Storyboard colocation strategy
 

Storyboard colocation strategy

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The decision to co-locate all or part of the data center facility can be a risky one. Because the decision to build vs. buy is essentially one of cost, IT decision makers must put in the time and ...

The decision to co-locate all or part of the data center facility can be a risky one. Because the decision to build vs. buy is essentially one of cost, IT decision makers must put in the time and effort in requirements gathering, determining the needs of the business, and selecting a co-location vendor to ensure the engagement is successful.

This solution set will take IT decision makers through the following process to select a co-location vendor that fits the organization’s needs:

* Determine if a co-location strategy is a fit with the business.
* Understand the market and vendor offerings.
* Evaluate vendor offerings and proposals.
* Manage the co-location relationship.

Use this solution set to ensure that the organization’s co-location strategy is a success.

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Storyboard colocation strategy Storyboard colocation strategy Presentation Transcript

  • 1
    Info-Tech Research Group
    Develop a Co-location Strategy
  • Introduction
    2
    The decision to co-locate all or part of the data center facility can be a risky one. Because the decision to build vs. buy is essentially one of cost, IT decision makers must put in the time and effort in requirements gathering, determining the needs of the business, and selecting a co-location vendor to ensure the engagement is successful. Most small-mid-sized organizations only require a basic level of co-location services to fulfill their co-location needs; however, vendors are trending towards managed services as their entry level offering. Thus, IT must understand the needs of the business in order to determine the right level of service and select the best vendor for the organization’s needs.
    This solution set is designed for:
    • Organizations of all sizes that are facing a data center build vs. buy decision.
    • Organizations that are looking to outsource all or part of their server inventory.
    • Organizations that are looking for a solution to the constraints in their current facility.
    This solution set will provide you with:
    • High level budget and cost comparison tool for the build vs. buy decision.
    • Examples of co-location service level criteria to include in the RFP.
    • A co-location RFP template complete with proposal scoring tool.
    • Site evaluation checklist for final due diligence in the selection process.
    The co-location strategy solution set will take IT decision makers through the following process to select a co-location vendor that fits the organization’s needs:
    Info-Tech Research Group
  • Executive Summary
    • 64% of organizations engage in some form of data center co-location services, but over 77% of do not outsource the entire data center. Instead they outsource a subset of physical servers that require extra recovery and availability while leaving the rest in-house.
    • While many organizations avoid co-location due to perceived misconceptions about size and service, Info-Tech research found that all organizations can be successful in a co-location engagement:
    • Organizational size is NOT a factor to success.
    • Size of engagement is NOT a factor of success.
    • Factors of success in a co-location engagement require effort on behalf of the organization:
    • Successful co-location requires a minimum of 3 months planning and due diligence.
    • Organizations that gathered current and future facility requirements, were able to estimate a high level budget and conduct cost comparisons and were more successful in their co-location agreement.
    • Profiling servers before entering a co-location agreement were a significant factor to the engagement’s success.
    • 55% of organizations that established a shopping list of services aligned with their business needs, were more likely to experience co-location success.
    • Organizations that solicited vendors through an RFP process were more likely to experience success in their vendor selection and co-location engagement.
    • 62% of organizations conducted site visits to vendor locations before entering into an agreement which resulted in a more successful co-location arrangement.
    • Many vendors in the co-location market space have cut out their basic level of service and are only offering managed services as their entry level service, however basic co-location services suit the small to mid-sized organization’s needs. Customers must be prepared to have educated conversations with vendors to ensure they are engaging with the right vendor and the right level of service for the business needs now and in the future.
    • Co-location SLAs range from the very simple to the very complex. They must be enforceable under contract and managed on at least an annual basis. Vendors should be held accountable for non-performance.
    Info-Tech Research Group
    3
  • Co-location Strategy Roadmap
    Info-Tech Research Group
    4
  • Co-location is a risky initiative, but has many misconceptions and irrational fears surrounding it
    Many organizations are hesitant to outsource the data center due to fears regarding:
    • Security and privacy.
    • Physical separation from servers.
    However, in automated and mature data centers it is uncommon that an organization requires to physically touch the servers to implement changes.
    While these are fears that are commonly expressed, the underlying fear is more a factor of discomfort in vendor management issues that arise in this type of relationship.
    • For example, risk of downtime and being held accountable for another’s actions. Leaving many organizations with a belief that if they ‘control’ the data center in-house it will be more stable.
    Info-Tech Research Group
    5

    There were two prime concerns. One was around data security, and the second was for the system administrators about their job security. We addressed the job security somewhat by saying that we are not purchasing admin services from the co-location vendor. We are only purchasing power and a rack and WAN, and all the admin would still be done by us. So the folks involved weren't so concerned about their jobs - Source: IT Director, Semiconductor Manufacturing
     

