How ColoAdvisor’s Database Speeds Cloud Computing and Colocation Search

I’ve been touting the benefits of our homegrown database of datacenters for a long time. Previously each time we engaged with a client it would start with a quick look at our database BUT since we didn’t have complete data we’d always need to fill the beginning of our colocation or cloud computing searches with many phones calls and emails.

To scale, we enabled any agent at ColoAdvisor to add new tables or fields  to the database at will. No longer would it be enough to know the available square footage or how many diesel generators a facility had – real information had to be gathered and stored.

Here are some examples of the fields we now update regularly:

  • How Many KW per rack can be accommodated
  • What are the carriers available in this facility
  • Products available above and beyond straight colocation
  • Cloud pricing method (by instance, by compute unit etc)
  • Cloud Virtualization Platform (VMware, Xen, KVM)
  • Pricing information

Some real world scenarios we’ve worked on recently:

VOIP provider

Our client was in need of high quality bandwidth and certain (low end) providers hadn’t worked well for them so they were looking for carriers that completely routed around them. This meant we needed knowledge of the blended bandwidth providers at the facility but also who they peered with. This is tricky to document but we are slowly being able to pull this type of data together quickly.

Clustered Database with High Density Colocation

Had a prospect looking for 25 KW density in cabinets for a very concentrated database cluster. A quick look at our database under products yielded “25 kW colocation” which allowed us to make a single phone call for pricing.

Medical Application Service Provider with Client/Server Architecture

Our client needed cloud computing that could allow virtual and dedicated server instances to be hosted with VPN connections back to each of their clients with specific Firewall hardware that they had chosen. A few searches allowed us to zero in on a solution quickly.

Here’s a video about our database [direct link]

Ashburn Data Centers – Plenty of Choices

ashburn data centers on Google Maps

Map Courtesy of Google Maps

Ashburn Data Centers

The Dulles Technology Corridor is a massive hub of technology companies and the infrastructure that supports them. And within this hub is “the bullseye of America’s Internet,” Ashburn, Virginia.

Also known as “Data Center Alley,” Ashburn data centers total over at the moment, with more being added all the time.

Among those most recently announced are Equinix’s 1.16 million square foot “crown jewel,” unveiled last year; Cyrus One’s 420,000 square foot facility; and Dupont Fabros’ 446,000 square foot, newly-overhauled campus design.

Most data center providers in Ashburn have multiple facilities; it’s a crowded market, but there’s ample demand. According to some sources, as much as 70% of  the world’s Internet traffic gets routed through Loudoun County.

The number seems shocking, but it’s a small wonder — there are many technology companies in the area, contributing sheer mass to the statistic. These data centers are home to juggernauts like Amazon Web Services and Wikipedia.

All this competition is good for business, and yet the demand is still high enough that all the companies breaking ground for new data centers affirm their beliefs that they will fill quickly and pave the way for even further growth. So far, these beliefs have not been unfounded.

And in fact, this boom seems set to continue. Ashburn has experienced a flood of development in the wake of September 11, and is now the primary data center market on the East Coast, overshadowing the New York Metro region. Northern Virginia has some of the cheapest electricity in the country, and it seems reasonable to assume that while this factor is in place, Ashburn will continue to remain a major hub.

Is Ashburn Suitable for Colocation?

While not every data center serves the retail market, there are still more than enough choices for businesses looking to dip their toes into colocation. Too many, you might say. At ColoAdvisor, we know all the players in the data center industry, and we can help you to assess your needs and select a handful of companies that merit your interest. We can even help you with your Request for Proposal (RFP), saving you valuable time getting up to speed on industry jargon and ensuring that you get good responses from potential bidders.

We look forward to helping you. Please contact our offices to set up a consultation to assess your business’s data center needs.

Relocating Your Data – 5 Things to Consider

Relocating Your Data

Relocating Your Data

As the cost of IT infrastructure rises, more and more businesses are considering relocating their data into a 3rd party facility. After all, the information is core to your business mission, but the maintenance of the equipment and their special requirements probably isn’t.

So as you begin looking into colocation, there will be various themes trumpeted at you: you’ll save money, you’ll improve reliability and security, and you’ll find it easier to scale up and down. Most of the information you’ll receive will be geared around your concerns about these issues.

But what about some of the lesser-known issues about colocation? Here are five things to consider.

Network Carrier Agnostic

It’s not just that competition is good– sometimes colocation centers do have good deals with a single provider that’s just as good as the rate you could get on the open market. But you also need to consider what will happen if there’s a carrier outage. You’ll have redundancies in place for everything else– why not this?

Customizable Services

Once you’ve colocated, there are a plethora of maintenance tasks you can outsource to the facility, rather than having your own IT personnel drive out to do routine upgrades and backups. So keep this option in mind when you’re researching your colocation facility.

