By GCN's PMO Team
Have you been in the middle of a colocation project, flown to the new data center, only to realize you didn’t bring the necessary tools needed to complete your work? Have you ever been stuck waiting for hours because you forgot to reserve an elevator and you need to get some large hardware moved up a few floors from the loading dock? How about waiting for hours in the lobby because the access List was not updated correctly? GCN has a well established PMO which handles colocation implementations all over the world on a daily basis. I hope some of our past experiences help you avoid some of these issues which can certainly impact budgets and timelines.
You’ve picked your preferred data center, negotiated the terms of the agreements and the order has been turned in with countersigned documents in hand. Now, you need to start your project. Here are a few deliverables that should be on any check list before you come up with a project plan. Some of these may sound obvious, but the key is to account for every deliverable no matter how trivial, so you can have a truly successful implementation.
- Who is supplying the racks/cabinets, make sure that the data center is given the make and model (confirm dimensions).
- If you have oversized cabinets, make sure the data center accounted for the extra space in their cage space design.
- Make sure you have an overhead Visio or diagram of your environment laid out in detail with the following:
Who is supplying the PDU’s (if AC power is being used)
If you are leasing cage space
- Detailed layout with measurements of cage space and cabinets
- Cage Door location
- Specified power per cabinet
- Network cabinet labeled (this is where you will deliver the cross connects)
- Ladder Racking
- Fiber Ducts
- Hot aisle/Cold aisle
Are you in an earthquake prone region? Do you need Earthquake bracing? Has the cost been accounted for in your proposal?
How much secure storage does the data center have? (If you need to ship 75 pallets of cabinets and equipment the data center may not have that secure space available and other arrangements will need to be made)
How are you going to handle waste? You may have several pallets of equipment and large cardboard refuse that you need to dispose of. Who will do this? Has this cost been accounted for?
- Did you order a fully protected 6 sided cage or standard 4 sided cage?
- Who is providing the cage materials? If the Data center, do they contract that work out?
- Time frame to have the cage installed. (you may need this space for storage before racking equipment)
There is much more to take into consideration. Below is a link to a partial check list.
You can download the check list here.
Once you have an understanding of where everything is going to be placed and who is responsible for each deliverable, you are ready for your kick off call. The kick off call is the hand-off from the Sales team to the Implementation team. On the call you must have all the check list items we discussed above and a copy of your contract for review. From your side you should invite the below representatives. There may be individuals that have a different take on the environment and you need to ensure all parties are in agreement with what you believed you ordered. The kick off call is an important call to make sure everyone has the same understanding of the project.
Make sure you give the carrier this information on your team:
- Primary Account Contact
- Primary technical contact(s)
- Local technical contact (if you have one)
- Project Manager
Make sure you receive the following carrier contact information (as well as their back-up):
- Sales Executive
- Sales Engineer
- Project Manager
- On-site Facilities Manager
- NOC organizational chart
During your call or meeting, you will need to review the contract and the business goal/purpose for turning up the environment. Review and assign deliverables, assign action items, review the rules for Access to the Data Center, understand process for deliveries, establish time frames, have each individuals contact information AS WELL AS the contact information of their back-up during an absence and an escalation list. You should also coordinate a weekly sync up call with the implementation team until the project is complete.
From this meeting you will have enough information to develop a Project Plan, you should send this out no later than 24 hours after your kick off call along with the detailed Minutes of the call. Don't ever think that the carrier remembered what you thought was important. If you want to ensure you have a successful implementation, make sure you assign a certified Project Manager from your end to make sure all parties are on track. You can find a generalized sample of a Project Plan and a kick off call minutes template here.
Have you developed a plan to get your equipment to the data center. Will you be shipping the equipment yourself? Will you be shipping standard parcel delivery or will you be using a trucking/freight service? Trucking/freight delivery will require reserving time at the loading dock, reserving the elevator and a gurney so you can get the equipment moved quickly and efficiently. If you are shipping equipment overseas this will add additional complexity to your project especially when you have to work with customs. Some countries may take longer than others and this will need to be accounted for in your implementation timeline. We highly recommend putting researching the logistics around international shipping , so you can plan accordingly.
We would love to hear about some of your implementation experiences, good and bad so we can all make sure that we can add these to our lists. Leave a comment below or feel free to contact us directly.
