How to reap the benefits of colocation: finding the right solution for your business

The colocation market is set to see a 15.4 per cent growth rate from 2016 through to 2020. As a result, lot’s of companies are moving from in-house hosting solutions to an outsources approach involving data centres.

Why are so many companies making this change? Let’s take a look at the benefits of colocation / rack space, and how to choose the best data centre operator for your needs.


The benefits of colocation

Server colocation offers quite a few benefits over keeping your server infrastructure in-house. One of the most obvious of these benefits will be the associated cost savings.

If your server is on-site at your office (or even at home), it usually means you’ll need to install the infrastructure suitable for running high-uptime devices. This includes resilient cooling, network connectivity, power, and adequate physical security.

With a colocation service, the data centre handles these components for you, meaning you simply pay a fixed amount each month to make use of their enterprise-grade infrastructure. Because data centre operators provide colocation services to many companies, you’ll only need to pay a fraction of the total overhead.

Better support is another major benefit of working with a data centre. The colocation provider will have support staff on-site 24×7 to address any problems with your systems. Having your own staff on-hand around the clock would add enormous internal costs to your business.

Data centre operators also provide greater operational flexibility over keeping your systems in-house. There are a wide range of options available to clients, including various highly-resilient connectivity options. Offering a blended transit service ensures that individual carrier issues do not impact client services. This isn’t a viable investment for most companies when running a systems on-premises.

Scalability is another benefit that data centre hosting providers offer end-users. If your needs change and you need more bandwidth or power for your critical systems, you can scale up using the data centre’s existing infrastructure. Scaling up an in-house setup means fronting the extra cost of having these services installed, if they’re even available.


How to find the right colocation provider

There are several factors that you need to consider when choosing the most suitable colocation provider for your business, which include:

  • Power and sustainability
  • Scalability
  • Connectivity options
  • Compliance
  • Locations
  • Security and environmental controls

Power and sustainability

One of the biggest benefits of a server colocation service when compared with hosting your critical systems in-house is power efficiency. This can vary from one provider to another.

Look for a data centre that offers a sustainable energy supply. Netwise’s resilient power feeds run on 100% renewable energy from wind, sun, and sea.

Your colocated systems should also remain operational if there is ever a power interruption that affects the data centre’s primary (and even secondary) power supplies. Netwise uses an advanced diesel generator system with a 48-hour on-site fuel supply to ensure your systems remain operational and available even during a power interruption.

We also have multiple 24×7 refuelling contracts in case of an extended power interruption.

Scalability

The scalability of your system’s resources is another important factor to consider in choosing a data centre partner. This applies to both the system itself and the associated connectivity.

If your bandwidth needs increase, you need to be sure the data centre can increase your network resources to meet new demand. This may be a short-term increase for unexpected spikes in traffic, or it could be an ongoing permanent / semi-permanent elevation as your needs evolve.

Look for a data centre that works with several carriers. This allows for highly-resilient blended transit options as well as fallback connection options in case of an outage.

The data centre should also offer scalable connection types. As your needs increase, you can adjust your service delivery and composition accordingly.

Connectivity options

With a colocated system, connectivity is critical. If you’re not able to reach your servers over the network, your entire business could suffer.

The data centre operator you choose needs to have multiple levels of redundancy engineered into their core to ensure your systems remain accessible. Access to multiple carriers is one aspect of this, but they also need to ensure diverse, redundant path options across the board, from edge to core.

Make sure the data centre network supports the IP standard you’re using, both now and in the future. IPv4 is the older standard, but if you’ve switched to IPv6 addressing standard, the network will need to support it.

Connections to cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud are also important if you utilise any of these services.

Compliance

If you do business in an industry with particular compliance regulations, such as financial services and healthcare, you need to ensure the data centre you choose is fully compliant with any applicable regulations.

A component of some of these regulations is the physical location of your data. In some cases, the data must be stored within the same country the regulations apply to. This often applies to systems in which you’re storing customer records.

