Vetting your co-location provider

Steven Foster, managing director EMEA at Siemon says that it is vital that companies investigate the standards and premises of co-location providers

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Vetting your co-location provider Steven Foster from Siemon says that he has seen some very poor data centres being built by co-location providers.
By  Steven Foster Published  January 30, 2013

Steven Foster, managing director EMEA at Siemon says that it is vital that companies investigate the standards and premises of co-location providers.

While many co-location providers are equipping their data centres with top-of-the-range equipment, some are using cheap equipment to get the fastest return on investment possible, according to Steven Foster, managing director EMEA at cabling expert Siemon.

If a company is looking for a co-location provider, Foster said that it is a good idea for the company to go and have a look at the data centre premises.

“Visually you can see straightaway if the data centre is not a good build. We have seen data centres where cables and routers are here, there and everywhere, tiles are lifting up where the cables are so badly installed. If that is happening there is a high chance of a link failing and if a link fails then companies can face serious consequences,” said Foster.

Foster also urged companies to enquire about what certifications the data centre has. For cables there are the TIA and ISO standards. The ISO standards are the much more stringent European standard.

“Even though we are an American company we advise our customers to ask whether cabling is up to ISO standards,” said Foster.

On the data centre side in terms of standards, there is the Uptime Institute which has various tiered levels one to four to rate data centres, four is very, very high and expects 99.995% service, which is designed for banks and companies where it is absolutely critical that they do not stop the service in the data centres.

“Tier 4 is very rare, it is the kind of data centre that if all the lights in a city go out, the data centre keeps running and it is very expensive to build,” said Foster.

Siemon recently completed a data centre and disaster recovery site for a large international financial institution in Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.

“We work with partners to do the data centre implementations, but where we add a lot of value is that we did a lot of the designs of the data centre layout and that is one of the things that is quite different to others in the industry. We have tried to create on the passive side a complete data centre ecosystem and it is something we are evolving quite rapidly,” said Foster.

Siemon currently offers cabinets, passive cooling equipment and monitored power units and is about to start offering DCIM software, which is designed to manage a lot of the equipment side of the data centre.

Siemon also ensures that it tests premises it works with and provides training and certification to partners. Implementation partners have to do a three day course and pass an exam and then, when they pass, they get a certified 20 year warranty.

“So any IT applications that run over the network for the next 20 years we will certify that the products, as long as they are installed correctly, will work and these are important points to consider,” said Foster.

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