Contractor Stability

It’s not unheard of for IT companies to fold up with little notice. A colocation facility is a pretty good anchor, but it might also be bleeding money. So make sure to do your due diligence on the colocation providers you’re considering. Do they have history? A good reputation? A large customer base? The point of colocation is to reduce your IT headaches, so choose wisely.

Disaster Preparedness

Planning for the worst can sometimes mean the difference between surviving, or not, for a company. If your data and technology infrastructure disappeared tomorrow, where would you be? A colocation facility with a comprehensive disaster recover plan is a good start, but you might want to consider full remote mirroring for your data. Even though it’s an extra expense, it’s the fastest and easiest way to get up and running again after a major catastrophe.

Security and Compliance

Keeping up with security practices and regulatory compliance is a full time job. There’s also the difficulty of getting compliance from employees who might not understand the need for such procedures. But at a good colocation facility, they live and breathe security. And many offer compliance expertise in their suite of services.

Too much to consider? How about scheduling a call with ColoAdvisors to walk you through the process?

Data Center RFP Writing Services

Data Center RFP Writing Services

Data Center RFP Writing Services

A RFP, or “Request For Proposal” document is commonly the first step when researching data centers. However, time and again, we have seen vague or poorly written RFPs go out to vendors, resulting in only vague or useless responses — if they respond at all. Then the proposal needs to either be rewritten, or the company will need to spend time and manpower following up with the vendors.

Ideally, a RFP will be clear, concise, and outline the business’s needs with the appropriate level of detail. However, this can sometimes be difficult to accomplish. The people tasked with writing the RFP have most likely never created an RFP for a data center, so first they will have to determine what information needs to go into the RFP in order to get the answers they require from potential vendors.

If all this sounds complicated and drawn out, we can help. We source data centers all the time, and with only a few brief conversations with you, our client, we will know what information about your business and needs to supply to vendors. This will facilitate the process of the vendors replying to you with detailed information about their services and itemized pricing information — the things you require to compare options, plan and budget.

As a result of our in-depth knowledge of the data center industry, we also have experiential knowledge about which data facilities are likely to respond in a timely and helpful manner. Some data centers may not respond at all, or will only respond with a boilerplate list of services — not something that bodes well for a future relationship.

Not having a useful RFP can set back the process of data center selection for months. Can your company really afford that delay? Many core business initiatives rest on IT projects such as this, and each impediment or setback can cost you considerably both in terms of wasted time and money, but also to your ability to react to market realities. The bottom line is that a less-than-effective RFP affects your competitiveness as an organization.

Handing off this specialized task will allow your people to focus on core business activities that are within their area of expertise, not waste time getting a handle on criteria and best practices on a project that they will only ever touch once.

Why not free up valuable resources and let us do the writing for you? Contact us today for more information.


What To Look For In a Disaster Recovery Provider

“93% of businesses that lost their datacenter for 10 days went bankrupt within one year.” -National Archives & Records Administration.

Disaster Recovery Provider Checklist

In a world of global connectivity, downtime is no longer an option. And if your data and applications are lost, your business could be crippled. In fact, a recent Gartner Group study reported that 40 percent of companies that lost their data in the event of a disaster went out of business within five years. As such, having a plan in place before a disaster strikes is crucial. We’ve already given you advice about how to develop a data center disaster recovery checklist, but let’s have a look at what to consider when you’re thinking about  a disaster recovery provider. Here are a few items to add to your checklist:

  • Recovery Time Objective: Also known as RTO, this is the length of time an outage can last before your company will start experiencing negative effects. Therefore, you will reject any services that do not meet this minimum standard.
  • Recovery Point Objective: Also known as RPO. This is the maximum length of time that your data can go between backups. Most companies require an interval between five minutes and one hourdistraught man realizes a Disaster recovery provider needed
  • Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery: This is a service that virtualizes your existing data and configurations. It is often more cost-effective than traditional services, but the lack of a physical facility that you can access means that you may have to scramble to recreate the production environment
  • High Speed Access: The best way to enable data-replication is to ensure high speed fiber or copper circuit. This should not be an issue for any modern data-center, but it should be on your list of things to check, just incase.
  • Risk Of Natural Disaster: You can’t have everything in a disaster recovery provider, but ll other things being equal, a data center in an area that isn’t prone to tornadoes, floods, hurricanes and mudslides has a decided advantage.
  • Check Compliance Audits: You certainly don’t want the health and well-being of your company resting on the word of the provider that they can do what they say they will. Ask to see copies of compliance audits like HIPAA and PCI DDS.
  • Regular Testing: Ensure that the data recovery solution you’re considering is tested regularly. Yearly tests should be considered the minimum interval.
“43% of companies experiencing disasters never re-open and 29% close within two years.” -McGladrey and Pullen.

Business continuity is absolutely crucial in the event of a disaster. Take the time to implement and test a plan now to protect your company. We’ve offered some unique perspectives on choosing a disaster recovery provider as well as some strategies on leveraging the cloud for DR purposes.