You also need to ensure the data centre is Data Protection Act (DPA) compliant if you’re doing business in the UK, as well as GDPR-compliant for any EU organisation holding personal information.

Locations

The location of a data centre has a bearing on compliance, but it also affects other things, such as accessibility to your equipment and the physical safety of your systems.

Working with a data centre that’s located nearby ensures your IT staff have access to your systems for upgrades and other maintenance tasks.

The data centre’s location will also affect how susceptible it is to natural disasters, like earthquakes and major storms. These events can cause downtime and other problems, so choosing a location that’s less likely to be affected by them is always safest.

Security and environmental controls

The physical security and environmental control of the data centre are other factors that affect your overall system availability. Not to mention the safety of your critical data.

Look for a data centre with good physical security, such as 24×7 on-site security, live and historical CCTV monitoring with a long retention period, and access technologies like RFID and biometric access controls.

Cooling is a critical piece of the puzzle as well. Data centres hold large numbers of servers that create a lot of heat, so effective cooling is critical to keep your equipment up and running.


Why you should choose Netwise as your colocation service provider

Netwise has over a decade of experience providing best-in-class colocation solutions to clients all around the world. Our data centres offer all of the above benefits, along with many others.

If you’re looking for a UK-based data centre for colocation or need dedicated server resources to expand your existing systems, get in touch with us today to find out how we can help.

Trends to watch for in colocation services in 2020

Jules Verne was right about so many things.

After all, the concept of nearly unlimited computer systems holding the full store of human knowledge is practically a reality. Experts estimate data storage totalling 175 zettabytes by 2025.  

The Jules Verne visions of the modern era viewed through a 19th Century lens look very different from the actual article. The submarine, for instance, is much less a luxurious masterpiece than a precisely engineered marvel. 

The same can be said of data centres. Colocation services mean that the clunky,  out-of-date in-house comms room is replaced with efficient, modern and cost-effective data centre solutions.


Trends in colocation services

Maintaining on-premise space for IT equipment instead of people is a choice many businesses are weighing up. The cost of commercial space in pricey Mayfair in London, for example, is £115 GBP per square foot. Would you rather have that space occupied by your valuable sales force, or your computer systems?

Even though the trend for server size moves ever smaller, many companies find it more cost-effective to house their servers in a purpose-built space. However, why maintain that space in-house? Much like companies rent office space rather than building and maintaining a facility of their own, colocation services fill the same need.


Old school data centres to colocation

Building and maintaining a server farm is a daunting process. Computer processing equipment used to take up entire rooms and require countless dedicated operators. That slowly changed a single large room of equipment. Now, what used to take dozens of operators and acres of space is contained within just a few racks.

Refurbishment of space and infrastructure can prove costly. Many companies have elected to give up their old in-house data centres. The associated capital expenditures of building, maintaining and updating an in-house data centre rarely pencil out.

Colocation services provide the building, cooling, power, bandwidth and physical security; the perfect environment for clients to house their own servers and storage equipment.


Not everything is in the cloud

Ongoing data breaches and scandals mean that many companies try to avoid cloud solutions for some core proprietary functions. Control over their own servers and data is a growing primary concern. Colocation is the ideal solution to this concern.

Many enterprise management software platforms base themselves on and around critical network architecture. A cloud-based service simply doesn’t work well to this end. For companies with highly customised software, maintaining a proprietary network makes sense.

Companies making the transition to cloud-based services may find that colocation is an important step in the transition, and forms the basis for any fixed workloads in a hybrid solution for the future.


Hybrid cloud

Getting services closer to the end-user is a goal for many IT professionals. Cloud services offer great mobility and access, but do not protect company data as effectively as hardware under direct company control. Apps and tools to make this bridge simpler are part of any modern, agile colocation service.

A mixed approach to infrastructure is often the answer.  User automation, micro-services, APIs, easy software-based provisioning; with these elements in mind, the ongoing management of the various different infrastructure types into a seamless whole is the challenge.

The right provider can offer services that let a company’s IT department create dynamic, hybrid solutions; fixed workloads in colocation interconnected with flexible workloads and content delivery networks in the cloud.