  • Fear of the unknown
    %
    Info-Tech Research Group
    6
    8%
    8%
    12%
    12%
    12%
    6 = Strongly Agree
    19%
    8%
    8%
    5
    23%
    8%
    42%
    19%
    48%
    31%
    19%
    4
    28%
    3
    19%
    7%
    27%
    12%
    2
    23%
    22%
    1 = Strongly Disagree
    27%
    11%
    4%
    4%
    4%
    4%
    4%
    4%
    Privacy & security concerns
    Lack of executive buy-in
    Term & length of commitment
    Change of physical location of servers
    Budget constraints
    Lack of lights out management
    Perceived high risk
    Switching & implementation costs
    Organization’s that explored the co-location option but chose not to co-locate the facility came to their final decision based on the factors stated in the graph above.
    • 81% of organization’s that did not co-locate had concerns about privacy and security in the co-location facility; however, 84% of organizations that successfully co-located the data center stated that the facility security standards exceed the current security capabilities of the organization.
    • While many of these factors are reasonable fears regarding the co-location decision, organization’s that co-located all or part of the facility experienced the factors in the graph on the right.
    23%
    23%
    25%
    26%
    30%
    41%
    30%
    39%
    25%
    41%
    44%
    25%
    9%
    23%
    9%
    9%
    18%
    12%
    2%
    2%
    Dedicated resource to manage engagement
    Both parties view as a partnership
    Knowledge and helpful staff
    Defined escalation process
    Service and availability match contract
    Security exceeds expectations
  • 64% of organizations engage in some form of data center co-location services
    N
    14%
    18%
    Disaster Recovery Services
    Fully Managed Services
    Managed Services
    Basic Co-location
    No Co-location
    Data Center Co-location Services by Organizational Size
    5001+
    30%
    20%
    50%
    2501-5000
    1001-2500
    19%
    25%
    501-1000
    8%
    8%
    8%
    251-500
    12%
    6%
    24%
    43%
    29%
    101-250
    51-100
    33%
    1-50
    Info-Tech Research Group
    7
  • Co-location success comes in many shapes and sizes
    Success does not increase according to company size
    Info-Tech Research Group
    8
    Are you avoiding co-location because of organizational size?
    Organizations that haven’t considered a co-location strategy based on their size, should not avoid this option. Info-Tech found that organizational size does not have an effect of the level of success achieved. A successful co-location engagement can be realized by both small and large organizations.
    0 100 500 2500 5000
    Success does not increase according to level of co-location services
    Are you avoiding co-location because of perceived service requirements?
    Organizations that haven’t considered a co-location strategy because the perceived notion that they have to engage in a higher level of service to be successful should not avoid the co-location option. You don’t have to dive into a higher service level to be successful, even the most basic levels of co-location engagements are successful.
    Basic Managed Services Hosted Services Recovery
  • Co-location fear is human based, not industry based
    %
    Certain industries, such as healthcare, financial services, and Government that require additional layers of security and privacy to protect data, are co-location adverse. However, an Info-Tech survey found that data center co-location can be successful regardless of the industry.
    • Over 50% of healthcare organizations , 57% of Government organizations , and 67% of financial services organizations that co-located all or part of their data center experienced a successful co-location engagement.
    Info-Tech Research Group
    9
    90% - 100%
    There is no industry barrier to co-location, fear and co-location avoidance is simply a human component in certain industries
    77% - 90%
    60% - 77%
    0% - 60%
    Wholesale/Retail
    Government
    Trans/Utilities/Comms
    11%
    Healthcare
    17%
    Financial Services
    Education
    17%
    Manufacturing
    Primary Industry
    33%
    Business Services
    Success
  • There is no right size of engagement, the right size is what works for you
    0
    Info-Tech Research Group
    10
    Info-Tech Recommends:
    Organizations outsource servers according to the business needs
    Every organization is unique. Conducting a comprehensive requirements gathering process and thorough cost analysis is required to determine the true cost and benefit of co-location engagements.
    • Many believe that there is a sweet spot in terms of the number of servers when co-location becomes the better option. Info-Tech found that there was no significant relationship between the percentage of servers outsourced and the success of the co-location engagement.
    • Over 77% of organizations do not outsource the entire data center and instead outsource a subset of physical servers that require extra recovery and availability while leaving the rest in-house.
    Percentage of organizations
    27%
    25%
    25%
    23%
    62%-100%
    25%-62%
    6%-25%
    0%-6%
    Percentage of servers outsourced
    Info-Tech sees that the median percentage of servers outsourced is 35% of total physical servers. The minimum percent of physical servers outsourced was 4%.
  • Successful co-location requires a minimum of 3 months planning and due diligence
    4
    Info-Tech Research Group
    11
    Co-location can be a risky decision when presented to IT with a limited timeframe to make a decision on a vendor. Because it is a long-term commitment, the decision should be carefully considered. Take the time to plan and conduct due diligence to ensure the engagement goes right the first time – co-location switching costs are high.
    55% of organizations that demonstrated success put a minimum of3 months planning into their co-location strategy
    Did not conduct a minimum of 3 months planning
    45%
    55%
    Conducted a minimum of 3 months planning
  • Successful co-location planning involves many tasks
    8
    Organizations that experienced success in their co-location engagements put more effort in gathering facility requirements, cost comparisons, profiling servers, setting business expectations, the RFP process, and conducted site visits to potential co-location vendors in the planning process.
    Info-Tech Research Group
    12
    6 = Strongly Agree
    5
    4
    3
    2
    1 = Strongly Disagree
    Profiled for redundancy
    24%
    40%
    17%
    Profiled for high availability
    19%
    33%
    23%
    Cost comparison
    19%
    21%
    21%
    Minimum of 3 months planning
    16%
    16%
    23%
    14%
    19%
    Formal RFP process
    15%
    Site visits
    2%
    16%
    29%
    35%
    Gathered facility requirements
    2%
    21%
    23%
    28%
    20%
    30%
    Set of business criteria
    25%
    100%
  • Determine if a Co-location Strategy is a fit with the Business
    Info-Tech Research Group
    13
  • Assess organizational fit and appropriateness before engaging in data center co-location
    Info-Tech Research Group
    14
    ü
    ü
    ü
    ü
    ü
    ü
  • The build versus buy decision requires a 360 view of the current facility
    Info-Tech Research Group
    15
    Organizations exploring the option of data center co-location should assess all options surrounding the build vs. buy decision and must follow the same process to aid in making the final decision.
    A thorough assessment of the current facility requirements should be conducted from assessing the business need by involving key stakeholders throughout the business to facility requirements gathering to develop a high level budget and cost comparison
    For a more detailed explanation of each step in the decision making process, see Info-Tech’s “Data Center Facility Requirements Estimations At-a-Glance.”
    VS.
  • To build or not to build? It’s a question of cost
    Many organizations that gather requirements and forecast data center costs into the future will find that over time, co-location will be a less expensive alternative than having all servers in-house.
    Ongoing operating expenses represent 65% of the total costs associated with building a data center.
    Both capital and operating expenses for the build vs. buy decision should be carefully examined.
    Info-Tech Research Group
    16
    Use Info-Tech’s “Data Center Facility Build vs. Buy Tool” to determine a high level budget and estimate cumulative costs for data center build and co-location over the long term.
    Organizations that estimated a budget and conducted cost comparisons were more successful in their co-location agreement
  • Case Study: Comparing costs for the build vs. buy decision
    Info-Tech Research Group
    17
    When considering a co-location strategy for the data center, IT must compare the costs associated with building the data center, and that of the co-location vendor. This case study is a real-life scenario of Company ABC and its build vs. buy decision for co-location.
    • Table 1 illustrates the costs associated with a Greenfield build for a 1000 square-foot facility with approximately 50 servers.
    • Table 2 demonstrates the costs associated with the co-location strategy examined by the company over a period of eight years.
    Table 1. Company ABC Estimated Build Costs
  • Case Study: Comparing costs for the build vs. buy decision
    Info-Tech Research Group
    18
    Table 2. Company ABC Estimated Co-location Costs
    After careful estimation, the company found that to build its data center in-house, it could cost approximately $888,000 over eight years. The co-location option would cost the company $472,816 over a period of eight years – almost half of the build cost even with Cat5e and Fibre interconnects factored in. It was evident in this case that the best option was co-location.
  • Facility requirements are the cost components
    Info-Tech Research Group
    19
    Gathering facility requirements and detailed cost comparisons are directly related to the success of the co-location decision and engagement.
    • 42% of organizations conducted a detailed cost comparison
    • 51% gathered facility requirements before making the final decision to co-locate all or part of the data center facility.

