Helping You Find the Right Data Center Partner

Liz Alton

Finding the right data center partner can save you time, money, and can help you build the perfect strategy. But picking the wrong partner can cost you a lot of time, energy, and money. So, how do you get it right? It can help to know the right questions to ask as you are researching, and to keep in mind as you begin to reach out to potential partners.

IoT sensors generate real-time information across the supply chain, high-performance customer experiences run on bandwidth-intensive apps 24/7, and digital signage updates by the minute with targeted promotions and information. Today’s data centers are tasked with doing more—and doing it more efficiently—than ever before. Companies need data solutions that proficiently process exponential increases in data, extract insights from data in real-time, and have the storage infrastructure available to support next-generation tools and applications with high performance demands. 

Navigating the landscape of today’s latest data center technologies—including converged and hyperconverged infrastructure, private cloud, and software-defined methodologies—can be challenging. The right data center partner can assess your needs, recommend solutions that map to your existing technology assets and business goals, and drive a seamless implementation. Here’s a closer look at five questions to ask when choosing a data center advisory and services partner.

Does the Data Center Partner Begin with an In-depth Consultation on Your Unique Needs?

Upgrading your data center is a key strategy to help your organization address crucial business challenges. For example, many organizations struggle to manage runaway data growth. How your data is generated, process, analyzed, stored, and kept secure is vital—and the right partner can understand issues that are unique to your business. 

Are you dealing with global locations, complex government regulations, or sensitive data? Do you rely on real-time data processing via edge computing solutions to power manufacturing processes or the customer experience? An appropriate data center solution isn’t a one-size-fits-all offering. Look for a partner that begins the process by taking a deep dive into your unique needs to understand where you’re generating data, how you’re using it, and the long-term goals and challenges that your organization is grappling with. By launching a potential project with an in-depth consultation, your data center partner can ensure they’re making recommendations that align with your priorities, budget, and long-term goals.

Does the Provider Offer a Variety of Solutions?

The ideal data center partner understands the full range of tools at their disposal. Today’s organizations require a complex set of data center solutions, which depend on a number of factors such as how you’re generating data, how it’s being used, and whether you’re looking for a bottom-up solution or to augment existing technology that you’ve already invested in.

For example, if your organization is facing tighter security regulations and the need for better storage management, it’s important to explore solutions that help you meet those needs—while staying in compliance with internal and external demands.

By understanding your data growth and usage, a data center partner can help you explore a range of tools to meet those needs. A converged infrastructure might be the right solution to help you deploy, integrate, and manage different aspects of the data center and provide you with tighter central management controls. Conversely, if you’re looking for a highly customized solution that blends on-site and cloud management solutions, a private and public cloud hybrid implementation may better fit your needs.

Are They Brand Agnostic?

Another factor to consider is whether a prospective data center partner can take a brand-agnostic approach to your project. When you’re considering a potential data center partner, it’s helpful to work with a provider that offers a range of different brand solutions. 

Rather than working with a partner that represents a single solution, identify a prospective partner that has a rich and diversified toolkit. When a data center partner takes a brand-agnostic approach, they’ll have a wide range of solutions available and take key steps to provide solutions that are mapped to your needs, goals, and budget.

Do They Offer Services and Support?

A data center partner should be more than just an infrastructure provider; while that’s critical, the best prospective partners offer services and support to help you make the most of your solutions. In many cases, your in-house IT talent is already stretched thin and they’re managing greater demands on their time for computing, storage, and networking than ever before.

Your data center partner’s ability to offer consulting and configuration assistance is key. They can help scope and build the business case to guide your data center decisions. Their technical expertise can be leveraged during a migration. In the case of managed or co-managed solutions, a data center partner provides critical ongoing support about regular management, cybersecurity oversight, business continuity, and disaster recovery. Don’t just evaluate the hardware that’s on offer—look at the services wrapper that a prospective partner provides. Determine whether they’re positioned to meet your needs today and whether their offerings have the potential to scale with your changing needs over time.

Does Their Track Record Instill Confidence?

Choosing a data center partner is a long-term commitment. From developing your strategy to implementing your solutions, it’s a company you’re going to be working with closely over the long term. Their experience, reliability, and decisions can have a significant impact on your business. Take the time to do your due diligence on their track record of supporting clients.

For example, what plans do they have in place for business continuity? Have they experienced a data breach or security issue? If so, how has that been addressed? Operating challenges arise during partnerships. By examining a partner’s track record for managing those issues, you’ll be better assured that they can adapt and evolve with changing needs—both in your business and in the larger landscape. Explore their testimonials and case studies and consider asking to speak to current customers to learn more about their performance.

Your organization’s data center partner is an essential component of your IT strategy. Identifying the right partner can lay the foundation for a seamless relationship that makes it easier to reach your long-term objectives. By asking the right questions now, you’ll be better positioned to identify which data center providers offer the right solutions for your growth.

Liz Alton is a B2B technology and digital marketing writer and content strategist. She has worked with a variety of brands including Google, Twitter, Adobe, Oracle, and HP, and written for publications including Forbes. She is a regular contributor to Connected, Connection’s official blog.