White Paper. Co-location. Co-location. Co-location. Considerations That Impact Your Business

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1 White Paper Co-location. Co-location. Co-location. Considerations That Impact Your Business

2 Your Business is Dynamic - Is your IT Infrastructure Keeping Pace? Whether you operate a small or medium-sized business or are working in a large enterprise environment, managing your IT Infrastructure is a continual challenge. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Your Enterprise You have the hardware, capital and manpower you need and are considering building your own Data Centre facility. But what about the ROI in the long-term? You expected there to be large upfront capital costs, but you just received an updated estimate for the monthly operating expenses and they re through the roof. Have you factored in the increasingly complex hardware considerations that go along with designing a Data Centre? Can you really manage it all and is it worth it? Wouldn t you rather be focusing on your core business? Business is booming. Your application usage is through the roof and your customers can t get enough of your product. Everything seems to be humming along. But behind the scenes, your IT infrastructure is pushing maximum density. You don t have the space for additional equipment. Climbing utility bills and a nonredundant system are pushing you to your breaking point. How do you meet your customers demands without disrupting service? Do you add on to your current space, continue to risk network outages or move everything to a larger facility? Your Start-Up As a start-up you began housing your server in the spare closet. As operations grew, you added equipment but now you are at (or over?) capacity. There isn t enough space to handle the amount of equipment you need to house, not to mention the cooling and power capacity you need to run increasingly complex infrastructure. Plus, security isn t exactly up to par. Your equipment and data are at risk and you need more room to grow. Your Medium Sized Business 2

3 Colocation. Colocation. Colocation. The fact of the matter is that it is a constant challenge to balance your IT infrastructure with the needs of your dynamic, expanding business. That s why almost 2/3 of businesses today are engaged in, or planning to implement Colocation Data Centre Services. So what is Colocation? Under a Colocation scenario, your IT assets are placed in a secure service provider s facility (next to or co-located with the assets of other organizations), giving you the ability to take advantage of shared power infrastructure, HVAC systems, physical security and redundant architecture. You are essentially leasing space for your IT assets while maintaining ownership and control of those assets. This option allows your company to expand quickly, bypassing the time it takes to design and construct a new Data Centre, while conserving capital. 3

4 A Growing Trend According to Info-Tech Research Group, 64% of organizations engage in some form of Data Centre Colocation Services. In addition, Gartner has observed more and more businesses are enlisting Colocation services, and the research firm has identified several reasons behind this trend. First, because organizations are more geographically distributed, they don t necessarily have an optimal central location in which to locate a Data Centre. Second, traditional office buildings don t always meet the cooling, power and weight requirements to house dense and heavy hardware, and retrofitting them is too expensive. Also, these buildings rarely allow for the lockdown security measures that companies want for their server rooms. Third, Colocation gives companies that are consolidating or outgrowing their internal data centres a cost-effective alternative to building new facilities. And, finally, remote lights-out management technology makes administering remote systems easier, allowing IT staffers to even reboot servers remotely. 4

5 Is Colocation Right for Your Business? Colocation offers many benefits including, improving their reliability, performance, eliminating costs and more. Improve Efficiency/Performance Colocation Data Centre facilities are designed with efficiency and performance in mind, from the raised floor to deliver cool air, to rooftops that reflect the sun s heat. Temperatures are monitored and maintained to the degree to keep equipment running optimally, extending the life of hardware. And with carrier neutral IP connectivity as an option, performance to the end user is often improved. Improve Reliability/Availability The improvement of reliability and availability is a huge benefit for businesses looking to Colocate. For example, the ability to provide reliable and redundant power infrastructure is key to business uptime. In fact, Colocation providers are able to offer uptime guarantees on power and are willing to pay down to the minute as stated in their Service Level Agreement (SLA). In your business environment, even a second of downtime matters, making the reliability and availability of Data Centre Services a big draw for customers. Reduce + Eliminate Costs Another reason businesses choose to Colocate is with respect to cost savings. In many cases, taking advantage of a multi-tenant facility can be more cost effective than building out your own Data Centre facility, not to mention the ongoing operating costs of management and maintenance. Scalability With most Data Centres having ample room to grow and the capacity for higher density rack configurations, businesses can benefit from scalability. The ability to quickly add more physical space or increase densities as needed is key to keeping up with growing business demands. 5

