NetSource has been providing colocation services in Chicago for well over 15 years now and we have learned a few things along the way. Data centers come in all shapes and sizes and selecting the correct provider can seem like an uphill battle. The advice that NetSource gives potential clients is to make sure you talk to the people managing the datacenter and visit them before making the final decision. If you don’t get the “warm-and-fuzzy” feeling that the colocation facility is ready to help from the start, the service will only get worse once you move in. You don’t want to select a facility that views you as another number. All datacenters are going to have some differences, but they should all share one primary goal which is a high quality of service. This should be accompanied by great customer service. A good match should not be determined by visual items like square footage or fancy conference room space, it should come down to one item… a proven track record with customers.

Expect The Basic Features

All datacenters should also share some basic features that you expect in a datacenter. They should have N+1 redundancy and provide a safe and secure location for your equipment and data. A datacenter should also provide you better performance and reliability that hosting it in-house. While these are some of the more obvious features you should expect, there are a few others you may want to consider:

Also Consider Some Extra Criteria

  1. Location: With colocation services the location of the datacenter is more important after you start using the service. If you need to work on a server at 3 a.m., do you want to drive 45 minutes or 5 minutes? If you have an SLA with your customers this time could be very expensive. I think people sometimes overlook the importance of the location of a datacenter, but it should be a top 5 criteria when selecting a colocation provider.
  2. People: The people who manage the datacenter and the technicians are very important. Look for a datacenter that has a sales staff, managers, and technicians that realize how important your hosting service is to your business. They should share the same level of urgency as you do. The datacenter staff should be knowledgeable and ready to help at all times. A comfort level with a datacenter is very important if you ever have an emergency. If you feel that the staff treats you like “just another number”, look elsewhere for your service.
  3. History: The history of a datacenter should always be a main decision factor when selecting a colocation provider. While a number of new datacenters open up each year, maintaining a datacenter is not an easy task. Make sure you look at the history and past experiences of the center you are considering, and select one with a proven track record. It takes many years to learn how to run a datacenter, so make sure you select one that has been successful in the past.
  4. Flexibility: While this may not seem that important it can really effect how you grow your business. At NetSource, we offer month to month colocation contracts and allow businesses to change bandwidth commitments on a monthly basis. Making sure you are not stuck in an existing plan for 3 years can be key when your business plans change monthly.
  5. Certifications: Picking a colocation provider that is already SAS70 Type II and PCI compliant can help you save money. In many cases it means you don’t need the same type of audits you might require if you hosted your data in-house. On top of that, selecting a provider with a SAS70 Type II certification will ensure that company is following strict guidelines when managing the datacenter.

As you can see there are many different types of criteria to consider when selecting a colocation provider. Make sure you look past the fancy website or cool biometric finger readers when selecting a provider. Put more emphasis on the people and history of the center because that is one item that sticks with the provider forever.

About NetSource

NetSource has had one of the highest up-times of any datacenter in the Chicago area over the past 15 years. We provide colocation services to hundreds of businesses including Fortune 500 clients. NetSource averages a 9.5 / 10 on our customer satisfaction surveys and most of our new business comes from customer referrals. NetSource is SAS70 Type II and PCI compliant and works directly with our clients auditors when that is needed. Contact NetSource at 866-778-1212 for more information about our datacenter and colocation services that we offer to Chicago area businesses.