Project Platform Wizard for the Agent

Project Platform Wizard

Rack Type and Density

Rack type and density – Rack type and density refers to the colocation space and power requirements for your IT infrastructure. The colocation configurator tool with the Datacenters.com Project Platform allows for multifaceted configurations for simple to complex colocation space and power requirements. You can add a single rack, multiple racks with the same or different configurations and wholesale colocation private cages or suites based on your power requirements.

Colocation space – Start by entering a quantity (optional) and then select your colocation space from the drop down. Select “Unsure” if you are unsure as to how much colocation space you and skip ahead to the total power field. Providers can help you determine your colocation space requirements based on your total power requirements.

Most colocation providers offer standard 42U full cabinets/racks. Unit (U) specifies the vertical dimensions of the cabinet/rack and the number of servers that can be placed in that cabinet/rack. 1U is equal to 1.75″ and a 42U rack can house approximately 42 servers and related rack mounted IT hardware. Many providers do not offer colocation space in increments less than a full cabinet/rack. Some providers offer 1U, 2U, 4U, quarter rack, and half rack colocation space. These are considered retail colocation.

Wholesale colocation includes private cages and private suites. A private cage is a caged in area within a multi-tenant data center that is only accessible by the customer. A private suite is a separate suite or space within a multi-tenant data center.

Power circuit – Select your power circuit in the drop down. Power circuits are denoted by Amps (A) and Volts (V). Unsure which power circuit to select. If you are unsure which power circuit is the right option for your business, skip ahead to the total power field to specify your power requirements in kilowatts (kW) or megawatts (MW).

Make sure to consider single phase vs. three phase power options. Not all colocation providers and data center facilities offer three phase power options and this may limit the number of RFP responses you receive from the colocation providers you select.

Total power – Enter your total power requirements for your IT equipment and hardware in the total power field. Most hardware such as servers, routers and switches have voltage ranges and amps drawn per load on the faceplate of the infrastructure. It will also have maximum power output which is in watts (W). Add up all of your infrastructure to your total power requirements. Enter your total power requirements and make sure to select from kilowatts (kW) or megawatts (MW).

You can calculate the total power of the circuit by multiplying A x V to get Watts (W). Divide by 1,000 to get kilowatts (kW). For example, 30A/208V circuit will provide 6,240 Watts or 6.24 kW.

Single phase power – There are two power circuit options available for colocation – single phase and three phase. Single phase is a two wire Alternating Current (AC) power circuit. The two wires include one power wire and one neutral wire. Most data centers and colocation providers offer single phase power circuits.

Three phase power – There are two power circuit options available for colocation – single phase and three phase. Three phase power is a three or four wire Alternating Current (AC) power circuit. Three phase is ~15% more cost-effective in delivering power as single phase power. Therefore, three phase power delivers a higher power density in kilowatts (kW) at a lower cost.

Redundant circuits (A/B) – Check the box for A/B Redundant Power if you require a power circuit with redundant power. A/B or A+B power provides you with a primary and secondary power feed. This option offers two separate power systems for additional redundancy capabilities. Most colocation providers include A/B redundant power in their colocation pricing. However, customers may only use the A circuit or B circuit at a time. This does not provide you with additional power.

Shelving units – Check the box for Shelving Units if you require shelving units for non-rack mounted hardware. Most colocation providers offer standard 42U cabinets/racks with rack mounts to slide in your rack mounted servers, routers and switches. Shelving units are physical metal shelves that attach to standard cabinets/racks for customers that have tower servers or hardware that is not rack mountable.

PDU provided – Check the box for PDU Provided if you require a PDU with your colocation services. PDU stands for Power Distribution Unit. A PDU is a special power strip used to plug in servers, routers, switches and other hardware. Most data centers and colocation providers do not include PDUs with their colocation services. This is partially because there are many different types of PDU cables and plugs available.

Submetered power – Check the box for Submetered Power if you require submetered power for your cabinet/rack, private cage or suite. Submetered power is designed to provide accurate power consumption data on customer usage within a multi-tenant data center. Submetered power is rarely offered by retail colocation providers with the exception of wholesale customers with private cages or suites.

Load ramping – Check the box for Load Ramping if you will be increasing your power requirements in the near future. Load ramping is for customers that anticipate that their power utilization will ramp up or down. In other words, load ramping is for customers who’s power utilization varies significantly over time. Pricing for load ramping is variable and determined based on changes in your power demand. Most colocation providers do not offer load ramping as an option with retail colocation.

Deep racks – Check the box for Deep Racks if you require non-standard colocation cabinets/racks for your IT infrastructure. Standard depth colocation cabinets/racks are 37” deep. Deep racks have a depth greater than 42” and are used for special IT infrastructure such as servers. This is not common in most data centers and is not typically offered by colocation providers. This may be a special order rack/cabinet and may add to monthly charges.