By Chris Palermo
Approximately nine years ago GCN completed our very first international deployment, a 20 rack suite in Tokyo. Understanding that colocation was a newer market at that time, I wanted to do everything I could to help make sure that my company became both an expert and a leader in this emerging space. So, with this in mind, I called for a “lessons learned” meeting once our deployment was complete to review how we did, and discuss how we could continue to improve and lead the way for others.
In the meeting, my client’s Director of Data Centers and Project Management shared with me that he could tell we were new at this, but what we lacked in knowledge, we made up for in determination to learn. He suggested that if we wanted to win more business in the global colocation marketplace, we should hire a certified Project Manager with expertise in colocation and start our Project Management Office (PMO). Within months we had our certified project manager and a PMO in the making.
The following quarter, our same customer called for a meeting to provide us with their roll out plan for their upcoming global colocation deployments for the coming year. The countries included London, Paris, Amsterdam, Ireland, Spain, Italy, and Germany. All were comparable cage builds to what we had successfully completed in Tokyo approximately 6 months prior. I knew we could do great work, but I also knew that this was a major test to see if we could deliver World Class results and win over this customer long term. I knew that if Global Communication Networks wanted to become THE experts on Colocation in Europe, which I knew we were very capable of, we had to execute here and failure was not an option.
During this time many colocation companies in Europe did not have agency agreements, nor did they understand the value GCN could bring to them and to their end customers. All they knew was that they wanted to win the new business so they were willing to give us a try to make that happen. We had little time, and with many of these data center companies not having any existing agency agreements, I had my attorney draw up a fair International agency agreement that each company could use as their own. We successfully signed with almost all of them.
With our agreements in place or being negotiated and a very aggressive schedule to meet, we immediately started to work with our customer to put together a prioritized geographical delivery timeline to understand which locations needed to be up and running first to last.
This deployment plan/timeline for each country had several very important key components that needed to be addressed, including dates for in country data center tours, contract negotiations, logistics, such as shipping and customs, the ordering of IP transit, private lines, and public peering circuits, and all of the essential project management components of building out a custom cage environment with all the racking and stacking of their gear. This discussion turned into our overall project plan for the first three countries.
Our goal was to locate a minimum of 6 facilities in each country that fit the customer’s criteria. We used our homegrown 100 question colocation questionnaire to narrow our list down to the top four carriers in each country, and then we started our negotiations.
There are many things we look for beyond name, PUE, Tier rating, and On Net carriers. For example, we investigated the fire suppression system to make sure it had been updated; we requested pictures of the barriers surrounding the data centers to insure that there was adequate protection from armed trucks with explosives. We wanted to know what other types of buildings surrounded the colocation facility; were any of them textile mills or machine factories, or any kind of industry that would be a combustible risk factor to the building. Unchecked boxes such as these would not land these facilities among our top picks.
Once we had presented our list, we worked with the customer to set up in country tours with all the approved facilities, and a team member from GCN would guide the tour if requested. This approach has been very successful, and we have continued to hone our colo craft for the last nine years.
In looking back, I recall just how much we needed to learn about all the planning and work that went into a global colocation deployment. I am happy to say that now that our process is bullet proof!
Today I have found that colocation in Europe is a very technically sound marketplace, with very hardworking individuals that typically speak several languages including English. Amsterdam is a prime example, many of the colocation facilities you will find there are purpose built data centers. Data center space has been selling so quickly in this country that companies like Telecity and Interxion are already planning two builds, in advance, to keep up with the demand. Frankfurt and London data centers sell out almost as quickly. There are, of course, data centers sorely in need of an upgrade throughout Europe, but as I see it, our role and mission, with the experience and knowledge gained over the years, is to source the best colocation facilities in Europe that best fit the various specifications that our clients require.
Many of our enterprise companies have finished their deployments in Western Europe and are now making their plans to build into countries like Russia, Poland,Czech Republic, Borno, Lithuania, and Berlin. I can honestly say that this part of the world is ready for your business. Many of the data centers are modular, so they can be expanded quickly, and they are built on power grids offering high amounts of power per rack. These data centers are not as full of On Net carriers as those in the West but many do offer a handful of On Net carriers and dark fiber that will offer transport to the nearest carrier neutral point of presence.
The bottom line in writing this blog is to say that there are some great colocation facilities in Europe, be methodical in your search and you will find the right facility to fit your needs!