6 Risk Mitigation A Colocation Data Centre facility offers security features comparable to a highly controlled access government building. On-site security, video surveillance and even biometric fingerprint scanners are standard security procedures to protect customer equipment and data. Compliance + Regulatory Requirements In the digital information age, many companies are required to abide by certain compliance and regulatory policies. Since Data Centre facilities and Colocation providers have already done the heavy lifting to comply with regulatory requirements, you can save time and money. Auditing Standards Update You may have heard the term SAS 70 in the past. There are now new requirements for reporting on controls at all service organizations, replacing the SAS 70 Standard. These are contained within three Service Organization Control (SOC) reporting options. SOC 1 reports, which are governed using the SSAE 16 framework, focus solely on service organization controls that are likely to be relevant to an audit of a user entity s financial statements. SOC 2 and SOC 3 reports address controls at the service organization related to nonfinancial objectives (i.e., Security and Availability for Data Centres). These new standards provide nonfinancial service providers a way to report on controls to their clients that better align with the processes and metrics important to Data Centre operations. 6

7 Ask the Questions Colocating your IT infrastructure can provide the traditional benefits of lowering costs and re-directing resources; however, like many organizations, you may be asking, Is it right for me? structure. If the answer is no, then proceed to the next question. The following considerations are important as you consider a move to Colocation. Ask yourself: QUESTION: Is your organization willing to relinquish some control over the facilities that house and/or the assets that define your IT infrastructure? If the answer to the initial question is yes, the next few questions will help you determine whether Colocation is best for you. If your answer is no, then there is not a strategic fit. Your organization s internal mindset must be receptive to the idea and the potential benefits that Colocation and other related services offer. A company must be willing to accept the transfer of responsibilities and allow the service provider the ability to execute them. QUESTION: Do you currently own or have the plans to obtain all of the required IT hardware assets you need to grow your business? If the answer is yes, your best solution is likely Colocation. You will benefit greatly from a physical facility that offers space, power, redundancy and security under a more cost-effective QUESTION: If your organization continues to grow and requires additional or new IT hardware assets, do you have access to or a willingness to devote capital expenditures to this effort? If the answer is yes, then proceed to the next question. If the answer is no, Colocation can still be a good option for you today, however in the future you may want to revaluate your needs. Down the road if you find you aren t willing to invest in additional assets, then you will likely be best served by another solution such as managed hosting. With managed hosting, the solution provider is responsible for acquiring the necessary hardware, the costs become re-categorized as monthly operating expenses and capital expenditures are avoided. You may also consider a partner that can provide a flexible IT platform which can serve you today, as well as over the life of your business. 7

8 QUESTION: Do you have the personnel necessary to operate your IT deployment today? If the answer is yes, then your organization should take advantage of the Colocation option. If the answer is no, then your organization should take advantage of a managed hosting solution. The hosting service provider will allocate the appropriate level of personnel with the requisite skills and certifications who best fit the needs and demands of your IT infrastructure. It is their responsibility to identify, hire and train (and re-train) the personnel needed to manage the infrastructure. Strategic Considerations Choosing a Colocation provider is a strategic business decision that evolves from thoughtful consideration. It is important to know what to look for and the right questions to ask. Scalability It is critical to measure the Colocation provider s ability to support your evolving computing and network requirements as your business grows. The ability to scale efficiently and ondemand by deploying higher density configurations within your existing footprint impacts not only your solution s Return on Investment (ROI), but also your bottom line. To make the best Colocation decision, you should be looking for a provider who is implementing best practices and integrating proven technologies that increase power and cooling capacities to support much higher density rack configurations. A scalable Data Centre environment that provides flexible deployment of higher density solutions in an ondemand model will give you the opportunity to grow within the same facility and extend your longevity, ultimately improving ROI for your Colocated solutions. 8

9 WHAT IS N+1? N+1 means having enough equipment for what you need plus one additional for added resiliency Reliability + Resiliency A reliable Colocation partner will have N+1 design providing redundancy in power and cooling infrastructure, which means maximum system uptime. You should also look for a provider that offers a well-defined SLA and supports 100% uptime. Make sure to carefully review the SLA of any Colocation provider you are thinking of, and find out how much they pay if you experience downtime and if they offer proactive credits. After all, your business depends on the uptime your Colocation partner provides. Security + Protection Physical security is an important component in deciding where to house your mission critical data. A Colocation provider should offer comprehensive security, beyond the guard, ensuring your information is protected at all times. Card readers, keypad or electronic locks as well as digital camera placement should be a part of any data centre facility you choose. In addition, Colocation Data Centres must have controls in place that comply with SAS 70 audits and other industry recognized standards. Advanced systems should be in place that continuously report electrical and mechanical infrastructure health to NOCs and on-site staff. By making sure these processes exist, you can ensure better performance of your equipment. 9

