Three Questions to Ask When Choosing a Data Center Location

Choosing a good data center location requires smart research and planning – make the best choice using the guidelines below.

You’ve chosen the perfect backup data center: the rates are affordable, the site is reasonably close to your company’s main office, and there’s always someone on staff in case of an after-hours emergency.

It’s also located in a flood plain, which you didn’t know until a tropical storm blew through your city and put your newly selected data center – and all of your company’s critical information – under three feet of water.

When it comes to choosing an offsite data center, you have to think beyond prices.  After all, a competitive yearly rate doesn’t mean much if your data center is prone to floods or other disasters.

Is your company in the market for data storage?  Here are three questions to ask before making a choice.

Question 1:  Can the location withstand natural disasters?

Avoid locations near the coast, which is prone to hurricanes and flooding, and avoid areas with a high risk of tornadoes and earthquakes. Ideally, a data center located underground will provide the best protection against natural disasters–as long as it isn’t in a flood plain or earthquake zone.

If your data center happens to be in a seismic hotspot, realize that you will need to take proper building code precautions. Requirements include securing equipment to the floor, latching all cabinet drawers and isolating servers for their own protection.

Question 2:  Is the location easily accessible?

Think in terms of emergencies or equipment delivery. Say a server shuts down unexpectedly and needs to be replaced immediately. Having a data center located off of a major highway means that delivery trucks can easily get there and switch out equipment without causing much down time. If the center is located underground, it would also be ideal to have an elevator to aid in the transfer of servers.

Question 3:  Who will be working the data center?

Reliability in the people running the center is essential, so find out who your operations manager will be as well as the person responsible for day-to-day maintenance of the servers.  Make sure that there are clear procedures to follow in the case of an emergency, and ensure that your staff strictly adheres to regular inspection schedules of the building and equipment.

These three questions should help you find a reliable and professional offsite data center.  What do you think of this list?  Are there any other factors that you think are important?  Leave a comment below and let me know.

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