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Why is Data Center Location Important for MSPs?

By: Blair Felter on March 2, 2021

There’s an old joke about how the top 3 things to look for when buying a new home are 1. location 2. location and 3. location. It’s one of those jokes that might be funny, only because it’s all too accurate in a lot of regards. Obviously, there are a lot of factors that go into home selection, but location is usually one of the first factors in one’s decision. This factor is equally vital when choosing a data center site, especially if you're using the data center to provide services of your own, as is the case with a managed service provider (MSP).

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What is a Data Center?

A data center is a building, or a room in a building, used to house servers and hardware to support network connectivity and data storage enabling access for connected computers and devices. In an on-premises solution, the data center may be located in a room within a business, but for many who chose data center services, the facilities are located off-premise.

Off-premise solutions may offer colocation, which means they house the business’s hardware, but perform maintenance, security, and provide services. In addition, they may offer cloud services. Cloud services provide the full system and resources needed to run a network and provide connectivity to end user devices. In either setup, the data center provides security, accessibility, reliability, scalability and, often, technical support or assistance.

business man uses stylus to point to aspects of MSP businessWhy Does Data Center Location Matter for MSPs?

The role of a managed service provider is to provide outsourced IT management for businesses. This means that a business, which may be limited in its own IT resources, has a knowledgeable experienced advocate for their IT needs who can dedicate resources to identifying the best IT solutions for their business.

In turn, an MSP’s job is to find a data center partner that provides the level of service its clients need and demand. For that reason, location becomes vital as, first and foremost, it can determine connectivity and speed.

End users want speed. In fact, most mobile users will only wait 6-10 seconds for a page to load. Data needs time to travel, that’s just the reality. To travel, data also needs fiber optic cables. The best connectivity will be found in areas that have two interconnected situations, population centers and a variety of network providers. Obviously, the population center creates the demand, but a data center can and should leverage those two advantages. That advantage should then be passed on to the MSP, who passes it on to its clients.

Further, when it comes to risk mitigation and cost controls, data center location is also crucial. Whether it’s the potential for natural disaster, natural resource availability, or extreme temperatures that may add to cooling costs (which could be passed on to its clients), data centers should be considering all of the above, and therefore, MSPs should as well.

While there are certainly a number of advantages to having an MSP handle your IT services, the vetting and selection of a data center location is certainly among them.

Criteria for Choosing a Data Center Site for Your MSP

The data center a managed service provider chooses to partner with is among its most important business decisions. For that reason, there are several factors that should be part of the vetting process to ensure a data center that is prepared to deliver the service level an MSP and its clients require.

1. Location

Didn’t we just discuss this? Yes. But it cannot be stressed enough that an MSP wants to choose a data center that is located near its client and/or near its client’s customer base. Often one of the primary statistics touted by data centers is their uptime reliability. While downtime can certainly be costly in many ways and is crucial, slow time can be just as lethal for a business.

Downtime vs. slowtime is like the difference between popping a balloon and putting a pinprick in it to allow it to slowly deflate. In fact, e commerce applications and sites had carts abandoned 28% of the time due to slow response times. In multiple ways, the impact can be costly.

In addition to proximity, as noted above, environmental considerations are important as well. Environmental threats to your data center’s physical security, and thus the security of a managed service provider’s clients’ data, should be a key factor in choosing a data center partner.

2. Reliability

When a business entrusts you with one of its core components, like IT infrastructure, ensuring that the network and its services are available on demand is essential. For that reason, MSPs should be investigating a data center’s reliability. Truth be told, these days, most data centers include 99% uptime or more in their SLAs. Certainly calculating what downtime costs a business is important, but so is determining methods to improve that uptime.

However, reliability does, and should, go beyond uptime. It should also include redundancies, disaster plans, and security plans that employ risk mitigation strategies to support reliability.

motherboard with enclosed circle, shield, and checkbox denoting secure space3. Security

While some of a managed service provider’s role is ensuring their clients are utilizing necessary protocols regarding logical security, including updating anti-virus software and monitoring infrastructure, a solid data center partner should be contributing to a robust security framework.

While an MSP can help protect data and networks, they are reliant upon a data center to provide physical security and access control. Due diligence must be done when confirming that 

physical security standards meet those required by clients and restrict access to server rooms.

4. Capacity and Scalability

Neither an MSP nor its clients should be interested in a data center that isn’t prepared for growth, whether it’s their own, or the growth of their clients. In seeking a data center site, an MSP should consider whether that data center is prepared to grow itself, again in terms of physical and logical space.

As we’ve seen over the last year, demands shift, and can do so rapidly. Choosing a data center should, in part, depend on whether it is or will be prepared to meet those challenges with you. On demand, is your data center partner providing you with scalable resources so businesses can be agile?

How vXchnge's Data Center Locations are Right for You

When you’re looking for a partner for your MSP, you’ll want a data center that can deliver reliability, security, capacity, scalability, and proximity to your markets. vXchnge’s data centers are located in strategic growth markets, across the U.S., offering you access to the regions where your clients are and where their customers are, providing the kind of physical proximity that results in data speed.

Further, vXchnge offers:

  • 100% uptime SLA
  • Rapid provisions without long-term commitments
  • Extensive connectivity options
  • Zero trust security philosophy
  • N+1 redundancies for power and cooling
  • 24x7x365 remote hands technical assistance
  • 24x7x365 real-time infrastructure monitoring with award winning in\site application

In your search for a data center site, look no further. Get in touch with our team today to learn how we can partner with you, and your clients, for continued growth.

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