Carrier readiness

5G mobile networking is an estimated 100x faster than existing 4G networks. Telecom providers turned London on in 2019, and other cities are expected to have full 5G service in a short time. User-facing service providers need to be ready for the rapid changeover, bringing with it much-increased demands on data, enabled by faster download speeds.

Colocation services offer superior network connections in many different ways, offering a blend of different carriers. More than one carrier is always recommended for redundancy and reliability.


Prepared for growth, prepared for disaster

Unlike self-maintained and owned data centres, outsourced colocation means that changes or interruptions to business are quickly recoverable. Colocation services offer:

  • Redundant network connections – business-critical applications run around the clock
  • Redundant power –  a combination of the power grid, backup generators, and battery backup systems protect against service interruptions
  • Room for growth – colocation allows for infrastructure expansion without having to take on additional capital expenditure
  • 24x7x365 support on-site – experienced technical personnel are on-site for emergency and routine maintenance

Our London Central data centre also offers a fully serviced, 33 desk business continuity suite inside our 11,000 square foot facility. The central London location takes advantage of well-developed telecom network access and proximity to many major companies / operators.


Is colocation right for your company?

Trends in colocation services indicate a need for companies to save operating costs as well as protect against business interruptions. Colocation is also an effective way to expand workloads without expanding footprints in existing office facilities.

Colocation will usually provide significant savings in the management of critical IT infrastructure. The day-to-day operational care of the servers, power and cooling will be outsourced to a specialist operator. Colocation services will almost always provide improved resilience over in-house operations. 

Companies that have great variability or seasonality in their data resource utilisation may find colocation solutions useful. Spikes in usage are absorbed by the whole, often at a lower cost.

Colocation services offer a combination of flexibility, cost savings, and reliability.


How can Netwise help?

Netwise provides global-level colocation services in private facilities. Our bespoke tools, built entirely-in-house, provide both large and small users alike with the reliability and up-time they need for faultless technical operations, around the clock.

Netwise offers:

  • Superior London and European locations
  • 100% renewable energy
  • Sustainable and eco-friendly cooling systems
  • Fully-stocked build rooms
  • 33 desk workplace recovery suite
  • Leading SLA
  • 10+ years track record

Contact us today to discuss your critical IT infrastructure needs.

The 6 most important questions to ask about data centre services

Is colocation the right strategy for your business? Is it about time you moved your data to the cloud? Or maybe you’d like to move from one colocation provider to another? How do you know if a data centre service is the right choice for you? Technically, they all look the same, right?

Choosing the best data centre services provider is one of the most crucial decisions you may ever have to make for your business. Which begs the question, how do you find the best one? Well, to answer that question, you need to ask the data centre management team several questions during the vetting process.

Exceptional security is non-negotiable. You are entrusting the data centre service provider with valuable data and IT assets you cannot afford to lose. Don’t proceed unless you have suitable answers to these questions.

In this post, we are going to address six of the most critical questions you should ask.


1. What are your cooling, carrier, and power redundancies?

Power redundancy is vital when it comes to keeping a data centre up and running. Ask the data centre service provider about their power sources, where they’re fed from, how many commercial feeds they have; and most importantly, the redundancy of their UPSs. Data centre services need ample power not only to run client hardware, but also to cool the facility.

They must operate multiple backup generators to ensure availability at all times. Enquire about their connectivity options, which should also offer full redundancy of delivery to client deployments.


2. What level of protection do you have against natural disasters?

Regardless of the facility’s geographical location, there are always chances of natural disasters. Even if he facility survives a disaster, how long would the on-site generators continue to supply power?

Do they have emergency fuel suppliers? Understanding their contingency plans based on possible risks is vital. Knowing how they will inform you of the status of your systems following such disasters will help you decide if they are the facility operator of choice.


3. What level of uptime does their SLA provide?

When vetting data centre services, one of the most crucial questions you could possibly ask is how much downtime they expect to suffer. It could be devastating to lose access to your critical systems due to data centre downtime.

