installed
Loading Bay Electrics
The loading bay and warehouse area had all new electrical distribution installed as we zone and split delivery
Loading Bay Electrics
Newly installed containment between the new loading bay distribution unit and the storage mezzanine
Safety Board
Our new custom site safety board and sign in station is now fully in place
This may not look like much, but this is the first new cable delivery to land on-site here at NLE, so worth snapping!
We’re very excited to have received a major equipment delivery this time around, in the form of our CREC units for Data Hall 1, and the plinths for all four halls
A look at the custom plinths for our new evaporative coolers, which have been designed for us to contain ease-access filters
The first of our CREC units, now on-site and ready for placement in due course
We’ve also received the extraction fans for Data Hall 1; Ziehl Abegg units as utilised to great effect at NLC, some of which have now been operating uninterrupted and without issue for over 5 years
These are the custom designed and built plinths for our backup CRAC units
We have another forklift on-site, taking us to three in use at NLE, though this time not one of ours – this is a super-heavy duty hire unit to lift the walling pallets up to the mezzanine level
The first insulated wall panel delivery arriving on-site
We’re glad to have such a large front compound here at NLE, not only for our eventual operating data centre, but also for material handling during the build
The first set of panel stacks now ready for installation on the first floor
The first panels being installed on the first floor
A full run of wall panels in place on the first floor
The dividing spine wall that will run between Data Hall 1 and Data Hall 2 on the first floor reaching completion
A look across to the now fully-enclosed Data Hall 2 space
The main spine / corridor wall on the first floor as it encloses Data Hall 1
Walling delivery number two
A look at the completed spine wall which encloses Data Halls 1 and 2, with the temporary door openings for site access – you can also see the early form of what will be our customer lounge, break out and build room on the right
The first floor access corridor starting to take shape, taken between Data Hall 2 and the customer breakout / lounge / build room area
A shot taken from inside the now enclosed Data Hall 1
Data Hall 2, facing the eventual cold corridor / cooling plant area at the rear
Some of the ground floor panels being installed between the mezzanine posts, to form Data Halls 3 and 4, along with plant rooms
Our lift installation has now started, with the main lifting gear now in place, along with the custom mezzanine tie-in bracket

We now have 25 tonnes of insulated wall panelling on-site, ready for installation. This will be followed by nearly 33 tonnes of raised floor, and several tonnes of hung ceiling flown overhead in each hall.

Those with a keen eye will notice that the current door openings cut into the walls would not be correct when factoring in our raised floor. These are currently temporary cut-outs for positioning and site access, and will have their height increased (along with base boards installed) later.

We’re incredibly excited to see the site reach this stage. Of course we still have quite a way to go, with several weeks remaining on the envelope stage alone, however seeing the rooms take shape on-site is a massive milestone.

What else has been happening?

Our new van is now almost finished, and we’re very excited to show you what she looks like! We’re very impressed with how she’s turned out.

We just have some final finishing touches to make, and we’ll show you how she looks.

What’s next?

We still have a few weeks of walling and fire protection installation works to completed on-site, while also flying overhead containment grids in each Data Hall to allow for above ceiling cable runs. Beyond this, the envelope installation works will continue, moving onto floors, ceilings and access.