Blog header: What are key questions to ask in data center tour?

What are Key Questions to ask in a Data Center Tour?

A tour around a data center can be intimidating if you don’t know what to look for or what questions to ask. To host and maintain a business critical information isn’t a easy task, and as such, understanding just what a facility can offer in terms of reliable outsourcing is essential. We have listed key question you should ask your next data center. 

What security measures are in place at the facility?

When selecting a data center partner, security is one of the most important features of any data center. Read our detailed blog on why data center security is important here. At the outset of a data center tour, businesses should have a clear grasp of how security is implemented throughout the building. A few topics to address:

·         Is there a high risk of natural disasters in the area (and if so, how is that risk mitigated)?

·         Is the neighborhood safe and well-maintained?

·         Are security cameras installed at all major and unmanned entrances?

·         Is the building infrastructure solid & robust, with no easily accessible windows or doors?

·         What is the process for entering the building, and who is granted authorization?

Taking stock of these initial measures is a good way to measure external security on a data center tour, before even stepping foot inside of the facility. With reliable perimeter protection, businesses can rest assured that their infrastructure will be securely maintained once inside the facility.

How is the electrical infrastructure configured in the data center?

Another major issue to tackle on a data center tour is getting an up-close look at how the electrical and power systems are set up throughout the facility, and what potential risks may accompany different configurations.

Data centers should function under a multiple path configuration – single paths present the opportunity for a single point of failure in the event of an outage. Some questions to cover:

·         What are the current capacity and average usage of the electrical system?

·         How is electrical redundancy established?

·         How many distribution units, backup systems, utility feeds and generators operate throughout the facility?

·         Does the electrical configuration source from multiple paths, or a single critical path?

·         Can you provide a diagram of the electrical infrastructure?

A diagram is useful when evaluating a facility’s electrical configuration because it provides a detailed layout of where equipment is located. With this knowledge, businesses can identify potential areas of weakness – i.e. where major pipes are located in the event of a leak, network access routes/fiber optic pathways, etc.

In addition to the questions above, the data center tour may allow for viewing of critical areas of the building, which can provide further insight into equipment maintenance and location within the facility.

How do I access my equipment on the floor – and is support available in case I am absent?

Of course, a primary concern of many businesses when evaluating a data center provider is access – how quickly and easily their staff will be able to get to equipment when necessary, and how it will be maintained in the event of an emergency. When evaluating facility access on a data center tour, inquire the following:

·         If I am unable to troubleshoot my equipment, will support be provided onsite?

·         What is the average response time for remote hands support?

·         Does the support team accept calls and tickets 24/7/365?

·         What are full-service tasks commonly addressed by the support team?

·         What is the facility’s policy on courtesy vs. billable support services?

In a colocation partnership, ensuring that business operations are running smoothly at all times is essential. However, it will not always be the case that a company’s staff will be able to quickly attend to equipment issues that arise in the data center. A skilled, dedicated support team is an important factor to weigh in on when outsourcing critical information.

Does the data center tour display room for expansion?

The primary goal of any business is to grow. With that being said, businesses should aim to partner with a facility that fosters and accommodates development – both in terms of space and support. Some questions to ask:

·         Is the facility currently designed for expansion?

·         If nearing capacity, are there plans for the facility to expand its data center space in the future?

·         Is it typical for customers to provision additional space at this facility?

·         What is the process for provisioning additional space in the data center?

A data center that is able to grow with its customer provides peace of mind for – knowing that they will not have to migrate their equipment and restart the process a few years down the road simply because the facility doesn’t have the capacity to scale. A data center that has the potential to expand with the business provides the consistency that is necessary for growing businesses.

A data center tour allows businesses to get a closer look at a potential home for their IT infrastructure. By taking the initiative to ask important questions beforehand, organizations can feel confident that their outsourcing needs will be accommodated when they make their final selection.

The best way to experience our datacenters is to schedule a tour.! Schedule your tour with ColoHouse now via  (888) 865-4261, or fill out the form today.

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