6 tips for choosing a London colocation provider for your business

In the modern world of business, technology is king. The vast majority of core business functions rely on implicitly on critical technology. This is especially true when one considers the housing of business-sensitive data. With modern technological advances, it’s now easier than ever for businesses to house their data in many different ways.

Colocation services, which combine space, equipment, and security measures for your data into one packaged service, are particularly popular. If you’re in the market for London colocation services, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll give you seven tips to guide your buying process as you decide on a colocation centre for your business data.


1. Power is king

When it comes to colocation services, it’s true to say that power is king. The amount of power and how it is delivered should be an essential guiding factor in your decision-making process. If you do a poor job of estimating how much power your business will need, both now and in the future, there’s a good chance that you could end up choosing a colocation centre that simply won’t be able to meet your eventual requirements.

To avoid any hiccups here, make sure you do your due diligence before issuing an RFP. Figure out exactly what your power requirements are, not only right now, but also during peak times and as you expand. Some facilities allow you to purchase power as you go (metered power), while others will require you to purchase a certain threshold of power regardless of how much you really use. One option may be cheaper than the other for you, depending on your power requirements.


2. Think long-term scalability

When deciding on a London colocation centre, don’t just decide on a facility that fits your needs right now. Instead, remember that you want to work with an operator that will scale alongside your business. 

Many colocation contracts are for a minimum of one to three years. So ask yourself where your business will be several years from now. If you plan on introducing new technologies, changing how you store data, or make any other significant changes that will affect your power requirements, be sure to factor that into your decision-making process.

You should have a good idea of whether or not your operator of choice will meet your needs now and in the future. Skip this step, and you could easily find yourself trying to break or renegotiate a contract a couple of years down the road.


3. Check uptime reports

One of the most important considerations when a purchasing colocation service is uptime. After all, every minute your network is unavailable will likely cost your business money. Your employees are unable to work, rendering them completely unproductive. But worse yet, if your clients are on the same network, then the disruption to their service will certainly have untold consequences on your ability to retain their business when their contracts come to renewal.

Make sure you never sacrifice anything when choosing a colocation centre, including a poor uptime record. Instead, you want to choose the most reliable option available to you. The facility should have round-the-clock support services, so even if your systems go down overnight, there’s an expert who can help you troubleshoot and fix the issue. This is not the place to skimp on costs.


4. Assess security protocols

Rapid advances in technology have come with an unfortunate consequence: a sudden proliferation in cybercrime. It could be a hacker trying to redirect funds from business operations to a personal accounts. Or, it could be one of your competitors trying to steal proprietary technology. Either way, it’s bad for your business.

That’s why you need to ensure that the operator offers premium-level security. Again, this is not somewhere you want to skimp on costs. A data breach could compromise your entire network, not to mention client data. Remember that physical security should also be a consideration. The data centre should have stringent measures in place that prevent those with ulterior motives from accessing your equipment.


5. Check audit compliance

Few things can be as significant in setting back a company as finding yourself on the wrong side of an audit. With all of the different certifications and regulations in this industry, there are now several different audits that your organisation probably has to face every year.

Make sure that your colocation centre of choice meets any certification requirements and will cooperate with any company or third-party audits.


6. Look at total pricing

Last but not least, make sure that you’re looking at total pricing before you sign on the dotted line. Many cheap colocation centres will ‘nickel and dime’ you for things like additional cable routing and remote hands, so be sure that you’re well aware of all the fees for any service upgrades you may require. 


Choose the right London colocation centre for your business needs

There you have it — now you know how to choose a colocation centre for your business. Be sure to check out our London colocation facilities if you’re looking for reliable, secure, high-value services.

Supernode core network upgrade

Just as quickly as the new year begins, investment continues in earnest as we roll out our brand new Supernode core network architecture, enabling enhanced 100Gbps+ capabilities across our metro network.

Our core node in Telehouse received the steroid treatment mid-March, upgrading to a much larger ASR chassis, providing further interconnection capacity as we maintain the steep upward growth trajectory of our network. Telehouse now functions as our first on-net Supernode, handling masses of fibre connections that mix in and out of our multi-site network.