Wide racks – Check the box for Wide Racks if you require non-standard colocation cabinets/racks for your IT infrastructure. Standard colocation cabinets/racks are 19” wide for rack rails and 23” wide for external width. Wide racks have a width greater than 24” and are used for special IT infrastructure such as servers. This is not common in most data centers and is not typically offered by colocation providers. This may be a special order rack/cabinet and may add to monthly charges.

Internet Connectivity

Interconnect – Select your Interconnect from the drop down. An interconnect, also referred to as connection type or access type, is used to connect IT infrastructure such as servers, routers, and switches to the internet or network via telecom carriers, ISPs and network providers through physical interconnections. Interconnects include physical links such as fiber, coax, copper, etc. that are installed and maintained by the colocation provider.

Specify any additional Interconnect requirements or questions in the comments section.

Bandwidth – Select your Bandwidth option from the drop down. Bandwidth refers to the maximum amount of data that can be transmitted over an Internet connection. In most applications, bandwidth is measured in Megabits per second (Mbps) or Gigabits per second (Gbps). Select your bandwidth option from the drop down for your base-sustained bandwidth requirement which is the average daily traffic with room to handle slightly higher volumes.

Specify any additional Bandwidth Requirements or questions in the comments section.

Preferred provider – Select your Preferred Provider from the drop down. Preferred providers are telecom carriers, ISPs and network provider preferences you have for connecting IT infrastructure such as servers, routers and switches to the internet or an existing network. This option is for customers that have an existing network and connectivity with a specific provider.

Most colocation providers and data center facilities are carrier-neutral which means they offer multiple carrier, ISP and network provider options. Most data centers offer five or more connectivity providers. Some internet exchanges (IX) offer hundreds of providers for internet, network and cloud direct connects.

Most colocation data centers offer access to five or more connectivity providers. Colocation and data center facilities located within an Internet Exchanges (IX) may offer hundreds of providers for internet connectivity, network or cloud direct connects.

Specify any additional Preferred Provider requirements or questions in the comments section.

Burstable – Check the box for Burstable if you require a burstable bandwidth option. Burstable specifies additional bandwidth on-demand is required when network traffic hits the limits of the dedicated bandwidth. Burstable (sometimes called a fractional commit) provides additional capacity to handle the high data volume. An examples includes dedicated bandwidth of 100Mbps that is burstable to 1Gbps.

Specify any additional Dedicated or Burstable Bandwidth requirements in the comments section.

Managed firewall – Check the box for Managed Firewall if you require the colocation provider to provide a managed firewall with your colocation service. Selecting a managed firewall or firewall appliance helps to protect IT infrastructure such as servers, routers and switches as well as data and applications from vulnerabilities and attacks. Managed firewalls can protect against intrusions, web filtering, anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-adware plus IPSec VPN for encryption.

Specify any additional Managed Firewall requirements in the comments section.

IPv4 addresses – Check the box for IPv4 Addresses if you require IPv4 addresses with your colocation services. Most colocation providers offer at least one IPv4 address with their colocation services. Many customers require multiple IPv4 addresses while some may require hundreds. For example, you may require 16 IPv4s for a half rack, and 32 IPv4s for a full cabinet/rack.

Specify any additional IPv4 requirements or questions in the comments section. IPv4 addresses have limited availability compared to IPv6 addresses. Customers may also be required to make a business or use case for obtaining a large number of IPv4 addresses.

IPv6 addresses – Check the box for IPv6 Addresses if you require IPv6 addresses with your colocation services. Most colocation providers offer one or more IPv6 addresses with their colocation services. IPv6 addresses have greater availability than IPv4 addresses and are therefore easier to obtain than IPv4 addresses.

Specify any additional IPv6 requirements or questions in the comments section. Customers may also be required to make a business or use case for obtaining a large number of IPv6 addresses.

Cross Connects

Cross connects – In this section, you will be specifying your cross connect requirements. Cross connects provide high-performance, dedicated connectivity to telecom carriers, ISPs and network providers within the data center facility to the meet me room (MMR). Cross connects may also be used to connect one or more colocation cabinets/racks to another cabinet/rack in a different location within a data center.

Many colocation providers offer one or more cross connects with their colocation services. Additional cross connects are an additional cost and added to your monthly charges.

Interconnect – Select your Interconnect from the drop down. An interconnect, also referred to as connection type or access type, is used to connect IT infrastructure such as servers, routers, and switches to the internet or network via telecom carriers, ISPs and network providers through physical interconnections. Interconnects include physical links such as fiber, coax, copper, etc. that are installed and maintained by the colocation provider.

Preferred provider – Select your Preferred Provider from the drop down. Preferred providers are telecom carriers, ISPs and network provider preferences you have for connecting IT infrastructure such as servers, routers and switches to the internet or an existing network. This option is for customers that have an existing network and connectivity with a specific provider.

Most colocation providers and data center facilities are carrier-neutral which means they offer multiple carrier, ISP and network provider options. Most data centers offer five or more connectivity providers. Some internet exchanges (IX) offer hundreds of providers for internet, network and cloud direct connects.

