6 Habits of Highly Effective Colocation Providers

November 30, 2016
Webair Guest Blogger, Sagi Brody, CTO at Webair

The data centre colocation market is booming, driven largely by enterprises continuing to outsource IT infrastructure and adopt cloud solutions. Researchers at MarketsandMarkets estimated the industry to surpass $54.13 Billion by 2020. With this growth comes segmentation, and a new in trend colocation we'll dub "Colo 2.0."

Colo 2.0 has given rise to several types of providers. Gartner describes two as "pure" colocation, or providers offering purely space, power and communications, and "up the stack" providers offering additional managed infrastructure services, cloud, security, interconnection and internetworking in addition to space, power and comms. The industry is also seeing another new breed of provider: companies offering colocation and interconnection services. Historically, interconnection services included a broad set of connectivity options to network carriers, managed through Meet-Me Rooms in dense carrier hotel data centres. Interconnection services have also come to mean connectivity to a large set of cloud and managed service provider options.

While physical infrastructure, redundancy and physical security are critical and relatively standard considerations, customers should also pay close attention to the managed services, such as those that Webair provides, and connectivity options available within the provider's building, as well as the teams supporting them.

Below are other key considerations for customers vetting colocation providers:

1. Meet-Me-Room (MMR) & Networking Fabric

Today, having access to a mature, carrier-neutral and physically secure MMR is no longer a bonus - it's a bare necessity. Customers looking to future-proof their businesses, however, should also consider providers with mature networking fabrics to further extend the reach of physical cross-connects. These virtualized network fabrics, enabled by Network-to-Network Interfaces (NNIs) and SDN technologies such as VXLAN and Ethernet VPN (EVPN), can offer connectivity to a multitude of managed services located within the providers' facilities as well as to third-party clouds, and public network fabrics and carriers. Digital Realty customers, for example,can connect to Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

2. Public and Private Cloud Services

The rapid adoption of hybrid strategies proves that cloud computing and colocation will be natural allies for many years to come. Selecting data centre providers that offer connectivity to public and private cloud services within their facilities allows customers to gain peace of mind, scale seamlessly and access those platforms quickly and as-needed. This also enables customers to use the same IP addresses/networking between their own equipment and cloud in the facility, and offers the ability to incrementally move workloads internally. Furthermore, customers' virtual infrastructure can be augmented with a private connection to their cloud service provider's cloud solution, enabling them to consume private cloud resources as if they were part of their existing infrastructure, via the same management interfaces, and as part of their existing cloud strategies.

3. Managed Infrastructure Solutions

Selecting providers that offer a range of managed services delivered incrementally at a moment's notice and leveraged behind your existing firewalls mitigates latency, integration and security concerns. With access to expansive managed services ecosystem, data centre customers can also choose which layers of their environment to outsource to an array of different platform options; it's no longer an all-or-nothing migration.

4. Storage-as-a-Service

Whether dealing with unexpected growth, looking to outsource storage in order to reduce overhead and cost, or needing to replicate data on storage platforms to other facilities, efficient access to cloud storage is extremely important for today's companies. Having access to redundant NFS / CIFS or SAN storage that can be quickly provisioned and available for use is a capability that will help drive greater levels of agility within an IT organisation.

5. Security

With cyber-attacks on the rise, data security continues to be a growing concern amongst today's companies. Selecting a provider that enables services to be deployed privately and securely in a way that never touches the public internet is ideal. Innovative deployment models allow these solutions to be directly tied into customers' existing infrastructure via secure MPLS, Metro Ethernet, or VPN, as well as direct cross-connects at major PoPs.

6. Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) and Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS)

A data centre provider that can offer access to SLA-backed BaaS and DRaaS can help avoid the hassles and headaches of ensuring these solutions are available and working properly. Access to fully managed back-up and DR services from geographically dispersed data centre locations can provide a complete corporate data protection solution and the foundation for the IT component of a business continuity plan.

Here at Webair, we are excited to partner with Digital Realty so we may offer customers the best of both worlds when it comes to colocation and interconnection. Webair is able to provide direct access to customized, highly available and fully managed services as well as Private, Public and Hybrid Clouds via secure cross-connects with the lowest latency. Combining Digital Realty's reliable, physical infrastructure, redundancy and physical security with our managed services and vast connectivity options, the partnership provides businesses with all of the necessary requirements of an effective Colo 2.0 deployment.

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About Webair

Founded in 1996 and headquartered in New York, Webair is an innovative, agile and unique Managed Hosting company focused on providing the right solutions to customer needs as quickly and efficiently as possible. It does this by fully owning and controlling the entire technology stack - from the physical data centre to the end-user application. Webair's technology solutions portfolio encompasses Public, Private and Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Storage, Bare Metal Servers, Colocation, CDN, Security and Disaster Recovery. Combining industry-leading innovation, expert support and high-touch customer service, Webair serves as a true technology partner to enterprises and SMBs, healthcare organizations, IT firms, eCommerce companies and VoIP providers. Webair also operates an international network of data centres located in New York, Los Angeles, Montréal and Amsterdam.

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