Options to Consider when Looking for a Data Center

kjhkjjThere are a lot of things that people need to consider when selecting a data center footprint. Here are five key points to site selection for a high-value multi-tenant colocation data center facility.

Is the Data Center Facility Disaster Safe?

Some data centers are located in geographical regions where there tends to be a lot of severe weather, seismic, flooding or other catastrophic activity. No company can survive outages and expect to retain their customers.

Reviewing Presidential Disaster Declaration data will help you understand what areas of the US are prone to natural or manmade disasters and what areas typically have few disasters. You should strongly consider hosting your data infrastructure in a location with a mild climate, geological stability, away from hurricane paths, tornado and severe storm areas.

Is the Data Center Located in a Low-cost Power Area?

California and Utah are just have Nevada separating them, but Utah's power costs are half of California's. If you need a West Coast data center facility, then you would find much better pricing hosting in Utah than you would in California. Similarly, if you host your infrastructure in West Virginia as opposed to New York City you'll save tremendously on the cost of power.

If you look at a map of average power prices in the US you'll notice specific low cost areas. These are the areas you should consider for data center colocation. With power costs being a fixed cost, the lower the power cost the more competitive the data center can be on pricing in a head to head comparison with a similar facility in a higher power cost state.

Are There Many Connectivity Options?

One main reason companies host their data infrastructure in data center facilities is for the connectivity access to major carrier providers. One Wilshire in Los Angeles is one of the most heavily carrier network populated buildings in the world with over 300 network carriers on-net. Most companies only need a few providers though, however there are better places to consider than others.

If you were to look at a network connectivity map to see where the fiber lines are buried, most follow along major freeways. Salt Lake City for example is on the cross-roads of Internet connectivity because connectivity goes north, south, east and west through the city with the intersection of two major freeways.

As you evaluate data center facilities, make sure they have carriers on-net and not just on-campus on on-curb. Anything other than on-net means that they're not build into the facility.

PUE, Operational and Cooling Efficiencies

A well-managed and operated data center facility is one that has minimal overhead to deliver their services. One metric to measure this efficiency is PUE, which measures how much power it takes to deliver 1MW of conditioned power to the data center floor. A PUE of 1.4 or less is great and indicates a well-managed data center facility.

Other things to look at are the Operational efficiencies. You can look at the maintenance schedules, the auditor and outage reports. Additionally, you should talk with the facility manager and learn about the cooling technologies used in the facility.

Some data centers are located in areas where the wet-bulb temperatures match the ASHRAE window. In this case the data center can use filtered outside air without having to condition it for many months of the year. The PUE for these types of facilities can be below 1.2, and even as low as 1.06 PUE.

Accessibility, Flexibility and Reputation

Some data center facilities are located in areas where they are hard to get to. For instance, how many different routes can you take to get to the data center facility in case you must hurry there during rush hour? Is the facility located near a major airport with a good track record of on-time arrivals?

If you are a small customer in a big data center the data center is less likely to be flexible with their service offering or as attentive with their customer service, whereas if you are a big customer in a small data center you could ask for about anything and the staff and sales personnel will get it to you.

It's always good to look online for facility outages and the general commentary on that facility. Perhaps there is some nuance that isn't reflected in the marketing materials that would persuade you one way or another.

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