By Chris Palermo
At Global Communication Networks, we have been selling Colocation for about 10 years. Our first deployment was a large cage environment in Asia, specifically Tokyo, so when sourcing for Colocation in Tokyo, I would spell the word as Collocation. I continued to use the "double L" for about 6 months until more than one person on the other side of the pond told me that I should spell Collocation with one "L". I noticed at the time that most of the people in the US used two "L's" and everyone overseas used the "single L", or even spelled it as Co-Location. Because I was selling almost all International Colocation at the time, I decided that despite my spell check telling me that “Colocation” should be spelled as “Collocation”, I am going to always use the single L format.
It has been almost ten years since that decision and throughout the years I don't go a single day without seeing it spelled as either Colocation, Co-Location, or Collocation. Being a proud person to sell Colo, I have often told friends and especially my team at GCN that the way we spell it is Colocation, and should never waiver to the other ways that people spell the word.
Last night, I looked up the word in my older edition of Newton's Telecom Dictionary and both words are in there with the following definitions:
"Collocation See Colocation, (which is my preferred way of spelling this term.)" Then Colocation with a very long definition. I guess even what I in my early years used as my telecom bible cannot help in this conundrum. As a result, I decided to send out 25 emails to friends that are in the Colocation business all over the world. Almost all of them immediately responded so I have good information to share on this term.
Stephen Wilcox, Managing Partner of IX Reach London writes:
"So, how to spell colocation is the same type of question as to whether "Internet" is capitalized and what the definition of a "tier 1 network" is. I'm not sure, and it probably doesn't matter but I can tell you what it’s not if that helps. So it’s clearly a derivative of "location", implying you locate alongside some one else, hence the "co-" prefix. Historically the correct English would have been co-location, like "co-terminus" or "co-worker" but common modern usage in the datacenter age prefers the simplified version of "colocation". I'm personally not a fan of unnecessarily hyphenating words so our house style is no hyphen ie "colocation", but I would be okay with anyone using "co-location" too - although I believe its falling out of fashion in much the same way as capitalizing Internet is (altho as a pedant, I prefer the capitalized version!) What's for sure in my opinion though is it’s never been collocation nor coloccation or even colocattion or any other variety where you care to add random letters for no good reason. HTH."
Amanda Van Riper, Head of Marketing for ColoHouse writes:
"In my initial research regarding data centers and colocation, I found that “collocation” or co-location” was most often associated with something or someone living/being in two places at once. Which could definitely apply to data center colocation as far as redundancy, multiple data sites, etc. However, I use “colocation” because this spelling (from my findings/opinion) is most often associated specifically with data center colocation."
Giles Proctor, Vice President, Data Centre Construction & Operations at Pacnet based in Hong Kong writes:
"Hi Chris, it is good to see that GCN is not afraid to attack the real industry issues! I am a “colocation” purist. I have never had truck with those who use the hyphen, although I will admit that, in my youth, I flirted with the double-l. "
Martijn Kooiman, Sales Manager, Telecity Group Amsterdam writes:
"Hi Chris, good idea. At TelecityGroup we refer to it as co-location. Co-location being an area in which multiple customers are located within a single shared environment."
In 18 hours, I received 23 of 25 responses.
18 people responded that they only spell the term as Colocation.
3 people responded that they spell the term as both Colocation and Co-location.
1 person responded that he spells the term as either Colo, or Collocation.
As trivial as this topic may sound, just about everyone sent their quotes and wanted to be heard. I am asking all of our readers how they spell Colocation, Co-location, or Collocation and let us know. We will send out updates as we get them.
By Rogers Clawson
We had a great response to the first part of the International Colocation tips post. Thank you to everyone who read and commented. If you missed the first article, click here. Let’s jump right into it.
Many of the data center certifications are starting to standardize and more closely align with similar industry certifications and compliance regulations. Soon, we should also start to see these certification including rules around “Cloud” based services. There are still a few certifications you should keep an eye out for such as the IDCA, ISO, Tier certification, and ISEA 3402. See our Certification blog post for more information.
7-Technical support/remote hands:
Depending upon the local presence you will have, or not, this item can be an extremely important consideration to explore thoroughly. What is the technical expertise of the local team running the data center? Are there any cultural or language barriers to consider? Maintenance schedules and holidays can also differ from what you are used to in the US. Odds are if you are based in Silicon Valley you won’t be flying to Singapore every week to perform maintenance or updates. Can you rely on the local team to help you with any and everything you might need? It’s usually a good idea to understand the capabilities of the on site team and negotiate a smart-hands package into your contract, even for an additional monthly charge.