    Understanding the facilities requirements can help the organization have better conversations with co-location vendors about the business needs and fit with vendor offerings.
    I had to do a lot of homework ahead of time, and I think that’s important [to understand what our actual requirements were] so that when we went to the vendor, we were able to say we needed half a rack, we needed this much power, we needed this much bandwidth. And then you’ve also got some idea of what your growth is going to be [to understand how much it will cost]. - Source: IT Director, Semiconductor Manufacturing

    For help in estimating facility requirements for power, cooling, and standby power, refer to Info-Tech’s “Data Center Power and Cooling Requirements Calculator.”
  • Profiling servers in the data center for availability & redundancy helps determine what needs to go out &what can remain in-house
    The majority of organizations do not outsource the entire data center. Profiling servers before engaging in an outsourcing agreement can help to further reduce costs associated with the data center.
    Successful organizations that outsource part of their data center target servers that require high availability and/or an extra layer of redundancy that their current facility cannot achieve.
    • 57% of organizations profiled servers to determine requirements for redundancy.
    • 56% of organizations profiled servers to determine requirements for high availability.
    • Profiling servers before entering a co-location agreement was a significant factor to the engagements success.
    Info-Tech Research Group
    20
    Is it best to co-locate servers that require
    high availability and redundancy?

    “Cost of provisioning and operating redundant power, diesel generators and fiber circuits at each company site would greatly exceed Co-location fees.”
    “Co-location provides a level of recoverability that cannot be achieved by in-house service.”
    “To in-source such services and redundancy a corporation required a huge investment into an infrastructure which is hard to justify. In a co-location the company shares the costs with other customers, reducing the cash flow burden of such an investment into these services.”
    “It does if there are limited resources within the company as we provide those services for us it is not a major hurdle. Servers that require high availability and communication links makes more sense. Has been a deciding factor in our strategy was redundancy of communications and bandwidth availability.”
    “As a mid-sized organization co-location allows us to take advantage of the stability and functionality that a larger installation base can afford to support.”