You can take a look at a compressed time-lapse of the upgrade work being undertaken here:

Beyond the full node rework in Telehouse, all on-net nodes have received line card upgrades that enable the enhanced operational capabilities we require as we head steadfast into 2020.

Looking further ahead, we’re also adding a brand new core POP to our metro network in Q2 2020, which will be officially announced in a few weeks. This will further increase our on-net capabilities as we gear up for what will be the largest evolution in our service offering since launching the London Central data centre in 2016 – more on that very soon!

What are data centre solutions?

Who do you trust to store your critical company data?

Gone are the days of businesses storing all their records on-site. Even self-contained computer systems can’t cope with today’s networking needs.

Enter the data centre.

Data centre solutions offer storage, collection, processing, and distributing huge volumes of data. The service runs 24/7 with ongoing support. Customers range from small businesses up to large enterprises.

It’s estimated that the number of internet users is to grow to 5.3 billion by 2023. Transferred data will climb to 3.3 zettabytes by 2021. Data centres lie at the very heart of this global communication infrastructure.

As new technologies emerge, like the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G, it’s essential to choose the right solution for your business.

This guide examines what to look for when hosting your data. How can you save money, increase productivity, and take advantage of ‘the cloud’?

Read on to find out more about data centres and how they can help your business.


What are data centres?

Simply put, a data centre offers a dedicated place to store your data.

Emails, customer files, reports, orders, and communications need to be saved somewhere safe. Traditionally this happened on-site at your business premises. A small server would be hooked into your local network and data simply flowed through it.

But what if you got bigger? What about larger firms needing remote access? What about physical and digital security? And who was going to manage it all?

New data centre technologies don’t have the limitations of old local area networks.

Data is centralised and distributed as required. A good facility is hooked directly into the backbone of the internet to offer high-speed access every second of every day. Your records are always accessible and kept secure from digital and physical attacks.


How does a data centre work?

Every data centre is comprised of similar core components, including:

  • Resilient power infrastructure (at least A+B)
  • Resilient network infrastructure
  • Efficient cooling systems
  • Highly secure rack space
  • 24×7 on-site technicians

Everything is housed in a secure, closely monitored environment. Data is routed in and out of the facility by carriers and ISPs, and processed on systems within the data centre. Security of the information is paramount, so system administrators and engineers are constantly monitoring the network and facility infrastructure.

Our London data centre is 11,000 square feet and has capacity for two-hundred racks. We are qualified Cisco specialists and offer a best-in-class 40/100GigE network.

The facility is deployed in a two data hall configuration. We use N+2 CREC cooling units to make sure client hardware is kept cool. Power is regulated through dedicated UPS infrastructure.


How can data centre solutions benefit my business?

Customer’s who have made the jump to data centres say the service is now critical to their business functions.

Here are some major benefits for you to consider:

  • Reduced operations costs – kit is looked after for you off-site
  • Dedicated support – on-call day and night
  • Colocation – rent dedicated space for your systems
  • Modern infrastructure – faster, more powerful technology
  • Fully protected – physical and digital security
  • Fewer overheads – no air conditioning and power bills on-site
  • High up-time – business systems keep going 24×7
  • Monitored data flow – resilient, high-speed internet connection
  • ISO 27001 – certified information security

Don’t just take our word for it. Check our client success stories to read how we helped benefit their businesses.


How to choose the right data centre

From server colocation to how to set up data centre security systems, what do you need to consider when choosing a provider?

Space

Data centres are sometimes called server farms because they host multiple computers. They are stacked into racks and the greater the square footage the greater the volume of servers.

Question what the size of the data centre is. How much to rent a rack? Are there discounts for renting extra space, on longer term agreements?

Power

Data centres use a huge amount of electricity every year. How is that generated? Is the energy renewable and green? 

Our flagship data centre in London relies on 100% renewable energy. We were awarded the Best Green Business by SLBA and are committed to reducing our carbon footprint.

Connectivity

Latency, or the delay in transferring data, impacts how your business applications work. The lower the delay, the faster your software can communicate with users, for example.

