Checklist for Selecting a Data Center

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By now, you’ve probably figured out that we think outsourcing your data center to a trusted third party is a pretty wise decision—not only from a financial perspective, but from an operational one as well. When selecting a data center however, due diligence is still the name of the game: you shouldn’t simply pick up the phone and call the first data center provider listed, nor should you merely take the word of a friend or colleague vouching for a provider.

Your needs are unique and as such, you should consider developing a checklist as you go about the data center selection process.  SearchDisasterRecovery.com has developed a checklist, including key elements such as:

  • Data center physical structure (e.g., physical infrastructure, construction, location of entrances and exits, raised floor areas)
  • Building location (e.g., access routes, proximity to highways, rail lines and airports; proximity to fuel storage tanks)
  • Data center technical and management staff, all shifts
  • Power source(s) (e.g., commercial power, backup power systems)
  • Power protection (grounding and bonding, lightning arrestors, line conditioners, surge suppressors)
  • Environmentals (e.g., heating, ventilation and air conditioning)
  • Critical systems (e.g., servers, power distribution units, VoIP systems, call center systems)
  • Network infrastructure (e.g., cabling, connectors, routers, copper and fiber circuits, cable racks)
  • Security (physical access and information security)

A couple of thoughts stand out when reviewing the list above: the data center you select should be large and flexible enough to support a wide range of options. Today, you may only need colocation capabilities, but you may ultimately move ”up the stack” toward total outsourcing of your production environment. When that happens, you don’t want to start all over with another provider; you want a data center that’s already providing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) capabilities and can help you migrate with minimal disruption.

Make sure the provider offers public, private, and hybrid managed hosting, as not all of your applications may be ready for “the cloud”.  You also want a partner who understands storage, operating systems, data base management, and how to migrate your production systems to a new environment without disrupting your business.

Top-notch security and power capabilities are mandatory.  Given that your company’s data is your most important resource, you need to protect it. Security considerations must take into account potential threats, both physical and cyber.

It’s a good idea to ask potential providers how their data centers fit into an overall business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR) plan.  Standalone centers, without the ability to replicate your data and secure it for use in different places, just won’t cut it.

Another good question to ask providers you’re considering is if their data centers are compliant with SSAE-16 standards. These standards, developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), have rapidly evolved into industry standards for ensuring that facilities are capable of keeping corporate information both secure and available.

Windstream has SSAE-16 certified data centers throughout the United States, delivering the highest level of security, safety, redundancy, reliability, scalability and technology to enterprise customers with high data network availability and storage requirements. If you’re looking for a data center provider, we’d like to be at the top of your list. Contact us to learn more about Windstream Data Center Solutions and compare your checklist to our networks, systems, storage, security and other data center services, features and capabilities. We’re confident you’ll find the trusted advisor you’re seeking in a data center provider, with Windstream.