A Checklist for Evaluating Colocation and Interconnection Providers

Accelerate digital transformation and prepare for the future with the right partner

Colocation is a core infrastructure element because it can simplify and accelerate digital transformation (DX), including hybrid cloud and multi-cloud strategies. It also can ease onsite data center downsizing while supporting edge computing, remote workforces and business expansion. 

According to recent research, the top reasons enterprises move workloads to colocation data centers are to increase security, flexibility and scalability, and to improve stability as well as infrastructure uptime. ¹

Additional drivers identified in the study include elevated efficiency, reduced workload on technical staff, simplified access to a partner ecosystem and more cost-effective networking services. Interconnection through colocation enables low-latency data exchange among connected parties – the major cloud service providers (CSPs), managed services providers, systems integrators, content delivery networks and others.

Key Capabilities of Colocation and Interconnection Providers

Colocation is an important decision that you want to get right the first time. Ideally, you should be able to colocate infrastructure and workloads at your own pace and collaborate with your partner on an implementation roadmap aligned to your objectives. 

The checklists below are intended to help CTOs and CIOs think about infrastructure, colocation and interconnection strategically, before diving into technical details. We suggest that you start by ranking the importance of each colocation provider capability relevant to your business objectives.

Get the downloadable PDF version of this checklist here.

Importance (1 to 5, low to high) Meets the Requirement (yes/no) Colocation Provider
Customer experience. Understand the provider’s customer service vision, program and practices. Determine what defines your ideal customer experience and how a provider stacks up.
Products and services. Are colocation solutions fixed, take-it-or-leave-it offerings or customizable? Are customization options available in areas that matter most to your organization?
Data centers and data center campuses. Confirm the presence of nationwide locations to minimize latency for users and customers. Understand how hybrid cloud and multicloud architectures can be supported.
Onsite cloud provisioning/management. Only facilities with native onramps to the major cloud service providers (CSPs) can provide direct, private connection – providing the lowest latency with secured connectivity. Verify the steps and time required to establish connections, along with the ability to provision on demand.
Network ecosystem. Learn about the connectivity options that enable interconnection within a shared data center space. How easy is it to interconnect with the members in the exchange?
Reliability and uptime history. Ask about historical operating performance and the tenure of data center staff.
Security. Look for 24x7x365 security in the form of trained employees (former military personnel are a plus) and layers of physical and virtual security technologies.
Compliance. Confirm relevant industry-specific certifications such as HIPAA and PCI DSS as well as others such as NIST 800-53, ISO 27001, SOC 1 Type 2 and SOC 2 Type 2. Verify that examinations and assessments are conducted by an independent firm.
Power and cooling. Each data center’s redundant systems should take into account the local climate as well as energy efficiency considerations.
Risk reduction. Validate asset protection and uninterrupted operations, including fail-over capabilities in case of emergencies.
Cost reduction. Identify projected colocation savings related to power, cooling, bandwidth and network usage.
Scalability. Are you able to begin colocating with any-size footprint and dynamically scale? How can the provider help you take advantage of 5G, edge computing and emerging technologies?
OpEx flexibility. Confirm month-to-month service fees and consolidated billing. Determine which long-term financial commitments you can eliminate through colocation.
Support. Understand the scope of the remote hands services and whether it is available 24x7x365.
Value. Identify the areas in which you want to measure value and discuss them with a provider. Ask for examples, case studies and references.
Importance (1 to 5, low to high) Meets the Requirement (yes/no) Networking/Interconnection Provider
Network design assistance. Identify the types of resources, such as solution architects, that are available to help you design your networking/connectivity solution. Understand the ways in which the design simplifies your network and its management.
Ecosystem (exchange). Understand what types of organizations participate in the ecosystem and the steps involved to share data with exchange members.
Flexibility/agility. Clarify the ways in which bandwidth requirements can be adjusted to accommodate workload bursts or seasonal activity. Find out how long it takes to get interconnection up and running.
Private, intermarket connectivity. Understand how cloud regions, cloud availability zones and the locations of provider data centers and data center campuses influence workload migration and business expansion opportunities.
Cost savings. Identify savings opportunities. Direct connectivity, for example, can reduce cloud data egress fees significantly. And, intermarket pricing through an exchange is generally less expensive compared to the use of carriers or third-party software-defined network (SDN) providers. How does an OpEx approach reduce expenses and CapEx investments?
Management. Determine if networking/interconnection deployments can be managed using a single console. Consider the effort and cost involved in managing service providers and CSPs separately.

The fact is that colocation facilities are built, staffed, secured, certified and operated differently. With this checklist serving as one part of upfront due diligence, you can take another step toward selecting a provider that will be a trusted long-term partner and advisor. 

Questions about how CoreSite colocation or interconnection capabilities can help you achieve today’s business objectives and position you for growth? Contact us to schedule a call.

¹ IDG, 2021 State of the Data Center: Colocation is the Nexus for Hybrid and Multicloud IT-driven Business Success. 

Matt Senderhauf

Matt Senderhauf

Director, Product Management

Matt is Director of Product Management at CoreSite and has over 11 years of data center and telecommunications industry experience.

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