What Do Data Center Companies Do?

Data center companies can also be referred to as colocation companies, and these companies build and operate data centers, providing a highly secure space with redundant power, cooling and network infrastructure for those who find it more affordable and/or more reliable than operating their own data centers. It is costly for a company to build their own secure facilities with redundant power and cooling infrastructure, and to maintain the mechanical equipment. By using a data center provider, companies can save millions in capital expenses and take advantage of economies of scale by sharing space and resources with other tenants. Colocation companies also take on the responsibility of keeping physical IT infrastructure safe and ensuring the data center is up and running 24x7, removing this burden from tenant companies' shoulders.

Within the industry, it is often said that data center companies offer wholesale and retail colocation. Retail colocation is the most common option. When a company opts for retail colocation, they lease space within a shared data hall (also referred to as white floor) in a data center. The company may rent less than a cabinet, or lease an entire caged off area in a data hall. Wholesale colocation refers to a private, customized space within a data center, or an entire data center altogether, that a company leases from a data center provider. Companies that require a significant amount of space and wish to have more control over their environment may opt for wholesale colocation.

What to Look for in a Data Center Company

Not all data centers and data center companies are create equal, and the best way to determine which colocation company is best for you is to determine your infrastructure goals first. Read our blog post on a framework for choosing a colocation provider to get started.

Based on your goals, you can better determine your requirements, such as a carrier-neutral policy toward network providers, resilient infrastructure, redundant utilities, power density and more. Another determinant should be a data center company's staff. Are they attentive and experienced? Are they onsite 24x7x365? It's also wise to look for an established provider with 10+ years of experience and a history of financial stability.

Image of colocation data center security booth
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