  • Warning: Co-location will NOT remove all in-house operating costs
    Although co-location may be a less expensive option over time for many organizations based on estimates and monthly fees, co-location will NOT remove all costs. Beware of additional costs for switching, moving, and implementation, and ensure they are accounted for in the high level budget and cost comparisons.
    Even when an organization outsources its entire data center, it will still require a wiring closet to tether the enterprise to the co-located services with the requisite costs for power, cooling, and standby power that will incur operating expenses.
    Info-Tech Research Group
    21

    Many organizations fail to factor in switching to implementation costs when co-locating the data center.
    You want to be aware of all the factors that you’re looking for on a day to day basis. How do you measure your efficiency and make sure you apply all those same rules to an outsource model? People think “Oh, I’m just outsourcing it; it’s all turnkey; it’s all included. Not the case.” Source – General Manager, PMP, Air Transport Security

    What initial and/or ongoing costs did you incur during the transition to a co-located facility?

    “Network circuit changes, temporary extra gear to bring networks up, moving, packing, insurance costs”
    “Dual hardware and software maintenance costs”
    “Transport and consolidating cost ( the move trigger consolidation as now economic driver of space drove consolidation ( not part of original scope).”
    “Carrier services expenses, additional time of existing staff”
    “The initial team working on the co-location under estimated the build out costs. Initial costs were under €100K.”

  • Case Study: Excessive additional costs result in a no-go co-location decision
    Info-Tech Research Group
    22
  • Case Study: Security concerns discourageexternal co-location, but result in aninternal shared services model
    Info-Tech Research Group
    23
  • Case Study – Build vs. Buy evaluationresults in a GO decision
    Info-Tech Research Group
    24
  • Understand the Market and Vendor Offerings
    Info-Tech Research Group
    25
  • Basic Co-location offerings are fading away…
    26

    One lesson learned that was interesting is particularly some of the value added services that a lot of the organizations are putting out these days. I’m seeing and hearing that there’s a real drive to cut collocation and there’s much more of a preference for managed services because that way the vendor gets to sell you on things like disaster recovery; dynamic infrastructure. Today you might only need two ports on a switch or something to that effect. So instead of selling you an entire switch, they’ll sell you just those two ports and you can buy them by the port.
     
    You expand as you grow so it’s dynamic in that regard which is great for them because it’s a total money maker. They isolate each port to a V-line and you have a nice day. I think things like where people are growing applications and they need a server farm or something to that effect, there is a lot of benefits there but you pay for it as well. Source - General Manager, PMP, Air Transport Security
    Many vendors in the co-location market have cut out their basic level of service and are only offering managed services as their entry level service.
    This has deterred many organizations from considering co-location as an option; however, based on a recent Info-Tech survey, organizations that enter into basic level co-location services are no more successful than those that engage in higher levels of service.

    Co-location Services
    Managed Services
    Recovery Services
    Fully Managed Services
    … but unfortunately this is what the mid-sized market needs!
    Info-Tech Research Group
  • Small-Mid sized organizations: Tier 2 vendors are for you
    27
    Info-Tech Research Article:
    Snapshot of the market for
    co-location services
    Some enterprises may wish to explore the cloud as an option for outsourcing. While it is out of the scope for this solution set, Refer to Info-Tech’s Solution Set Build an Optimized Infrastructure-as-a-Service Internal Cloud for more information.
    Tier 1 Vendors
    • Tier 1 vendors can be categorized as large co-location vendors that focus on large businesses. They typically focus on larger processing objectives and see co-location as only a small portion of the value they add and the revenues for services they are hoping for with a client. This tends to push them out of the space for mid-sized enterprises seeking co-location for a few server racks.
    • Vendors such as CGI, CSC, and EMC fall into this category
    Tier 1
    Cost
    Tier 2 Vendors
    Tier 2
    Tier 3
    • Tier 2 vendors make up the majority of the market for co-location vendors. They offer facilities with high levels of availability, redundancy, security that most enterprises cannot achieve in-house. Tier 2 vendors can accommodate small, mid-sized and large organizations but typically focus on the mid sized enterprise.
    • The Tier 2 vendor market is highly commoditized which makes it difficult to differentiate vendor services.
    • Vendors such as Q9, Fusepoint, Coresite, Peak 10 fall into this category.
    Tier 3 Vendors
    Vendor Possibilities
    • Tier 3 vendors are generally lower grade facilities or resellers looking to sell extra space or aggregators who gather clients to enter them into a Tier 1 facility.
    • Enterprises looking to co-locate the data center should stay away from these vendors and facilities as the service level are subpar when compared to Tier 2 facilities.
    Info-Tech Research Group
  • Co-location success is directly related to business need
    Info-Tech Research Group
    28
    55% of organizations that established a shopping list of services aligned with their business needs, were more likely to experience co-location success.
    Enterprises find it difficult to sort through the commoditized services offered by vendors.
    Whether or not a higher level of service is required at the time of selection, all levels of criteria are important for IT to include in the evaluation process.
    Many organizations find themselves tied to a vendor that cannot support their growth and future service needs, which results in the need to change vendors and incur switching costs.
    Cost and service level

    Infrastructure is a commodity these days. It is pretty difficult to differentiate sometimes. And those tier 2 guys, they were pretty much the same. One was just a couple hundred dollars a month more than the other. But there was really no difference in the facilities, no difference in the services that were available. No difference really in their ability to meet our needs if we decided to expand using their facilities. Made it difficult to decide Source – Director of IT, Semiconductor Manufacturing

  • Selecting a basic services co-location vendor:Unique needs vs. commodity offerings
    Info-Tech Research Group
    29
    24% of organizations engage in basic co-location services.
    Info-Tech recommends that organizations entering into a co-location agreement for the first time start with a basic level of level of service.
    A basic co-location service environment is a caged-space or rack infrastructure in a secure facility that is monitored and manned with full power (i.e. UPS, generators onsite, dual grid) and environmental management.
    Typically, the customer relocates their existing server hardware into the facility and manages it themselves; however, the co-location provider may provide some basic services.
     