This could cost your business revenue, opportunities, and maybe even diminish your brands reputation. This is something you cannot afford. You’ll find 99.99% uptime SLAs in most data centres.


4. What security measures do you have in place?

Data centres nowadays feature top-of-the-line security features and access policies that protect the precious data entrusted to them by multiple businesses. Good security will always start at the perimeter, with the fencing and sensor surveillance, through to the data floors.

Aside from the layers of physical security they may offer, a data centre service needs to have logical security protocols in place that will restrict different people from accessing different areas. Companies with multi-factor authentication processes, such as biometric technology, work better in terms of protecting critical assets. They ensure only authorised personnel access certain areas of the facility.


5. Can the facility handle future growth?

Your business may have simple needs such as space, connectivity, and power at the moment, but what about your future requirements? You may need certain managed services, including cloud computing, replication, backup and archiving, managed SAN services, disaster recovery-as-a-service, among others.

Will the facility offer you such services? What about future power and space requirements?

Specify how much power you’ll be consuming and ensure they have room for more. You may be surprised later on to learn that you are limited to a certain circuit capacity, which may not be enough. Avoid placing your business in a position where you’ll need to start looking for another data centre once you experience growth.


6. How many data centres do you have and what are their locations?

This seems like a basic question, but it’s imperative. You see, you need to have a data centre that’s close enough for your frequent travels. Your technological requirements may need you to travel to the centre for maintenance, hardware and software upgrades, and server installations. A data centre close-by will certainly save you time and inconvenience.

It helps if the data centre operator has a national footprint, with facilities strategically located in different areas in case you need to branch your business. Having various centres in different locations is an assurance of redundancy. In the case of a natural disaster, you will be able to replicate your critical systems.


Bonus question: how do you handle temperature control?

Cooling innovations are important in data centres, more so as cabinet deployments increase. Enquire if the company uses cold and hot aisle containment, or whether they defuse hot air with cold. How do they manage the temperature in the facility? Do they have advanced predictive analytics and monitoring? Can they handle special cooling when the need arises?


Choose a professional data centre services company

With so many data centre options available, you may have an abundance of operators on your shortlist. However, you have to be careful about who you entrust your critical systems to. Besides all of these questions, ask about their transparency, staff qualifications, certifications, and attestations.

How often do they perform power switching tests for load performance? Do they provide 24x7x365 remote hands support? Answers to these questions will help you arrive at the right data centre service operator.

If you need state of the art colocation services, get in touch or check out our website.

The biggest business benefits of colocation

An emerging cost effective solution for businesses large or small when it comes to their investment in infrastructure, explore the benefits of colocation.

Colocation is a hosting option that businesses all over the world use for a variety of reasons. A data centre facility generally provides colocation services, along with other related services. Data centre facilities let companies rent space for their servers and computing hardware.

Such data centres, also referred to as ‘colo data centres’, will provide the secure rack space and resilient power. They also provide connectivity / transit, cooling, and physical security for the hardware. The customer generally provides their own servers and storage.

Depending on the colocation service you choose, you can upgrade these services on the fly. Premium colocation services also offer 24×7 technical support. You can enjoy access to teams of experts that can assist your business; you can also get remote hands that can handle physical technical issues. 

So, what are the benefits of using a colocation service?


Capital expenditures

There are many reasons to use colocation services instead of building an on-site data centre space. One of the main benefits is the avoidance of huge capital expenditures (CAPEX). The CAPEX associated with creating, maintaining, and updating large computing facilities is significant. 

Relying on a colo data centre allows your business to cut these costs, moving them instead to a more manageable OPEX cost. At the same time, you get to keep ownership and complete control of your physical servers, something not offered through the use of cloud and virtual services.

The only thing to note when it comes to spending is upfront expenses. Using a colocation service still requires your business to shoulder the upfront costs of buying your own hardware. You will also typically need to shoulder the travel costs of your engineers whenever they need to access the hardware manually.


Reliable connectivity

When running a business that relies on connectivity for many core processes, uptime is absolutely critical. With a colocation service, you can enjoy 100% uptime. Constant and reliable connectivity is a significant feature colocation providers supply. 

