NetworkTigers advises on what to think about when choosing a hosting facility.
Whether your organization wants to deploy the infrastructure to handle thousands of transactions from different parts of the world or is looking to host basic worker applications off-site, finding a suitable hosting facility is essential.
What is a data center?
A data center is a facility dedicated to large-scale data processing and distribution. The facility houses several network computer servers and associated components like storage and telecommunications systems used by governments and organizations for remote storage, handling, or processing bulk data.
The facility can be a shared data center that provides colocation services and rents equipment, services, and space to different tenants in the center or a private center leased or owned by one tenant. A large, modern hosting facility operates 24/7 and prioritizes uninterrupted and secure service.
The facility may include multiple security devices, environmental controls, backup power systems, fire suppression systems, and redundant data communication connections.
Types of data centers
Data centers are classified into three types depending on who uses and owns them:
- Colocation data centers: These are extensive facilities built to house different businesses within the facility. Companies rent space within the center and for their own IT equipment or equipment offered by the facility operator.
- Managed hosting providers: Companies rent rather than purchase the required infrastructure and IT equipment.
- Exclusive data centers: These facilities are built, managed, operated, and maintained by individual businesses. Examples of these centers include Microsoft, Google, and Facebook.
Factors to consider when choosing a data center
Today’s choice of data center hosting facilities ranges from highly customizable colocation arrangements to one-size-fits-all hosting services. However, the varied options can make for a time-consuming shopping experience. To help you find the right provider, here are our top 10 factors to consider when choosing a hosting facility.
Location is one of the most important factors when choosing a hosting facility. Usually, the closer your web visitor is to the website server, the fewer networks the information passes through. Thus, your server’s physical location should be close to your target market. Select a facility that has numerous sites and allows you to test each location’s speed.
Some hosting facilities are limited to one or a few hosting carriers. The right data center should be carrier-neutral and grant your business access to global carriers. This provides more options for major bandwidth companies to connect to, plus more reliable and faster performance for your organization’s servers.
3. Remote hands support
The data center should have engineers around the clock to handle emergencies or complete tasks such as network maintenance, reboots, and server checks. This eliminates the need to send your IT team to perform these tasks.
Data centers are classified into four tiers depending on their downtime; tiers 1, 2, 3, and 4. You can expect greater availability if the tier level is higher. A reliable data center should have guaranteed uptime of 99.98% and a system to offer instant backup power. Choose a hosting facility with tier 3 or tier 4 certification for redundancy.
Your data is valuable to your organization. When you host it in a different location, ensure your provider complies with data regulations like HIPAA, SSAE18, and SOC 2 and utilizes state-of-the-art security measures. The data center should have physical security barriers like access control procedures, multiple security layers, and surveillance systems.
While a hosting facility may meet your current needs, you need to find out if it will support your future growth. Keep in mind that flexibility varies for each facility. Some facilities offer tailored solutions that are customized to your company’s needs, while others provide out-of-the-box solutions with limited options. If needed, inquire about the availability of more power and space.
7. Building space
The physical space is as important as the virtual space for your colocation needs. The right hosting facility should have adequate space to ensure your equipment runs more efficiently. Additionally, the facility should have dedicated space for disaster recovery and business continuity if disaster strikes.
8. Cooling and power
Blackouts and brownouts can occur anytime and affect your uptime drastically. An excellent hosting facility should put in place power redundancies to guarantee uninterruptible power supply and consistency. Backup generators should keep the connections and servers running for extended periods.
9. Customer service
Hosting facilities should focus on more than just speed and space. The ideal facility should also have knowledgeable and committed support staff available 24/7 to solve issues and answer questions.
Before selecting your preferred data center, inquire about the facility’s history and record. Look for feedback from current clients, find testimonies and conduct thorough research to see how they solve customer problems.
Make the right choice.
Data center location is a critical decision for your organization’s future growth. The wrong facility can lead to issues with security breaches, limited scaling, and poor internet service. Businesses must consider all the above factors and research different providers to find the ideal hosting facility for their needs.