    Include additional criteria such as:
    • Primary and operational mirror site locations.
    • Availability.
    • Carrier routes.
    • Additional power capacity in primary and operational mirror sites.
    • Standby power in primary and operational mirror sites.
    • Support and maintenance.
    • Power metering.
    • Monitoring and technical support.
    • Pricing.
    Requirements that are specific to the business needs, such as geographical location, level of availability, and power capacity, can help to narrow the search for a co-location vendor.
  • Basic co-location cost considerations should span fromshort-term to long-term engagements
    Info-Tech Research Group
    30
    The following cost estimates and assumptions utilize aggregated cost information from a sampling of Info-Tech customers and are +/- 10% in accuracy.
    • 1U of standard rack space, $80 per month
    • 6U of standard rack space, $291 per month
    • 12 U of standard rack space, $621 per month
    • 42 U (or Full) of standard rack space, $690 per month
    • 110V 20A Circuit (‘A’ side/’B’ side included), $240 per month
    • 110V 30A Circuit (‘A’ side/’B’ side included), $360 per month
    • 208V 20A Circuit (‘A’ side/’B’ side included), $480 per month
    • 208V 30A Circuit (‘A’ side/’B’ side included), $720 per month
  • Establish a set of criteria for basic co-location services
    Basic co-location services are the most commoditized offerings in the market. For this reason it is important that the organization determine the business requirements before seeking out vendors
    Use Info-Tech’s “Co-location Basic Services Vendor selection Criteria Checklist” to help establish a set of criteria for the selection process.
    This criteria checklist provides:
    • Criteria items for consideration
    • Full descriptions
    • Examples to use in the RFP
    Info-Tech Research Group
    31
  • Manage your Managed Services
    Info-Tech Research Group
    32
    Managed services offerings build upon basic co-location with added services provided by the vendor. The vendor typically provides Server-OS configuration and management , Server monitoring & reporting, Server back-up management which includes: scheduling, media handling, re-start, change control, incident handling, and limited ad-hoc restoration requests.
    Some examples of managed services selection criteria include:
    Although managed services are becoming the entry level for many vendors, only 8% of organizations engage in managed services agreements.
  • Vendor pricing for managed services differs according to geography, services in scope, reporting, and responsibility
    Info-Tech Research Group
    33
    ITRG has observed Managed Services pricing for:
    • Windows-based/Linux-based servers in a range of $150 -$540 per month.
    • Unix-based servers in a range of $240 - $950 per month.
    • Estimated costs for the Managed Services on NetWare-based servers is based on Unix based server pricing.
    Estimated costs include:
    • Server-OS configuration and management (patching, MACs, change control, incident handling, remote-hands, etc).
    • Server monitoring & reporting (real-time, basic utilization metrics from the server OS, SLA reporting, monthly distribution of reports)
    • Server back-up (assume customer supplied Back-up/Restore solution not “full managed”, scheduling, media handling, re-start, change control, incident handling, and Ad-Hoc restoration service).
    • Basic networking services and security services (NAT, IP sub-net, firewalls, etc).
  • Regardless of immediate need, IT should include managed services criteria in the vendor selection process
    Managed services are becoming the entry point for many vendors. Understanding managed service offerings and expectations will help you to have better conversations with vendors.
    Use Info-Tech’s “Co-location Managed Services Vendor Selection Criteria Checklist” to help establish a set of criteria for the selection process.
    This criteria checklist provides:
    • Criteria items for consideration.
    • Full descriptions.
    • Examples to use in the RFP.
    Info-Tech Research Group
    34
  • Recovery Services can span fromcold site to full failover
    Info-Tech Research Group
    35
    Some examples of recovery services criteria include:
    Co-location recovery services deliver high availability using replication and backup technologies to ensure continuity of the organizations’ operations. Recovery services provide a failover to another facility for business continuity in the case of a major outage including:
    • Technology
    • Office space & resources
    • Infrastructure & amenities
    Many organizations engage in co-location purely for recovery services; however, recovery services criteria can also be used to differentiate vendor offerings.
    • Info-Tech found that 14% of organizations engage in recovery services.
    RTO & RPO specifications
    Recovery site ownership
    Recovery site location
    Standardization
    Recovery terms and procedures
    Pricing
    Include recovery services criteria in the selection process to ensure that the vendor can support growth and future service needs.
  • Recovery services costs are influenced by thelevel of services required by the customer
    Info-Tech Research Group
    36
    Recovery services costs can be significantly influenced based on:
    • Geographic location
    • Services in scope
    • Reporting
    • Demarcation of roles and responsibilities between vendor and customer
    Evaluate costs for all server types and one-time provisioning and de-provisioning charges
  • Avoid a RFP disaster & include recovery services criteriain the selection process
    Info-Tech Research Group
    37
    Many organizations cannot achieve the level of redundancy and business continuity that co-location recovery services can.
    Use Info-Tech’s “Co-location Recovery Services Vendor Selection Criteria Checklist” to help establish a set of criteria for the vendor selection process.
    This criteria checklist provides:
    • Criteria items for consideration
    • Full descriptions
    • Examples to use in the RFP
  • Small-Mid sized organizations areavoiding fully managed services
    Info-Tech Research Group
    38
    Fully managed services represents the highest level of service in a co-location environment and therefore highest cost. At this level of hosting, the client simply defines the business need through a requirements process that captures criticality, capacity, and growth plans for each application or service required.
    Fully managed services is a replacement of your infrastructure, not just a replacement for the facility.
    • Fully managed services should only be explored by larger enterprises or enterprises that have outsourced to the co-location provider for at least a full contracts term of managed services.
    • Fully managed services is a level of service that should be worked up to over a long period of time. In most cases, small to mid-sized organizations will never engage in this level of service.
    Organizational Size
    Organizational Fit
  • Account management & service are key vendor differentiators
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    Engagement practices help to set expectations up front. Establish a criteria and evaluate vendors on practices, such as soliciting client references, aligning project management processes, and establishing channels of communication for the term of the contract to ensure a successful relationship.
    I think obviously the relationship with the vendor is going to be important particularly when you’re talking about your data; if your business is running entirely on that data. You want to make sure you have a solid relationship there particularly if it ever came down to any type of disaster recovery situation. Source – General Manager, PMP, Air Transport Security
    Stability