Connectivity includes speed and reliability. Has the data centre got a good track record delivering these? Do they offer specialised services such as P2P circuits and leased lines?

Security

Major security concerns include ransomware and DDoS, but not all threats are digital.

A good data centre also considers physical threats. With the increasing likelihood of an attack happening on a data centre’s premises, how effective is their security?

Support

Ticketing systems are the gateway to support requests. What is the average time to respond to a ticket? Will you be speaking to the same person on the next important call?

We have an average response time of just 2 minutes. Our network status page highlights any downtime and upcoming events.

Additional Services

Some industries require a specialist service. For example, companies storing chemical substance data must conform to the format of OECD and REACH.

We offer a dedicated IUCLID 6 hosting plan. Data remains private and scales on an enterprise-class platform.


House your data in a data centre today

The benefits of data centre solutions are clear.

Take full advantage of the latest technology for your business. Be it colocating your servers or buying a dedicated hosting plan, our facilities are purpose-built for you.

Get in touch today to discuss your requirements. If you live nearby feel free to come in for a cuppa and a tour.

We’ll put the kettle on!

A look back at 2019

As should always be the case for any growing enterprise, this year has unquestionably been our most successful to date. Here’s a look back at the year gone by; 2019 at Netwise.

Investment continued unabated this year, in line with our steadfast approach to ongoing improvement across all aspects of the organisation. This includes works in both customer and non-customer facing areas, to ensure our London Central facility remains the premier choice for world-class colocation services in the capital.

We’ve also seen the greatest level of growth we’ve ever experienced in the on-boarding of new client projects, across both new entrants to our facilities and network, alongside the impressive continued growth enjoyed by our existing customers.

Notable projects from 2019 include:

  • Deployment of Pods 4 & 5 – we took Data Hall 1 to 100% available capacity this year, with all five containment pods now online and servicing an exciting range of new and existing customers.
  • Generator system expansion – in-line with growth experienced in our technical spaces this year, we undertook a major upgrade of our backup generator systems to ensure we maintain power delivery resilience as we continue to fill out our London Central facility.
  • We rebranded – in the summer, we rebranded, dropping the ‘Hosting’ portion of our name and drastically evolving the look and feel of our organisation, to better suit our current position in the market.
  • We turned 10! – this December, Netwise officially turned 10 years old, having incorporated in 2009. We celebrated in style at Swingers West End, with a wide range of customers, suppliers, family and friends!
  • GitHub partnership – this year, we announced an exclusive and unique partnership with GitHub Education, bringing world-class colocation services to their famous Student Pack for the very first time.
  • Cisco hardware on-site – we drastically expanded our on-site hardware stocks in 2019, now holding over 250 different Cisco model lines at our London Central facility, ready for immediate deployment both on-site and off-site.
  • Team expansion – we undertook a complete reshaping of our out-of-hours team early this year, with five new engineers joining the extended workforce. We’ll also be welcoming new Technical and Sales Managers to the day team early next year.
  • Connectivity growth – we now provide a wide range of connectivity services on our ever-growing metro network to a number of notable international carriers, including PCCW, RETN and IDE Group.
  • The next stage – we’ve massively fleshed out plans for the next phase in our development cycle, as we look towards accelerated growth and expansion over the next three years – watch this space!

As you’d probably expect from looking at the above, we’ve also exceeded our performance targets for the year by considerable margin, which ensures the stable, reliable ongoing operation of your mission-critical data centre services.

This is an extremely important factor to bear in mind when deciding who best to work with on long-term projects of this nature. Providing this peace of mind to our clients is something we are hugely proud of.


Looking ahead

2020 is set to be a year of major change as we look to execute plans for the next stage of our growth strategy.

We’re hoping to publicly announce these plans early in Q1.

Alongside these sweeping expansion plans, we’re also looking forward to the excitement of business as usual here at Netwise; introducing a range of interesting new customers to our facility and network in 2020, a number of which have already been arranged for execution in Q1.

We’d like to wish all of our stakeholders a fantastic New Year, and a prosperous 2020. We look forward to sharing it with you.

