Colocation And Systems Redundancy
For medium and large-scale businesses, colocation is turning out to become more and more accepted. Outsourcing the facilities of your business (housing the equipments in another location) has become cheaper and more convenient.
One risky point that has to be addressed, however, is the question of inadequacy in the redundancy of their facilities. Most colocation facilities, thankfully, are built with the time-tested principle of redundancy.
In a business of virtual information and systems, redundancy is factored in to ensure security, based on the N+1 blueprint. This means that any particular system must have the capacity it needs, plus one additional unit.
For instance, if the power system has two UPS (uninterrupted power system), both should be running only at a 50% capacity. In the event either one fails, the other can take over without overloading. There are three critical points in a colocation facility that must have redundancy.
The biggest consideration for redundancy in a data center is the power system. A power outage could bring down your server hardware, your climate controls, your fire suppression system, and your connection.
In effect, a single failure and the whole operation goes down. In view of this total disaster, there is a need for the host to have a redundant set of power sources that includes UPS (uninterrupted power system) and backup generators.
A small personal computer has a set of air pumps and fans inside to keep it from overheating. In a busy colocation facility with several servers running at full power, the amount of generated heat can crash the whole place in minutes.
Colocation facilities are always to be equipped with redundant cooling systems that stay operational 24 hours a day everyday. These are usually taken up by CRAC (computer room air conditioning) units that pump cold water through the server room to prevent hardware overheating.
For a companys business to enjoy the best in a colocation setup, connectivity must also be redundant. This should be true for both the service and the network hardware (routers, switches, etc).
A redundant service would ensure that multiple internet backbones are available for reliability and performance. In addition, the connectivity levels should be able to ensure low latency and packet loss. This means that even if a major backbone fails, your connection should still remain stable and your site still online.
The right colocation
To find the right colocation facility for your business means asking pertinent questions and extracting as much information as possible from prospective candidates. It is a given that these facilities are unique and they have the right specs and redundancy measures.
Still, you need to find the correct specifics for your own system to fit theirs, especially with regards to power, cooling and connectivity systems. You need to know the number of units (for your present and future projections), the load per unit and how redundant their systems are.
When you hand down your infrastructure to another companys data center, it is only fitting that you have to be selective in terms of your needs in the redundancy of their power supply, cooling and connectivity facilities. In a colocation setup, your business depends on the reliability of your partner.