Last month, our friends at CenturyLink posed six important considerations when choosing a colocation provider. They raised some good points, so I thought I’d see how Equinix measures up. It’s a substantive discussion, so I broke it into two parts. Here’s the first:
Does my colocation provider have a breadth of capabilities?
This is an interesting one, in that while Equinix does provide foundational services (power, space, cooling, interconnection and “remote hands”, which we call Smart Hands), we leave our customers to provide higher level services. With over 1,200 cloud and IT services providers, Equinix customers can use any combination of insourcing, outsourcing and cloud services.
For example, a large enterprise could use cloud services for customer relationship management, contract a managed service provider to deliver hosted exchange for productivity and manage their own private cloud infrastructure in one cage – all while having a systems integrator manage a line of business application in another.
Meanwhile, they can leave that old mainframe on-premises, while tethering it and their employees in the head and branch offices into a single, hybrid IT architecture.
That is to say, yes, Platform Equinix does have a “breadth of capabilities,” though not all of them are provided by Equinix itself. I’d argue that’s the most flexible approach, as it gives customers the choice of how to operate their infrastructure.
How close is my colocation provider’s data center?
Equinix owns over 100 data centers in over 30 metros globally, so chances are there’s one very close to you now. Indeed, there’s a good chance you went through at least one to get to this article.
Normally, there’s a tradeoff between being in the center of town, where real estate is expensive and access to power is limited, and being in the countryside, which is more remote but where real estate is cheap, and power and water for cooling is plentiful. Only the largest of providers (like Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook) can get the best of both worlds by building large data centers in the middle of nowhere and tethering them with fibers to the nearest metros.
Equinix’s expert real estate team generally opts for locations close enough to the center of town to be easily accessible, while still being near the airport so remote customers can periodically fly in to tend to their equipment.
As a rule of thumb, the closer you are to the city center, the more expensive the colocation service. By setting up shop at the fringes of town, we can pass the savings to customers and ensure we have ample room to expand to meet their changing needs.
What kind of support resources are available?
This question (for Equinix at least) raises many of the same issues as the first question above. If our own services don’t meet your requirements, then you have access to hundreds of other service providers and partners who can offer you a higher level of support.
We do offer 24×7 SmartHands services with a service level agreement in most facilities, and if you have custom requirements, we may be able to cater to them without introducing a third-party. Otherwise, check out Marketplace to find one of your 5,000-plus neighbors and see if they can lend a hand. An Equinix IBX data center is like a gated community, and you should be able to find everything you need inside.
That wraps up Part 1 of our discussion. Watch this space for my examination of the three remaining considerations:
_ “How does my colocation provider ensure security and compliance?”
_ “What are the power and cooling capabilities of the center that will house my equipment?”
_ “What are the connectivity options between my site and the colocation data center?”