They have superior and fully redundant high-capacity network connections. These allow colo data centres to make sure that your equipment is connected to the rest of the world 24×7. 

Furthermore, colo service providers focus considerable time and effort on proactive maintenance. This means that everything is kept running smoothly, avoiding issues that could cause downtime.


Green energy

Data centres use a considerable amount of energy. Some data centres now elect to operate in places where inexpensive green energy is available. Sometimes, it’s a product of corporate social responsibility, and other times, it’s financially practical. 

Either way, you can expect many top-tier colo providers to employ the use of green energy. We’re a good example of this, having been named one of the Best Green Business winners in the recent past.

Your company could already be green. Or, you could be looking into ‘going green’. Either way, using a colocation service instead of running a local data centre or comms room will help you achieve far greater sustainability.


Fire protection

Office buildings are generally fire protected as standard, so you may feel that this is not a feature that you specifically need. But did you know that servers need specialised fire protection?

Servers draw a lot of power. On top of that, they’re easily damaged by water. Colocation centres can handle the specific protection needs of servers and associated equipment. These include both passive and active fire protection systems. 

Passive elements include sensitive smoke detectors and VESDA systems. These are particular types of smoke detection units tuned to detect smouldering electrical components, which can identify an issue before ignition. Such methods make your servers’ fire protection to be more vigilant.

Data centres also have more passive elements like walls to prevent fires from spreading. Active elements include fire suppression systems like electrical-safe sprinklers and inert gas fire suppression.


Temperature management

Servers have to be kept at cooler temperatures than the average office space, so your employees and your servers won’t make for great office mates.

You might be willing to invest in the creation of a separate space and a cooling system in this new location, but such an endeavour can prove expensive.

Using a colocation service can help solve this issue. Colocation providers are able to watch the temperature in the data halls at multiple points, allowing them to use their robust ventilation systems to deploy climate-controlled air.

Components are kept at their optimal temperatures in this way. Other colocation providers go as far as placing their data centres in places with naturally cold climates, which offsets any additional risks in temperature rises.

Note that humidity can also affect the operation of these components. Colo data centres watch the humidity levels around your components for this very reason. This way, their humidification systems prevent static electricity build up and discharge.


Cloud migration

Cloud migration is a trend in companies of every size today. If you’re also looking to make the move to cloud computing for your business, colocation can pave the way. Colocation provides the tools you need for a smooth transition and an excellent base to build a robust hybrid system.

It allows you to move your hardware to a facility with more capacity to manage the necessary changes, meaning it can add much-needed support to the process, making it both easier and faster.


Making room to grow

The current size of your business is not likely the size it will remain forever. As you grow, your infrastructure will have to grow with you. Colocation services allow you to expand your infrastructure in-line with your growth. 

You don’t have to take on more capital expenditure. This means you will be able to expand your critical IT infrastructure, and provide support for it more quickly. You’ll also be able to do it with much less investment than you would with an on-site data centre or comms room.


Colocation solutions

When your business owns its networking equipment, servers, and storage, it’s tempting to host it all on-site. After all, it might seem like a waste to have all the equipment and have to pay someone else to host it. But you should keep in mind that office spaces are designed to meet the needs of people, not critical IT equipment.

Servers and related hardware has its own needs. These needs are specialised and highly technical. For each group – either servers or people – their needs have to be met for them to be optimally productive.

Considering a colocation service may be the best choice you could make for your business to address all these needs

Contact us to speak with an expert.

How to decide between half and full rack colocation

You’ve decided that colocated services are the way forward for your business. You want a reliable data centre so you don’t have to worry about building, maintaining and updating a large computing facility. These rentable data centres take care of all the extra expenses and work with the kind of security that provides peace of mind.

However, you’ll need to analyse the pros and cons when deciding whether a full or half rack is the best solution for your business. Read on to learn more about these options so you can make the most informed decision.


What is Colocation? 