8- Shipping & Customs:
Have you ever shipped some hardware or components only to have them arrive damaged, or worse the package simply gets lost. Getting your equipment into the desired locale can become very time consuming in some countries. In some cases your standard shipping method may not be good enough to get your equipment in country quickly enough. You will also need to deal with Customs, depending on your shipping destination we have run into situations where some extra tips go a long way towards a timely Customs approval. You may need to rely on an expert in International shipping in many cases such as Adcom.
Do you need connectivity between your International data center and your U.S. based operations? Is there a latency requirement? Do you need a private line or would MPLS work well for you? How much bandwidth do you need? Some sub-sea cables are coming close to reaching capacity so the higher bandwidth may come at a premium. A good example would be connectivity to South Africa. They have had a few new cables come on-line, but they are still in a bandwidth crunch. If you need to move large amounts of data it may require a more creative solution.
If you are going to have to fly to your international data center a couple times a year, and all else being equal, you may want to look around for what else the area has to offer. This way you can take advantage of your down time. Singapore is a great place for gambling, great food, and even has its own Universal Studios. Amsterdamis one of our favorite cities to visit. It is great for anyone who likes to bike, and is one of the most important centers for bicyclists. Amsterdam also boasts some of the best restaurants in Europe and enough attractions where you could visit twice a year every year and still not see it all. You get the picture, might as well enjoy the time you have outside the country. “Experience” is important as we have discussed, now make one of your own!
All of this is at a high level overview. There are many things that you need to consider when doing business overseas and we couldn’t list them all here. Maybe we will write a book one day, but until then, if you need any assistance on anything you can reach GCN via the Advisory Assistance form or leave a comment below. Thank you for reading.
By Rogers Clawson
Many companies come to GCN specifically because of our many years of experience in International Colocation Solutions. We have become very well versed in this marketplace due to the needs and requirements of our customers over the years. Our clients felt unsure of where to begin when leaving their well known domestic market. All they did know was how important it would be to have a partner that understood the implications of each location and country. Strong and tested relationships are even more vital and valuable during this time of discovery, exploration, and new business goals that come along with establishing an international data center presence and partnership. Here are a few tips that we have found to help make it a little bit more comfortable.
1. Location, Location, Location:
Of course your business needs will dictate the general region you need to be looking at; Asia Pacific (APAC), European Union countries (EU), Middle East-Northern Africa (MENA) etc. so once you know the region where do you go from there? To start, you should look at access into a country and to a few of their data centers as well. Some countries will require you get a Visa 30 days before your arrival. Brazil is an example, should you need to fly to Brazil for some unforeseen emergency you would have a very hard time making that happen, in addition, getting a Visa is one more step in the process that you may not want to have to worry about. Speaking of flying, you can narrow down many cities in a given country by the accessibility to local airports. The last thing you want to do after a 10 hour flight is drive 2-3 hours. Who knows, maybe that very well priced Tier IV data center is worth the drive, but you should consider this, and if you really like that remote location for a data center that distance to travel can serve as leverage when negotiating the terms of your agreement.
Even if you would prefer to avoid the subject of politics, you will need to do some important research on the countries within your chosen region(s). For example, is the government stable? Do you know any colleagues that have done business in these locations before? What were their experiences? Is the telecommunications industry predominantly run by the government? We know from experience that some countries have much less stable governments than others. We have also learned that locations that seem friendly to international business initially were not very flexible in their dealings later down the road. It is extremely important, where possible, to have some real life experience from your friends and colleagues to help you avoid these time consuming, and potentially very costly and frustrating situations. It is always ideal to have an insider’s view when looking at the situation on the ground in any particular foreign country due to such great variability. Again, your business needs are what need to be accomplished, make sure they can be accomplished in region and country realistically.