Generator system expansion

As part of the recent expansion and capacity upgrade project at our London Central data centre, we have deployed another backup diesel generator, which joins the existing sets already providing protection to our clients.

This ensures our N+1 resilience level on backup power is maintained as we continue to introduce new customers into the data centre, and provide ongoing scalable growth to those already with us.

The new set – while outputting the same level of power as its existing counterparts – is a next generation unit that we’ve had presented in an inverse colourway; anthracite grey. This stands in contrast to the existing units, which are in an off-white colourway. Of the three sets which now make up the full system, it is the smallest, quietest, and sleekest looking unit, perfect for demonstrating where we’ve made tangible upgrades to our critical infrastructure.

As part of this new deployment, we’ve adjusted how the setup works as a homogeneous system, with regards to the operational logic for running three sets in an N+1 fail-over scenario.

The new generator is actually now Set 1, with the existing units becoming Sets 2 and 3. This allows the newest set to become the primary unit in this multi-generator system.


How our generator system works

We’re not doing anything particularly ‘special’ when it comes to mixing in our backup generator sets, however in the interest of total transparency, we thought it of interest to explain exactly how this system works in real-world scenarios.

We have enough backup generator capacity on-site to cover full load in the facility on two sets, reserving one as a swing set. This can be called into service should one fail during emergency operation, hence giving us our N+1 resilience.

There are two main invocation scenarios in a facility with A+B mains power systems, which are:

  • A single side power failure, either A or B (the most common)
  • A full blackout of both A and B (less common)

The computer systems that control our generator logic (both inside the generators and as part of our Automatic Transfer Switches) handle each case slightly differently, depending on what has happened.


A single side power failure

As expected with any mains power issue, our UPS systems take load immediately to ensure faultless operation while the generators are instructed to start up. We have a minimum run-time on our UPS’s of 10 minutes, though most have more than 20 minutes in reality.

All generators as part of our system are kept on hot-standby, with all oils and pumps kept warm ready for the immediate firing of engines. In this state, the generators are known as ‘At Rest’, and available for service.

During a single side failure, two of the three generators will be instructed to fire, which will then startup, self-test, and synchronise with the sister unit.

If for any reason one unit fails to sync, the remaining swing set will be called up and take over, placing the other into a cool-down state.

Once online and synchronised, which takes around 60 seconds, the ATS’s will switch through the load, allowing the generators to take over from the inline UPS’s.

If the load is at below 60% of a single unit’s capacity, the system will then allow for the load to be taken up by a single generator, placing two units back into the swing pool, to be invoked again if required.

We’re then running on generator for as long as required, with 48 hours of fuel on-site, and refuelling contracts with two separate entities for refuelling within 2 hours.

Once the mains feed is seen to be restored by the system, it will hold on generator for another three minutes to ensure stability, before automatically switching back to the mains feed for load.

The online generators then enter into a three minute cool-down cycle, before dropping back into their ‘At Rest’ state, ready to be called up again if required.


A full blackout of both A and B

Although this is a less common real-world scenario, it is one of our test simulations, and invokes the generators in a slightly different manner.

Should this occur, most actions as above remain the same, however in this case, all three generators would fire as part of stage one, rather than just two.

They will then test and sync together, and again have a set fall away to become the swing unit once the system is spun up and ready to take load.

In this way, the backup system is always able to both take load, and provide a swing set for resilience should there be an issue with a unit during emergency operation.

The entire system enjoys a rigorous testing schedule, which is incredibly important for a backup power system. Sets are test fired every two weeks and allowed to run warm for five minutes, checking for any running issues. We also complete on-load tests every month, to ensure the sets can take full load; an important step missed by many facility operators.

The system is also fully maintained by Shenton Group, the organisation responsible for the build, supply and initial testing, ensuring our units are in tip-top operational condition year-round.


What’s next?

That’s not the only upgrade coming as part of our backup generator system. The investment in this critical area continues in Q4, as we introduce a brand new mixing enclosure in our Electrical Intake Room, which will improve and update what is in place at present, finalising developments in this area in the mid-long term.

The new internal enclosure will allow for the use of next generator smart rotary breakers, something not presently in service as part of the current enclosure panel.