Colocation can be a difficult concept to describe if you’re new to it. Simply put, the term means that servers and other IT equipment from many different companies are ‘co-located’ within one data centre. 

Also referred to as a ‘colo,’ these data centre facilities rent out rack space to third parties. It’s a simple solution designed to assist businesses that don’t have enough resources to maintain their own data centre, but still need the benefits.

Some of the benefits include lower costs, fewer members of staff, easier scalability, and the ability to choose a data centre that’s near your users. Last but not least, because the contracts you sign last at least one year, your monthly expenses are extremely predictable.


Half rack colocation

Half racks offer 20U of colocation space – a perfect solution if your needs are on the smaller end of the spectrum. At 1.75”, a rack unit (or ‘U’) measures the thickness of a single unit server.

Because of the smaller size, most half rack options are less expensive than full rack options, typically ranging between £299.00 to £479.00 per month. They also include: 

  • Power feeds of 2 to 8 amps at 240v
  • Multiple connectivity options 
  • Lockable, segregated racks for extra security

This isn’t a good solution for your business if you’re planning on growing beyond 20U, as you’d need to migrate to a larger enclosure, or contract for another. Half racks don’t give you a lot of available room to add additional equipment, but if you don’t predict on adding more equipment, this can be the most efficient and cost-effective option for your business.


Full rack colocation

If you do planning on scaling your business and adding more equipment, full racks are generally the best option. The larger size allows you to store many more servers and network equipment. 

Like half rack options, full racks are lockable cabinets for extra security. They can only be accessed by IT professionals that are approved by your business.

Because of the extra cost, you don’t want to pay for space that you don’t need, so make sure that your business actually needs this extra room. However, you may want to consider private cages or suites if you anticipate lots of growth that will soon require multiple cabinets. 

Private cages give you a little extra flexibility, such as adding desks, keyboards, monitors, additional cooling elements and more room for network equipment.


Choosing your colocation service provider

There are many providers available for colocated services, and it can be overwhelming to decide who to go with. After all, this is a long term decision that will determine the safety and upkeep of your IT equipment. 

Besides software, hardware, and cost, here are some important aspects to consider:

Security

Ensure that the provider offers both logical and physical security. Logical security is more difficult to determine than physical security, so do your research, or talk to a provider’s customer service department for clarity. You also want features such as biometric or security card access, 24×7 on-site personnel, and the ability to mitigate DDoS attacks.

Carrier options

It’s important that the data centre has various connectivity options available, including a range of blended transit and off-net, direct connection options. The best will be able to provide a wealth of options to suit any budget and requirement. 

Contracts and SLA

Part of the contract should include an SLA (Service Level Agreement) that guarantees certain levels of service, such as uptime, throughput and the mean time between failures and recovery. Ensure that you compare SLAs with the providers you’re considering, and find the one that gives you the most security.

Privacy

Make sure that the colocation service provider you’re considering has the necessary technology, policies, and procedures in place to match your regulatory compliance requirements. For instance, if your data is being transferred to another country, determine the privacy laws there and if any would be violated. 

On-Site Monitoring and Managing 

It’s important to find a provider that provides a consistent temperature-controlled environment. However, that’s not all you need to ensure your equipment is working properly. 

It’s necessary to keep track of the on-site security measures, cooling performance, power conditioning and the general operation of your equipment. You can do this yourself by travelling to the data centre on a regular basis. Another option is to determine if your provider also offers managed services. 

Moreover, environmental probes, rack monitors and power management software can help you monitor the health of your equipment even when you’re not at the location.

The My Netwise customer control panel provides most of this data to end clients as standard, meaning less of this responsibility is placed on the service user.


Colocated services for your business

As you can see, choosing a half rack versus a full rack service is all about your infrastructure needs in the moment. You also need to take into account your anticipated growth.

Geographic flexibility and the ability to travel to your colocation provider is important. It’s also recommended to shop around to find the best deals, SLAs, and features for your area.

Now that you know which option is best for your business, contact Netwise today. As one of the UK’s leading colocation service providers, we offer state of the art, highly resilient private facilities