Blog Post: DR, Disaster Recovery, colocation

Going Colo

August 16, 2017

When it comes to an effective disaster recovery strategy, your team has several options. You can maintain your own DR site in a remote location, handle it on-site or go with a DRaaS solution. Then there’s colocation – where you migrate your DR to a provider’s data center, installing your own servers, network and data storage there.

While most teams have heard of colocation, some aren’t sure how it differs from other kinds of disaster recovery or if it’s right for them. So let’s talk about the benefits of colocation and the criteria to follow when choosing a colocation facility.

The Benefits of Going Colo

Control

One benefit when compared to DRaaS is that the control stays in your hands. When you outsource disaster recovery completely, it can take some weight off your shoulders – but you also hand over a certain amount of control and visibility. Colocation gives it back to you. True, your data center is owned by someone else, but you control the hardware and software and greater day-to-day visibility.

Reliability

Going with your provider’s data center can offer more robust power capacity and stronger network performance. If your bandwidth requirements increase, you may be able to take advantage of volume pricing while skipping multiple contracts and SLAs.

Cost Savings

Colocation facilities tend to charge by space, which means your price tag ultimately comes down to the kind of equipment and number of servers you’ll install. However, you won’t be paying the actual costs of owning and maintaining your own data center. Compare your potential price tag for power, cooling, HVAC units and backup generators to the facility charge; chances are you’ll save money.

Support

Not all colo providers offer support, but if they do, having on-site expertise can spare your team from time-consuming server and equipment maintenance. The provider’s team may also have advanced skills to facilitate a smoother disaster recovery, giving you better peace of mind and freeing up your team to focus on other initiatives.

Selecting a Colocation Facility

Not all data centers are created equal. One critical component is location. If and when disaster hits, can you get there in a hurry? What if something happens to your primary site and your recovery depends solely on your colo site? Make sure you choose a facility within reasonable proximity and not two thousand miles away.

You’ll also want to think about security. Verify the facility has all the same security checks you’d install for your own data center:

· Are the generators accessible? How close together are they?

· Is the data center protected against fire and flood and other natural disasters? Is it tier 1, enterprise-grade and certified?

· Does it meet your compliance needs?

· Is there video monitoring and 24-hour camera surveillance?

· What kind of access controls are in place? Is there biometric and card key entry, are there cabinet and cage locks?

One final consideration: think of partnering colocation with the cloud. In addition to hosting your data backups in an offsite facility, you can still take advantage of those speedy cloud failovers, spinning up a virtualized clone of your environment whenever you need it. It could be the right form of DR insurance for you, knowing you’re protected locally and in the cloud if something takes down your primary site. Keeping your servers and applications operational is the whole point of DR, after all, and colocation can be the perfect solution.

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