10 Technical Support Your provider should be providing technical support 24/7. Technicians should be reachable by and phone in the event of any problem. Avoid automated attendants, and make sure your tickets are immediately sent to a human being who is physically looking at your equipment to determine the nature of your problem. Customer Amenities Because your technicians and staff will be spending a significant amount of time on-site, a Data Centre should be more than just a place to house equipment. A premium facility will offer furnished customer lounges and conference areas enabling you to host a meeting or just take a break. You will also want to look for staging areas so your staff can set up equipment before bringing it on the Data Centre floor. Finally, ensure there is office space to work, send s or just take a call. Carrier Diversity Network performance issues can have a tangible financial impact to your bottom line. Since high speed is so important to your online customer, a delay of even a few milliseconds can have a direct impact on customer loyalty and revenue. Partnering with multiple highspeed Internet access providers allows a Colocation provider to add diversity. In the event one Internet provider fails, another can pick up the slack. Ask potential Colocation partners how many carriers feed into their facility and how they optimize and route traffic to ensure network speed and ongoing connectivity. 10

11 The Numbers - Expected ROI More than 200 CEOs, business owners and IT decision makers were surveyed on their expected ROI timeline for a Colocation solution. 70% expect to see a return on investment from their Colocation solution.24% of those expect it within 6 months, 40% expect it within a year and 29% expect ROI within 2 years. Other research findings include: 55% of organizations that established a thorough IT infrastructure needs analysis aligned with their overarching business strategy were more likely to experience Colocation success.* 62% of organizations conducted site visits to vendor locations before entering into an agreement, resulting in a more successful Colocation arrangement.* 64% of organizations engaged in a Colocation agreement have a dedicated vendor resource responsible for managing their services.* *Source: Info-Tech Colocation Strategy Storyboard 11

12 What to Ask Your Prospective Provider Determining if Colocation is right for your business is one piece of the puzzle, but finding the right partner is paramount in importance. Use the list of interview questions below to help you identify a Colocation provider that meets your business needs. 1. How close to your company s office building is the provider s facility? Is it within driving distance so that your company s IT staff can easily get to the building? Does your business need a facility that s close to a major airport? 2. If your company has offices in several locations, can you consider a facility in a less expensive realestate market? Is the provider geographically diverse? Do they have facilities in other cities or abroad? 3. Is the provider s Colocation facility in a place with few natural threats, such as flood areas? What kind of precautions has the provider taken to protect the Data Centre (and your business) from these threats? 4. What kind of security is in place? Are there scanners, on-site security and video surveillance? 5. Is the provider carrier-neutral, or is it carrier-specific? A carrierneutral colocation provider will let your company connect to a variety of carriers networks, while a carrier-specific provider will lock you in to just one carrier. 6. Does the provider offer a wide array of value-added services? Are services like remote services or managed installations available? 7. How strong is the SLA? What is the level of availability? Does the provider offer proactive credits for SLA violations? 8. Is the facility audited by a third party? Is it SAS 70 compliant or is there a SOC 2 report available? How often is the facility audited? 9. How scalable is the facility? Is there enough space to grow? Do they offer high density configurations? 10. Is there technical support available when you need it and what level engineer will you speak to when you call the Network Operations Centre (NOC)? 11. How comfortable is the work environment for your technicians? Are there customer lounges or work space? 12. How green is the facility? Are they looking for ways to address sensitivity to the environment? 12

13 About Pivot Data Centres Pivot Data Centres is a leading Canadian provider of Colocation Data Centre Services. Our unique Colocation facilities offer custom 'colo suites', allowing our clients to operate their own dedicated servers and missioncritical systems in a safe, private, secure environment. Pivot Data Centres has 75,000 sq. ft. of raised floor Data Centre space in Calgary with an additional 40,000 sq. ft. in Edmonton. Founded in 1989, Pivot Data Centres provides Western Canada with both flexible and cost-effective Colocation Data Centre Services. Our core philosophy is grounded with the desire to deliver value to our clients and forge lasting, mutually-beneficial relationships. Pivot Data Centres is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, with offices in Edmonton. pivotdci.com

14 Calgary Edmonton pivotdci.com

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