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?

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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.

Ashburn Colocation Datacenters – So Developed, So Fast – How?

In September of 2012, Datacenter Knowledge published an article which spoke of Loudoun County having over 5 million square feet of datacenter space. Loudoun County Virginia is home to an area called Ashburn where over 50 datacenters exist and a place I’ve called home off and on since 1995. To understand how abundant colocation in Ashburn is you may have to visit, but in thinking about 5 million square feet:

  • 5 million square feet is bigger than the Mall of America which is 4,870,000 sq ft.
  • 5 million square feet can hold approximately 7 Yankee stadiums
  • 5 million square feet is ~114.78 acres

I wanted to know why this was; was it proximity to something, was it just a great place to build a datacenter? Does the ethnic cuisine in the area make it worth it? With some research and some of my own opinions, here’s what I came up with.

Early Internet Players Started It

UUNet and AOL were some of the earliest tech tenants in Ashburn Virginia and both had lots of internet connectivity as well as datacenters in Ashburn. Both had large campuses for thousands of employees who would commute to Ashburn daily when Ashburn was an unknown place between Sterling and Leesburg Virginia. This area fit in nicely with what was called the Dulles Technology Corridor which is comprised of neighboring towns Sterling, Reston, Herndon, Chantilly, Fairfax and Tysons Corner. To note, Herndon is where Network Solutions began and UUNet was not far off in Fairfax. A strange day was when one didn’t see large orange spools of fiber sheathed in its protective plastic being laid down on the sides of the road.

Thanks Equinix Ashburn

Equinix in Ashburn with it’s carrier neutral strategy landed in Ashburn and quickly turned into a campus that could provide firms with multiple, fiber connected datacenters that were top notch in almost every regard. The networks available in these facilities made Equinix a force in the area especially for companies that needed good connectivity to multiple networks without having to worry about typical last mile issues.

The Federal Government

Even for datacenters that had no direct business with the Federal government there were many opportunities to sell to companies that had won Federal Goverment IT contracts. Those government 8a or Small Disadvantaged Businesses would need to procure datacenter space to complete their government IT solutions. These smaller businesses were always interesting to deal with since sometimes their colocation footprint exceeded the square footage of their office space.

Power Costs

Although not renewable energy, this region boasts one of the lowest costs for residential and commercial power due to cheaper coal based power plants. To put this in perspective (based on December 2013 data):

  • Virginia, 7.90 cents per Kilowatt Hour
  • New York, 14.31 cents per Kilowatt Hour
  • Massachusetts, 16.79 cents per Kilowatt Hour
  • California, 12.76 cents per Kilowatt Hour

Virginia is only bested in power costs by these states:

  • Illinois, 7.53 per Kilowatt Hour
  • West Virginia, 7.75 per Kilowatt Hour
  • Arkansas, 7.88 per Kilowatt Hour
  • Oklahoma, 7.30 per Kilowatt Hour
  • Utah, 7.74 per Kilowatt Hour
  • Idaho, 7.40 per Kilowatt Hour
  • Washington, 7.89 per Kilowatt Hour
  • Missouri, 7.40 per Kilowatt Hour

It was the next available “frontier”

Northern Virginia has grown really fast and completely unrecognizable as the area I grew up in. With areas around Dulles Airport quickly filled with residences and businesses, large tracts of property that could be developed properly became harder to locate inside the triangle that lies within Route 7, Route 28 and Route 66. Dulles Airport which used to be at the “edge” of town had found itself closer to the middle of town which causes folks to commute around its property lines causing choke points coming in and out of Ashburn daily.

ashburn colocation tech corridor

Map Courtesy of Google Maps

Airport Accessibility Plays a small role but not as much

Depending on what part of Ashburn you’re in, you can reach Dulles Airport via a dedicated toll road called the Greenway within 10 minutes barring major traffic congestion. Dulles Airport allows you to travel anywhere in the world with many choices on how to do so.

Thinking about Ashburn colocation? It’s a great place to colocate. If you ever fly into Dulles Airport, look out the window… Most of those really large buildings surrounded by high fences are most likely datacenters.

Save 20 Hours Finding Datacenter Services

Finding Datacenter Services

This week we give a brief overview of how our Datacenter Finder Services work with a huge boast about saving you about half a week of time. If you are interested in receiving the sample report we mention in the video please be sure to email us at proposals at coloadvisor.com to receive it.

Direct Link here: Save 20 Hours Finding Datacenter Services