3. Costs & Currency Exchange:
Many companies such as PCCW, Telecity, Pacnet and Inteliquent do have a U.S. presence and can invoice your company in U.S. dollars. However, some companies will only bill in the local currency, others may give you a choice. Another key consideration is the VAT (Value Added Tax), which is a consumption tax. The VAT can vary from country to country and can really add a great deal of additional cost to a project. One example is Brazil, who today has a VAT of 90%!. When you start putting all the taxes into the equation it can get very complicated, it is a good practice to make sure you involve your CFO early in your project discovery , as they are important to understanding what region or country will meet your overall needs and requirements. They can often turn into a good resource as well with their own colleagues and their experiences outside of the US.
4. Kw vs Kva:
Kilo Watt versus Kilo volt-ampere, this is not terribly difficult, but something you need to make sure you consider when requesting quotes and preliminary proposals. If domestically you use 10kw per cabinet, don’t ask for a quote for 10kva in Amsterdam. 10Kw = 13Kva and 10Kva = 8Kw. There are plenty of Power Calculators online for you to use and it only takes a minute. That minute of clarification up front can save you a lot of time later.
Look at your connectivity options from all angles. You need to consider not just the number of IP Transit providers; but before you settle on a location look at the average cost per Megabit. If you’re looking for collocation in the APAC area, there is a real difference between the cost per Meg from Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore etc. Don’t buy data center space without including the cost of Internet Access in your overall evaluation, or you could find yourself upside down on what you thought was a great deal. You also need to consider what routes you’re going to buy and where your traffic is destined. Local routes may cost you much more than International routes if you need that low latency. Traffic into China from the surrounding countries will also cost you extra. These are important points to keep in mind and explore thoroughly before pulling the trigger on a data center facility.
By Fran Williamson
Disaster Recovery is one of those things that most of us tend to push aside until we are involved in an unexpected, and highly stressful situation that highlights the lack of business continuity ,and disaster recovery planning at the worst possible time to the worst possible audience… everyone! This is something that is much better handled with a calm, methodical, group approach that works when needed.
If your company has not evaluated its Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plans making it a priority in 2013 could save you from an unwelcome spotlight. Don’t do it alone or just with your team, all departments need to get together to develop a DR plan for the company as a whole. This is not just an IT issue, and looking at it in this way helps to build greater understanding of what happens when a crisis occurs for all. This type of cooperation amongst various organizations builds strong relationships and better processes, and plans. All feel heard, the priorities are outlined, the IT departments Disaster Recovery budget makes sense, and the business is kept safe!
There are 3 primary steps in creating a Disaster Recovery process for your company; DR Planning, DR Testing, and DR Management, in that order.
To keep in line with a calm methodical approach, I felt it best to break this into a 3 part post, starting with a focus on DR Planning within the data center environment.
Here is what you should consider when thinking about your Colocation and Data center environment in order to begin piecing together a plan.
1. What are you protecting yourself against?
This is not only the obvious natural disasters like hurricanes. This can be system and human error as well. What if there was an issue with humidity control in your current data center causing the environment to become too dry, build-up static, and wipe out your fancy new blade servers? Where is all that info? Do you have a second environment to run your production, and can it run indefinitely? Do you have compliance issues you need to consider? How much would your company stand to lose if your data center environment was down for 1, 2, 3 days or longer? How would it impact your business if you lost all your stored data?
2. Ask what CAN you protect ?
Often times when the IT budget gets the squeeze , it is DR that feels the pinch. The IT department and the other members of the Business Continuity planning need to make decisions on what is the most crucial elements to back up. From a colocation, data center perspective, you would prefer to have a mirror environment running it active/active with the primary production environment. If this is too costly, you may only have budget to back up your data, in which case, a cloud based Data Recovery solution would work well. This will be individual to each business and should be well thought out and endorsed by upper management. Getting the endorsement on a realistic budget goes back to a shared Disaster Recovery plan that is valuable to all departments.
3. Selecting the Best Disaster Recovery site for your business.
Your DR site should be far enough from your primary where it would not be prone to the same disaster; it’s not good enough to simply have a second collocation environment. As far as natural disasters are concerned, the best region in the continental U.S. would be the Phoenix and Vegas areas. They are not prone to hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes or anything like that and there are plenty of data center operators in that region to choose from such as ViaWest, Telx, and CyrusOne just to name a few. You should also keep in mind what you are going to do with your mission critical staff, your data center operator should have office space for you to use if you call in a DR scenario. You need to make that part of your contract, keep in mind, if there is a large disaster somewhere, odds are you are not the only one affected. Don’t find out at the last minute that there is no space left for you and your staff to relocate to. The Phoenix/Las Vegas regions are also rich in fiber so you will not run into connectivity issues like you would in many areas of the mid west. However it’s not enough just to look at natural disasters. If your client base is in New England and the NYC area the latency to run operations out of Phoenix may be too high. Be sure to look at it from several angles. We always recommend touring several facilities before making any decisions, consult with some industry experts if you don’t know the market, and get some customer referrals.