    66% of organizations that co-locate all or part of their data center facility view the co-location relationship as a partnership and have experienced a successful engagement as a result
    Communication
    Account Management
    Trust
    Because basic services offered by data center co-location vendors are largely commoditized, in the end, the decision may come down to which vendor offers better account management skills and service.
  • Define internal expectations before approachingthe vendor on their engagement practices
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    Info-Tech Insight:
    Organizations should seek client references. As with most vendors, one way to get a better idea of how a co-location vendor really operates and manages its relationships is from other organization’s experiences with the vendor. Request client references to get an unbiased opinion and evaluation of vendor services to validate vendor claims.
    After defining the organization’s requirements for co-location service offerings, expectations for the engagement methodology should be defined. Many organizations run into trouble in the co-location agreement when a vendor’s business practices and processes do no reflect that of their own.
    Use Info-Tech’s “Co-location Engagement Vendor Selection Criteria Checklist” to help further define a set of criteria to differentiate offerings for the vendor selection process.
    This criteria checklist provides:
    • Criteria items for consideration
    • Full descriptions
    • Examples to use in the RFP
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    Organizations that properly plan, gather requirements & understand the business need, experience moresuccessful co-location engagements
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    Organizations that take the time to go through an evaluation process, experience high levels of success factors in their co-location arrangements.
    While Security is a major deterrent for many organizations, 66% of respondents said that the security in the co-location facility exceeded the current security capabilities of the organization.
    6=Strongly Agree
    5
    4
    3
    2
    1=Strongly Disagree
    2%
    18%
    25%
    41%
    Security standards exceeds own capabilities
    2%
    12%
    44%
    26%
    Maintains level of service and availability
    23%
    30%
    23%
    Defined escalation process
    23%
    30%
    23%
    Staff knowledgeable, friendly & helpful
    9%
    41%
    25%
    Both parties view the agreement as a partnership
    9%
    25%
    30%
    Dedicated resource to manage enterprise services
  • Case Study: Poor business requirements definitionleads to a poor co-location partnership
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  • Evaluate Vendor Offerings
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  • Use an RFP to align co-location vendor offerings withbusiness requirements
    Info-Tech Insight:
    The size and scope of the co-location RFP document sent to vendors should be consistent with the size and scope of the engagement to ensure vendor effort and participation.
    • 33% of organizations that solicited vendors through an RFP process were more likely to experience success in their vendor selection and co-location engagement.
    • Smaller engagements may only require an RFI; however, even if the size of the project does not warrant an RFP, it is still beneficial for the organization to go through the process internally to help further define their engagement requirements.
    Current Facility Requirements
    Established Service Criteria
    Future Facility Requirements
    Co-location Vendor RFP Document
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    The duration of the RFP process was about 2 ½ months. It took us a bit longer because of the co-ordination with the purchasing department. We had to negotiate and get them up to speed on what co-location was. It was those kinds of complications that took us longer. Source – IT Director, Semiconductor Manufacturing

