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.

Ditching the data closet: why colocation might be a better fit

Do you have an in-house ‘data closet’ that’s becoming too hard (or hot!) to handle? You’re not alone. Companies that are rapidly expanding often find they’re at a crossroads when it comes to managing their on-site data closets. 

Renovating your in-house facility is an expensive option that comes with many hurdles. Depending on your needs, you may find that colocation is a better and more affordable fit.

Read on to learn all about the benefits of colocation, and why migrating away from your cramped, outdated data closet could be the best choice for you and your business.


The pitfalls of an in-house data closet

Although it may feel as though an in-house data closet or data room is the best option, there are many cons that you may not be aware of.

Responsibilities

The responsibilities of the maintenance and security of your servers fall to your in-house IT team. If your business is still growing, you may not have the budget to hire suitable employees in this area. 

Construction

You may not have a big enough space for all of your equipment. You’ll also want to keep in mind the operational costs for keeping your data closet properly cooled and running efficiently. 

Redundancy

Redundancy is necessary to lessen the chance of downtime for your servers in emergencies. However, small and mid-sized businesses may struggle to afford extra connections and emergency backup power contingencies. 


Benefits of colocation

You’ll find that compared to an in-house data closet, migrating to an off-site colocation service provides a host of benefits that you may not have considered.

1. Access

One of the biggest worries to a business owner is that colocation means they’re giving up complete access to their hardware. However, a colocation service still gives you the ability to access your server stacks 24×7. If an emergency arises, you won’t need to jump through any hoops or hurdles in order to gain the access you need. 

2. Security

Security is also a huge point of concern. However, many colocation providers have high-end security features for their facilities that in-house data centres typically can’t afford. They can also provide mirrored data centres for disaster recovery, along with redundant internet and power connections for increased up-time.

You can expect to use key cards or biometric security features in order to gain access to your servers. Camera surveillance is also common, so you can be sure nobody is tampering with your servers. 

3. Controlled conditions

You probably already know that your servers need specific cooling in order to run optimally. These are conditions that you don’t need to worry about constantly monitoring, because these facilities are monitored by in-house professionals. Since you don’t need to pay someone extra to monitor these conditions for you, this can save you a good deal of time and money. 

4. Customer service

One of the best features of a colocation data centre is that you don’t need to pay a full IT team to get help and support you need. These facilities offer exemplary customer service, so when something does go wrong, you’ll have an expert to turn to. Besides monitoring conditions and security, they also maintain up-to-date industry certifications.

Even better, colocation facilities offer a select handful of specialist services. This means that the people who work there are experts at what they do and can provide a level of service that exceeds those of a general IT department.

5. Scalability

Server colocation is a great option if your business is continuing to grow and evolve. This is because you’re able to scale up and down easily when you’re renting space in these facilities. You’ll be paying for space and power only when you need it. Here’s an example of some of the choices you have:

  • 1U, 2U, or 4U colocation
  • Quarter rack
  • Half rack
  • Full rack

The best part of colocation flexibility is that you’re not locked down to a certain size or plan. For instance, if you’re predicting a new launch of a product or service, you can scale up your deployment as and when required. Afterwards, you can scale back down in line with demand.

6. Marketability

Last but not least, investing in a colocation service as opposed your own data closet is great for marketability. The enhanced security features that you’ll enjoy with colocation is an optimal selling point for customers who want to be sure their data won’t be compromised.

It’s also tangible proof that your business values data management and security protocols, which boosts your reputation with potential customers. 


Growing your business with colocation

Now that you know all the benefits of colocation, you can see why opting for a data closet instead can seriously limit your growth, and even put you in dangerous situations. Colocation provides total convenience, because it offers you the ability to access your servers 24×7. As your business grows, you can pay more to increase your rental space.

Better still, colocation offers you enhanced physical and digital security to keep your critical information secure. And in the case of emergencies, colocation facilities offer redundant internet connectivity and power so that you won’t incur any downtime. 

Founded in 2009, Netwise is one of the UK’s leading colocation service providers. Interested in migrating to colocation? Get in touch with us today and book a tour of our world-class data centres!

Netwise turns 10

Netwise was first incorporated on the 8th December 2009, making December 2019 a time of celebration – 10 years in business, doing what we love!

On the 13th December, we got together with friends, family, customers and suppliers to honour the occasion at Swingers West End, with great food, drinks, and of course a round of mini-golf!

This is quite the milestone for Netwise, a venture which started life in its earliest form way back in 2005, in the loft of Matthew’s family home. Not an ideal location of course, but it’s where the chips would begin to fall in favour of the organisation becoming a reality just a few years later.

In commemoration of the 10th birthday event, we’ve put together a gallery of photos from the evening, which you can browse below:


We hope everyone in attendance enjoyed themselves, and we look forward to welcoming you back to our future milestone celebrations as we continue to grow and evolve in the coming years.

Our guests on the night also got first eyes on our anniversary picture book, which gives an overview of the last 10 years at Netwise. Be sure to ask for a look when you’re next in at our London Central data centre!

We also have a video of the night coming in January, so keep an eye out for that on our socials.

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.

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