There are countless ways to go about establishing your Disaster Recovery plan and even more ways to go about implementing that plan. As the old proverb goes, “He who fails to plan, plans to fail”. Develop your plan as a team, do your research and it will pay off, disaster can hit at any time.
By Tom Clark from Internetproviders.net
Are you considering using a VoIP services for your business, and not sure if it is worth the investment to have it hosted off site? There are many benefits, which you may find help you improve communication in your company.
The Reliability of Hosted VoIP Services
The use of hosted VoIP services is becoming more popular among small businesses. This is due to it being a more reliable VoIP service, with possible 99 percent up-time.
When a VoIP services is hosted, it can rely more on a network of data centers, which can help to increase up-time, and reliable communications that businesses count on every day. If something happens to one data center, the service can route to another data center, and you always have service.
If you have your VoIP service in-house, this can not only cost more in the IT department, it can also be less reliable. This is due to the service being completely reliant on the in-house network. With hosted VoIP this is not an issue, and even if you have a technical issue on your network, your communications will not go down.
Hosted VoIP Solutions Save Businesses Thousands
Another reason that a business may want to switch to hosted VoIP services is that it can potentially save thousands in costs. The use of hosted VoIP can cut IT costs in an instant. There will be no need to invest in costly equipment, services and repairs.
Hosted VoIP services eliminate the need to have costly telephony equipment, which can often break or become outdated shortly after it is installed. The hosting service will be responsible for network equipment, and when something is outdated, it will obviously be replaced with the latest technology to appease customers.
The use of hosted VoIP service can also save on service fees you may acquire from other services. There are a lot of services that allow you to pay as you go, and even per user accounts. This is an advantage for small businesses, which may not need an expensive corporate service.
Hosted VoIP Service Will Always Have the Latest in Communication Technology
For small business owners, it is often difficult to be able to update technology every few months. With hosted VoIP service the technology comes from the company that is hosting the service, and there will always be the latest in communication technology available.
To be competitive in today's business world, small businesses have to stay on top of the technology. This can be hard if a business has to invest in network equipment when it becomes outdated. Hosted services allow the host company to manage equipment that may serve thousands of businesses, and in doing so, they can upgrade systems when it is needed. This saves businesses money on expensive hardware and networking equipment for their VoIP systems.
The use of hosted VoIP systems is becoming a popular VoIP solution among small businesses. It is a reliable money saving solution to the communication needs of small businesses.
Please join the conversation and let us know what you think.
by Rogers Clawson
They say the truest form of democracy is capitalism. Every single time you buy something, you are in a way, casting a vote in support of that one item over any number of available competitor’s items and alternatives. Consumers have made their voices heard when it comes to “green” practices and products. Many consumers are even willing to pay a little more for a “green” product on everything from food, cars, and televisions. Being “green” has become very important to many companies images and has affected the way many of us do business including the types of data centers we choose to do business with.
Companies such as Interxion, Pacnet, QTS, and ViaWest are moving towards green data centers that use new greener technology and consume less energy. LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is an internationally recognized green building certification system intended to standardize and legitimize the practice of sustainable “Green” development. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in March 2000, LEED provides building owners and operators with a frame work for identifying and implementing practical and measurable “green” building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions that substantially reduce the building’s impact on the environment as compared to similar facilities. Some of the “green” features that these LEED certified Data centers have are:
Site and Transportation
LEED discourages the use of building on previously undeveloped land. LEED aims to minimize the impact on land and reducing the development footprint of the building while maximizing building functionality. LEED also encourages “green” transportation choices, like having easy access to public transportation.
Materials and Resources
Reduce waste by recycling materials during and after construction, and using building materials from regional, recycled and sustainable-certified sources.
Renewable energy & optimized energy performance
Using renewable energy sources such as implementing free cooling options and natural light in order to reduce electric light demand and reduce the buildings carbon footprint and environmental impact are taken into consideration for the LEED certification. Of course renewable energy options like solar and/or wind power are taken into account. In addition to other practices, maximizing energy performance such as occupant sensing lighting control and using energy efficient lights like CFL’s (compact florescent light) and LED’s (light emitting diode) increase a facilities energy efficiency.