  • Issue an RFP to gather required information from vendors & make a more informed decision
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    After determining data center co-location selection criteria for the business, organizations embarking on the final selection process for a data center co-location vendor should issue an RFP to ensure they receive all the required information to make a final decision.
    Use Info-Tech’s “Data Center Co-location RFP Template” to narrow down the search for a co-location vendor.
    This Co-location RFP template includes:
    • Terms and conditions of the RFP process.
    • Co-location selection criteria.
    • Managed Services selection criteria.
    • Recovery Services selection criteria.
    • Vendor-Customer engagement selection criteria.
  • Co-location vendor proposals should be evaluatedbased on a common scoring method
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    Use Info-Tech’s “Data Center Co-location Proposal Scorecard” to compare proposals and determine a shortlist of co-location vendors. The scorecard should align exactly with the RFP.
    Use this Tool to:
    • Gather co-location vendor proposal information in one document.
    • Score each vendor based on proposal responses.
    • Determine which vendors should move on to the next stage of vendor evaluation.
  • The devil’s in the details: Perform due diligence by conducting site visits
    When a shortlist of co-location vendors has been determined, the organization should add an extra layer of due diligence, and conduct site visits to potential facilities to ensure they are both internally and externally secure and to validate vendor claims.
    An organization can tell a lot about how the co-location engagement may end up by how well the facility is laid out and maintained.
    62% of organizations conducted site visits to vendor locations before entering into an agreement, which results in a more successful co-location arrangement.
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    Mini-Case: Co-location Facility in Disaster’s Way
    An organization about to move ahead with a co-location vendor decided to visit the site before solidifying the contract. The site visit revealed that the facility was located at the end of a small municipal airport runway.
    Evaluation of the site should be conducted:
  • Do the homework before the site visit to ensure the location is stable and accessible
    Researching the vendor’s site location ahead of time can uncover potential issues that may arise.
    Any concerns regarding this site location may be a quick way to discard a vendor from the shortlist and can be addressed before the visit.
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    Before the site visit, understand the facility’s surroundings:
    • Is the city or country the site is located in economically stable? 
    • Is the city or country the site is located in politically stable? 
    • Is it in an area susceptible to natural threats? (i.e. severe winter storms, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earth quakes)
    • Is there a permanent FEMA presence in the geographical location?
    • Is there unobstructed access to the location?
    • Can the organization’s personnel and vendors get to the facility easily?
    • Are there train stations, airports, and hotels nearby?
    • Are fuel supplies able to get to the facility? 
    Evaluate the following before the site visit:
  • Be prepared & understand what to look forduring a co-location site visit
    After a shortlist of co-location vendors has been determined, IT must still take the next steps to ensure that all due diligence has be covered.
    Ensure that vendor claims are valid, and that facilities and surrounding areas are adequate for the organization’s data center co-location needs by conducting an evaluation of the site before, during, and after the site visits.
    Use Info-Tech’s “Data Center Co-location Site Visit and Evaluation Checklist” to track and record impressions during the site visit.
    The co-location site visit and evaluation checklist covers areas such as:
    Physical security of the co-location site.
    Facility upkeep and maintenance.
    Facility Requirements
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    For additional explanation of what to look for during a site visit, refer to the Info-Tech research note, “Data Center Co-location Vendor Validation & Site Evaluation.”
  • Manage the Outsourcing Agreement
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  • Negotiate SLAs carefully to ensure thatservice expectations are clear within an outsourcing relationship
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    Info-Tech Insight:

    The opportunities in negotiating SLAs lie in improving performance reporting and increasing the penalties for missed targets. At the extreme, if the service provider falls too far behind in meeting the contracted SLA, it may be considered cause for terminating the contract, with significant penalties to the service provider..
    The development of an SLA must be based on performance standards and measurements already being met by the provider.
    Co-location service providers should not be expected to adapt their standard in scope performance and monitoring processes to individual clients. 
    • If the provider does adapt standard processes; they may guarantee service levels beyond their actual capability, and will either reduce their penalties for missed targets or increase their price to provide themselves with insurance.
     
    Most vendors will have a standard SLA, which reflects actual performance as the basis of negotiation. 
    • Because the customer  cannot expect to negotiate major changes in performance targets without incurring additional costs, targets contained in the vendor’s basic SLAs must be examined closely to determine if they are adequate for the enterprise.
     
    You want that to be as smooth as possible by ensuring those relationships are in place but not just a handshake and a wink and a nod; but things like service level agreements; previously negotiated contracts; those types of documents that spell out roles and responsibilities. So there is not confusion or ambiguity when an event occurs. Source – General Manager, PMP, Air Transport Security

