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A Quick Guide to Determining What Your Colocation Needs Really Are

Liam Taylor

National Data Centre Manager at Node4

Most businesses can now see the benefits of colocation and allowing third party specialists to be in charge of looking after their IT infrastructure. It turns out that housing, cooling, protecting and managing your IT infrastructure can be a costly, time consuming and downright stressful business.

For more businesses than we can shake a stick at, it’s not just less hassle opting for a colocation solution, it also makes massive commercial sense to make use of robust, highly-secure, enterprise-grade data centres, managed by specialists. The alternative is to spend far more on the development, manning, and managing of their own inferior solution.

All this said, colocation isn’t a one-size-fits-all. It makes sense to take a good look at what your business and IT needs are before settling on any particular offering. Whilst a good service provider will help you work out the below points, based on a thorough audit of your current and future requirements and business goals, here’s a quick guide if you’d like some key points to consider when doing your own legwork.



How much physical space do you need to house your switches/servers/tape libraries/equipment? Racks are made up of rack units (also known as RU or U). The cost of colocation will be decided based on the number of units you require. You can have anything from a ¼ rack to a bespoke private cage. But be aware if you’re looking at less than a full rack, you may be sharing with other customers with no physical separation. Make sure that this is acceptable to your business and certifications.



How much power will you require? You could be basing this on an existing environment where you can measure the current power consumption, or it could be a new installation which means you are going by the manufacturer’s guidelines. As a rule, if it’s the latter, you can usually half the suggested maximum power consumption figures and this will give you a more accurate idea of what you require. You also need to consider how many power sockets you require and what type. It will most commonly be a mix of IEC13 or IEC19 sockets.

Also, what functionality do you require from the PDU? You can choose from dumb PDU units, to monitored or fully remote-managed; giving you the ability to log in to the PDU and reboot sockets/servers at your convenience. Again, something you can get help to decide with.



What network, bandwidth, resiliency and diversity do you require? You can have different levels of each to suit your business needs. Economies of scale with third-party data centres means that even the biggest and best of each can be affordable. The great thing is that with the right colocation provider, this is something that can easily adapt if you change your mind or circumstances.

Most colocation providers will be carrier neutral, so if you have an existing relationship with a certain comms provider you will be able to extend your network in to the data centre with minimal expense.

Comms providers have POP (Point of Presence) at many colocation facilities or relationships with partners that do, so always ask if it is important to be with a certain network provider. It can save a lot of money and time with installation.



What do the future of your IT needs look like? Will you be expanding or reducing with new technology and data requirements? With the right provider, scaling up or down is easy to do (even if it catches you by surprise), but it’s always worth knowing how your needs and thus costs may change.


Disaster Recovery and Resiliency:

How critical is this IT to your business? What SLAs do you require regarding disaster recovery and business continuity? The more you require, the more you pay. Only pay for what you need by choosing the right solution.


Your Level of Involvement:

It’s also important for you to think about how involved you’d like to be. Do you want to be the ones to manage your IT kit, or just house it, forget about it and crack on with your day job? Both options are available.

If you think you’re interested in colocation, but this seems like a lot to work out in your own time, get in touch with Node4, speak to one of our engineers, and we can work it all out for you. We also have data centre open days going on in September 2019, and March 2020. Find out more info below.

Data centre open days