Minimum water usage
Water efficiency is achieved through smarter use of water inside and outside the building; such as collecting rainfall through a retention pond located on the building’s roof, or using porous asphalt in the parking lot in order to replenish the local ground water supply. In addition, some of the practices to reduce water usage inside the buildings are using high-efficiency fixtures that minimize water consumption in sinks, lavatories, and showers.
There are a few things to keep in mind when you see a company tout a LEED certification so you are not mis-led. It is important to note that there is no specific LEED certification for data centers. LEED certification does not take anything like PUE or data center operations energy efficiency into account. You should keep an eye out for the SSAE-16 and Uptime institute Tier ratings when it comes to the data center operations. There is a decent pay back for a company who builds a LEED certified data center (some studies estimate a 2-4 year ROI), but there is no guarantee that this will mean a more energy efficient or less expensive energy cost for companies leasing space in one of these data centers. The LEED certification is more of a statement that a company is committed to environmental responsibility, being “green”, and can be important to a companies’ culture and image.
Please join the conversation and let us know why you think LEED is important to the future of the data center industry.
By Rogers Clawson
When it comes to colocation, nothing is more important than reliability, as determined by their uptime percentages. For enterprise-level corporations on down to the small business, the extent to which a data center can remain online has a direct correlation with how much money is lost by the client. With this in mind, the Uptime Institute has created 4 industry standard tier ratings (Tier 2.5 or 3.5 are not real ratings) to rate the general efficiency and quality of colocation services:
Tier I is by consensus the delineation for the least capable hosting facility. These lack redundancy; leaving the data systems essentially unprotected against unforeseen power outages or component failure. Because Tier I facilities average about 28.8 hours of downtime each year, they aren’t suitable for enterprise-level corporations that could lose millions of dollars during the mandatory downtime. Their uptime percentage of 99.671% is suitable only for small businesses.
Redundant: Tier II facilities are rated as such if they possess an uptime of 99.75%, which corresponds to less than a day (22 hours, to be exact) of downtime annually. They have partial redundancy; enabling a faulty component to be removed without necessitating an entire system shut-down. Nonetheless, Tier II may not be fully protected against abrupt power outages, and so is suitable for medium-sized businesses, or robustly technical small businesses. Many data centers that are Tier II may have additional safe guards to assure uptime but may not have every piece to qualify for the Tier III rating. Also, keep in mind that even if a facility have their own average uptime of, say, 99.9% that does not move up them to any other Tiers if the data center topology design does not meet Uptime Institute standards. Most data centers fall into this category, which is suitable for the majority of businesses.
Concurrently Maintainable: Tier III facilities have the coveted 99.982% uptime reliability, with multiple redundant systems capable of servicing large businesses that provide round-the-clock service to customers in any capacity. With just 1.6 hours of downtime per year and no downtime at all during maintenance, Tier III enables a business to automate its services with virtually complete confidence. In the event of an unplanned power interruption, they will provide 3 full days of protection pending the forthcoming permanent solution.
Fault Tolerant: The most robust system rated by the Uptime Institute is the Tier IV facility. Virtually immune to failure, this fault-tolerant infrastructure has an uptime of 99.995%, which averages out to 40 minutes of subpar performance in an entire year. The actual downtime is far lower than even this: 2.4 minutes; which would register as little more than a delay in a loading webpage. The improvements of Tier IV over Tier III are significant; often requiring twice as many resources to jump up one level.
The thing to keep in mind with the Uptime Institutes tier ratings is that Tier requirements address the functionality of the data center design topology. For example, tier ratings do not take security into account. Some believe that Tier III and IV means that the data center has CCTV, re-enforced perimeter fencing, or other physical security measures. This is not the case. Don’t make assumptions on what a Tier rating encompasses. Here is a list of common misconceptions in regards to Tier ratings. The Uptime Institute has published a document on Tier Standard Topology which places the Tiers in a standard format, which you can find here.
This could be a lot for a company new to collocation or a small enterprise company with limited IT staff to sort through. We recommend you work with a carrier agnostic consultant, do your own research, and always take a tour of the facility when possible. If you have anything to add we welcome any and all comments.