You just closed the deal on some world class data center space. The facility you just selected for your data center infrastructure has been vetted out every way you could think of. You got a great deal on the price per square foot, power costs are low, your legal team successfully negotiated a great Master Service Agreement and things are looking very good for your new project. Now it is time for the Facilities, Legal and Network Teams to collaborate to ensure the project delivers with success. Power, Space, and Network Connectivity are the 3 key components that define a Data Center project. Without Network access, your data will be going nowhere fast.
When sourcing a data center, connectivity often becomes an afterthought, behind Facilities and Legal. Timing is everything and projects and budgets can be highly impacted without a skillful team addressing the network requirements. This can create a highly political environment and cause tension among the various departments. Enter GCN and the team of Network experts.
Here are 4 areas we can address, keep the project on track and create collaboration across the teams.
1. Team Buy In:
- We can ensure the network team provides critical input by providing their requirements during the sourcing. Maybe they have specific carriers that they require in each data center. Perhaps they have several carriers they need access to. They may require access to Dark Fiber, or a private line to a DR site and offices. Without these requirements being thoroughly discussed across the teams, the data that resides in that newly signed facility will be going no place quickly.
2. Check your Information:
- When you get a list of carriers from a data center, think of that as merely a starting point for you. Data centers are not ISP’s and most of them do not want to be ISP’s or fiber providers. Their goal is to sell and manage a data center. The list you get from a colocation provider may not be entirely accurate. This is of no fault to the data center, but just because a carrier says they are “on-net” in a data center, this does not mean they have waived access pricing or all services available. Our job is to validate and provide detailed data with regard to providers, product, and available fiber routes. This is a key consideration factor prior to making the large investment in the facility.
- In some cases you may be able to directly peer some of your traffic to the companies you use every day. Perhaps you have a managed DNS product and you want to peer directly with VeriSign. It is always a good idea to check the local exchanges such as: AMS-IX, (just moved into the US market), LINX, Coresite Any2, SIX in Seattle, Equinix IBX, Telx Internet Exchange (TIE) etc.
- Check the availability of Metro Connects to other nearby data centers, typically the closest carrier hotel. A Metro Connect is basically a Private Line from one data center to the next. Typically this is done via Dark Fiber, which your chosen data center carrier manages at a discount. You could however source and install your own private line from any available carriers. Colocation in the local carrier hotel itself can often come with a bit of a “convenience fee”. This is important if you require any international carriers as most of them predominately place their U.S. POP’s at these carrier hubs. To address this concern and other connectivity concerns many data centers are also developing Internet Exchanges. The most noteworthy at the moment would be CyrusOne, who has interconnected all of their data centers, in addition to the major carrier’s hotels in each region and several of their clients Headquarter offices. Think of Internet Exchanges as Wide Area Interconnection. Other data center developers such as Digital Realty Trust have also been developing Internet Exchanges of their own. I expect these trends will continue given the success of the Internet Exchanges thus far and their ability to really impact the connectivity model.
Not giving careful consideration to these 4 connectivity factors could turn into a lot of work up front, especially if you are looking at multiple data centers, multiple regions, or international locations where you may not be familiar with the carriers. The connectivity piece is as important as the data center infrastructure and should be given just as much mind share when sourcing your next colocation project. At GCN we have been doing this for almost two decades and we still uncover hidden surprises. We have been helping companies across the Fortune 1000 market address these concerns successfully and look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with you in the future.