Mar 14 2024
Data Center

6 Key Questions When Eyeing Colocation for State and Local Data Centers

Pooling resources, if done carefully, can reduce costs and improve reliability.

Under the right circumstances, colocation can help state and local governments reduce costs and improve reliability, although the reasons for making the decision to collocate resources will be different for different organizations.

Before making the move, government officials should consider these important questions:

1. What Are the Agency’s Connectivity Needs?

A move to a colocation facility might be especially attractive to state or local agencies in rural areas that lack the connectivity needed for large data transactions. An agency located in rural Iowa, for instance, will likely be able to obtain more robust connectivity for less money by moving its resources to a government facility with collocated data centers in Des Moines.

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2. What Are the Physical Security Mandates?

Sometimes, this question is driven by auditable compliance requirements, while at other times it’s more a matter of government policy or even individual preference. To make sure a prospective colocation facility meets their agency’s needs, IT officials should know what they’re looking for in terms of physical security, whether that means biometric scanning, human guards or surveillance cameras.

3. What SLAs Do the Government Seek?

Service-level agreements for metrics such as uptime and recovery time are at the very heart of a contract with a colocation center administered by a managed services provider. It’s important for government officials and IT chiefs to know what level of service will ensure the availability and performance they need. They must also conduct due diligence to make sure the colocation facility can meet their SLAs. Agencies can also negotiate specific financial penalties or include the option to back out of a contract if a service provider fails to meet its promised metrics.

READ MORE: These county governments upgraded their data centers.

4. How Much Power and Cooling Does the Data Center Need?

This is really getting down to the nuts and bolts of data center operations, and it’s something that IT leaders may take for granted. The good news is that power and cooling are fairly straightforward. Rather than relying on trial and error, agencies can turn to spreadsheets that will tell them the exact heating and cooling needs for different pieces of equipment running a certain level of utilization. Depending on the results, some electrical work may be required to meet an agency’s needs, or the agency may opt for a different colocation provider.

5. What Is the Government’s Disaster Recovery Plan?

Government agencies that rely on the public cloud for their disaster recovery will want to make sure that any colocation center they use is located near a major public cloud on-ramp. While this is not common for state and local governments, reliance on public cloud resources has grown slight in the past several years. Without a plan, governments may not be able to meet their recovery time objectives should a disaster occur. For agencies that choose to place their recovery environments in a separate colocation facility, providers tend to offer access to back-end fiber, ensuring rapid recovery.

EXPLORE: How to increase your ransomware recovery capability.

6. What Will the Design Look Like?

Any colocation move should start with an inventory and assessment of a government’s existing resources. Such housekeeping often turns up infrastructure that isn’t being used; typically, there are opportunities to improve utilization of other equipment by roughly 10 percent. This process allows state and local government agencies to compress their footprint, reduce costs and start their colocation journey off right.

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