Location And Reputation
Assuming that you understand the basics of Colocation, and you think it might be the right approach for you, how do you pick a provider? There are many factors to consider when selecting a Colocation service provider; here’s a list of a few of the major ones, with comments:
Since Colocation puts you in charge of your hardware and software, it can be useful to select a colocation facility within reasonable driving distance of where you (or whomever will be supporting your hardware) live or work. This way, visits to the facility do not require a plane ticket or a full day’s time on the road. However, the better colocation providers will offer some amount of free basic remote hands support, which can eliminate the need to visit the data center for minor tasks like server reboots, screen reads, putting a disk in drive, etc. In every colocation facility, you will find the equipment of clients in far-flung locations – either quality colocation is not available or not cost-effective in their region, or they need the equipment to be where it is for geographical considerations. They perform most of their maintenance by remote control, using remote hands service when they need some simple human interaction. Many servers have virtual console functionality built in, proving KVM (keyboard-video-mouse) access via a web interface, even when the server is in a shutdown state. If more involved work is required, some data centers can provide professional services on-site, or the client can send in a third-party provider to take care of it. So proximity of your colocation data center is important, but perhaps not critically so – it depends upon your particular needs.
Obviously, you’ll want to consider your colocation provider’s reputation for quality and reliable service. It’s no guarantee, but the old adage that the cream rises to the top is generally true. Don’t hesitate to ask for references. Search the web and social media to see what others are saying about the provider – good places to start include Webhostingtalk, Google+, and the review site Yelp. While it’s generally a plus if colocation is the provider’s core business, don’t discount the value of other services being available – you never know when you might need them. You’ll want to consider all aspects of their reputation: service, support, reliability, stability, commitment.