  • Co-location SLAs range from very simple to the very complex
    Typical SLAs include the following components:
    Service category (availability, response time, throughput).
    Acceptable range of service quality.
    Definition of what is being measured.
    Formula for calculating the measurement.
    Credits and penalties for achieving targets.
    Frequency and interval of measurement.
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    The simplest form of SLA is the one that defines a service simply by availability or non-availability. More complex SLAs that require greater management overhead are also likely to be more expensive.
    A manageable SLA will determine objectives, refine requirements, set measurements, and establish accountability.
  • The customer & vendor must be clear about theirexpectations within a co-location engagement
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    A Service Level Agreement (SLA) provides a definition of performance for a negotiated service. SLAs ensure accountability on the part of the service provider and also determine the price of the service.
    In essence, the SLA defines the “product” that is being purchased, permitting the provider to rationalize resources to best meet the needs of varied clients, and permitting the buyer to ensure that business requirements are being met. The terms of a well-negotiated SLA will be balanced between defining the service expectations of the customer and limiting the liability of the provider.
    Use Info-Tech’s “Co-location SLA & Service Definition Template” to understand and develop expectations on co-location vendor SLAs.
    This Template provides:
    Aggregated real world examples of a co-location SLA and service definitions documents.
    A basis to compare and negotiate vendor SLAs
  • Measurements & metrics used in defining a co-location SLA can vary widely
    Depending on the service being provided and the required result, SLAs can be either quantitative or qualitative. Qualitative metrics must have a measurable component.
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    Specific metrics to define and include in an SLA are:
    • Repetitive process rates, including error rates.
    • Delivery, or timeliness and conformity to specifications.
    • Billing dispute resolution time.
    • Account management responsibilities.
    • Call answering, including wait time, percentage of calls resolved on first contact, user satisfaction, and specific business relationship goals.
    • Vendor resources, including turnover and improvements in service performance.
    • Risk management, including control of volatility in buyer’s cost.
    • Availability of the service.
    • Access and response times.
    • Installation lead times.
    • Maintenance and support response and resolution times.
    • Availability of dedicated support staff.
    • Capacity, or volume handled before performance degradation.
    • Reliability, or number of outages over time, and how long it takes to recover.
    • Efficiency, or increase in output or performance using the same resources.
    • Strategic impact or impact on overall business objectives.
  • Co-location SLAs should be reviewed & managedat the very least on an annual basis
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    The customer’s ongoing management of the SLA must go beyond strict performance measurement, and ensure that adequate communications are maintained between both parties.
    There are four phases of ongoing management:
    Ensure that the SLA, and any penalties it might impose, is contractually enforceable. Provisions for ending the relationship must also be included; these also generally have associated penalties.  
    There must be a contact point for problems related to the agreement, ongoing communications, service review.
    • 64% of organizations engaged in a co-location agreement have a dedicated vendor resource responsible for managing their services.
     The outsourcing service agreement and SLA require executive level buy-in, and a supporting management structure within both organizations.
    • Establish regular communications channels
    • Establish a reporting structure
    • Establish frequent meetings to ensure that the service is moving in the desired direction, that problems are foreseen, and that any changes to the SLA or contract can be anticipated and agreed upon in advance.
  • Track & review the relationship with anannual contract assessment
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    The customer’s ongoing management of the SLA and co-location relationship is essential for an ongoing successful engagement. The organization should conduct an annual contract assessment to review the co-location agreement and track vendor performance.
    Use Info-Tech’s “Data Center Co-location Annual Contract Assessment Checklist” to review and manage co-location vendor performance.
    This checklist provides review points for:
    Primary co-location site availability
    Monitoring & technical support of ;the primary facility
    Facility access
    Hardware configuration
    Software configuration management
    Server availability
    Change management processes
    Facility maintenance
  • Understanding the two typical SLA management models
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    Management by Vendor
    Management by Client
    SLA management by the vendor is most common, because it is applied to IT and network outsourcing, where service levels can be set according to well understood and standardized metrics.
    The service provider may have a variety of different service levels at different costs, which serve as the basis for an SLA; individual or custom provisions are then added through negotiation, according to specific needs, or the base level SLA may be acceptable without change.
    As SLAs and services become more complex, the tendency is shifting toward client management.
    Even if the vendor has a management system in place, the client should perform some internal monitoring and establish management procedures. This can be further facilitated by the vendor providing the client access to the vendor’s monitoring software or portal.
    Management involves monitoring performance levels and the vendor’s situation on an ongoing basis, periodically reviewing performance against objectives, and measuring performance against specific metrics agreed upon in the contract.
    There must be a structure in place for regular reporting, and procedures for problem resolution need to be in place, including notification procedures and tools and procedures for analysis.
    Finally, the SLA itself should be reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure that provisions adequately respond to business process needs, account for changing technology, and meet financial goals.
  • Financial penalties are a twig, not a stick
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    The customer must hold vendors accountable for failure to meet performance targets.
     The typical remedy for failure to meet service targets is a refund of charges. A common approach seen in other customer agreements has a penalty defined as a percentage of current monthly costs.
    Assess the business impact resulting from any SLA non-performance by the vendor and avoid a time consuming exercise of defining penalties:
    Determine relative impact score
    Define relative impact on the organization
    Business Impact Assessment
    Avoid seeking financial penalties for non-performance andfocus on issue resolution.  
    • Info-Tech recommends that organizations avoid seeking specific percentage service credits for non-performance since experience shows that these do little to change vendor behavior. Instead, establishing a periodic review with the vendor will help to ensure that the service remains on track and that the two parties continue to be in agreement as to what is required. There must also be structures in place to resolve issues as they appear before the need for penalties are raised or the relationship goes sour.
    Infrastructure funding and prioritization
    Cost and services review
  • Case Study: Financial penalty for non-performance isnot worth the downtime
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    Info-Tech recommends:
    • Customers specifically assess the business impact resulting from any SLA non-performance by the vendor and approach the ongoing management and governance with that weighted importance in mind.  
    • With most SLAs, the customer has the responsibility to make claims for financial rebates when performance targets are missed. The typical remedy for failure to meet service targets is a refund of charges.
    • Carefully assessing whether the financial penalties for the provider are adequate and reflective of the relative impact on the enterprise is a straightforward impact assessment analysis.
  • Summary
    The decision on whether to co-locate all or part of the data center facility should be based on cost. If the organization decides to co-locate the facility, time and effort are required to plan properly to ensure co-location engagement success.
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    Use Info-Tech’s tools & process to ensure success in your co-location engagement:
  • Appendix – Co-location Strategy Tools & Resources
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  • Appendix - Demographics
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