Most data centers offer access to five or more connectivity providers. Colocation and data center facilities located within an Internet Exchanges (IX) may offer hundreds of providers for internet connectivity, network or cloud direct connects.

Cloud Direct Connects

Cloud direct connect – A cloud direct connect is a secure private connection between customer IT infrastructure such as servers, routers and switches in a data center to a public cloud service provider (CSP). With cloud direct connects, customers can connect their physical IT infrastructure in a colocation cabinet/rack to Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Compute Engine, Microsoft Azure, and more to decrease latency, increase security, and control costs.

Interconnect – Select your Interconnect from the drop down. An interconnect, also referred to as connection type or access type, is used to connect IT infrastructure such as servers, routers, and switches to the internet or network via telecom carriers, ISPs and network providers through physical interconnections. Interconnects include physical links such as fiber, coax, copper, etc. that are installed and maintained by the colocation provider.

Specify any additional Interconnect requirements or questions in the comments section.

Bandwidth – Select your Bandwidth option from the drop down. Bandwidth refers to the maximum amount of data that can be transmitted over an Internet connection. Bandwidth is measured in Megabits per second (Mbps) or Gigabits per second (Gbps). Select your bandwidth option from the drop down for your base-sustained bandwidth requirement which is the average daily traffic with room to handle slightly higher volumes.

Specify any additional Bandwidth requirements or questions in the comments section.

Cloud platform – Select your Cloud Platform from the drop down. Cloud Platform is a reference to the cloud service provider (CSP) you are connecting to directly from the colocation data center facility where your IT infrastructure is housed. Common cloud platforms include AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, Alibaba Cloud, Oracle Cloud, Salesforce, and many others.

Many colocation providers have cloud direct connect capabilities at select data center facilities. However, cloud direct connects to all providers may vary and may not be available in all of their colocation data center facilities.

Specify any additional Cloud Direct Connect requirements or questions in the comments section.

Burstable – Check the box for Burstable if you require a burstable bandwidth option. Burstable specifies additional bandwidth on-demand is required when network traffic hits the limits of the dedicated bandwidth. Burstable (sometimes called a fractional commit) provides additional capacity to handle the high data volume. An examples includes dedicated bandwidth of 100Mbps that is burstable to 1Gbps.

Specify any additional Dedicated or Burstable Bandwidth requirements in the comments section.

VPN – Check the box for VPN if you require a VPN to be included for your cloud direct connect. Virtual private network, referred to as VPN, provides an IPsec-encrypted private connection that reduces network costs, increases bandwidth throughput, and provides additional layers of security for users accessing the network.

Point to Point – Check the box for Point to Point if you require a Point to Point connection to be included for your cloud direct connect. Point to point, referred to as private line, delivers high-performance, secure connections between two sites. Point to point services are ideal for mission-critical, sensitive data applications. Point to points are perfect for latency-intolerant applications. They also allow customers to maximize application performance by assigning a higher transmission priority to the most important workflows and applications with its Class of Service (CoS) functionality.

Specify any Point to Point requirements or questions in the comments section.

MPLS – Check the box for MPLS if you require MPLS to be included for your cloud direct connect. Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is a routing technology and telecommunications network service that directs data from one node to the next based on short path labels rather than long network addresses, thus avoiding complex lookups in a routing table and speeding traffic flows. MPLS offers VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), traffic engineering (TE) and Quality of Service (QoS).

Specify any MPLS requirements or questions in the comments section.

SD-WAN – Check the box for SD-WAN if you require SD-WAN to be included for your cloud direct connect. Software Defined - Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is a virtual WAN architecture that allows enterprises to leverage any combination of transport services including MPLS, LTE and broadband internet services to securely connect users to networks and applications.

SD-WAN uses a centralized control function to securely and intelligently direct traffic across the WAN. This increases application performance, resulting in enhanced user experience, increased business productivity and reduced costs for IT.

Certification and Compliance Requirements

When selecting a colocation provider or data center facility, it’s important to carefully review industry certifications and regulatory compliance details to help make your buying decision. Use this section of the Datacenters.com Project Platform to specify your certification and compliance requirements for the provider and or data center facility. Here is a partial list of the most recognizable certification and compliance standards for the data center industry.

HIPAA – Mandated by the U.S. Health and Human Services Dept., the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 specifies laws to secure protected health information (PHI), or patient health data (medical records). When it comes to data centers, a hosting provider needs to meet HIPAA compliance in order to ensure sensitive patient information is protected. A HIPAA audit conducted by an independent auditor against the OCR HIPAA Audit Protocol can provide a documented report to prove a data center operator has the proper policies and procedures in place to provide HIPAA hosting solutions.

No other audit or report can provide evidence of full HIPAA compliance.

PCI-DSS – PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) ensures the safe handling of sensitive information and is intended to help organizations proactively protect customer account data. For providers that don’t monitor or have access to customer data, applicability is restricted to physical security access to customer equipment through a combination of management systems and physical access safeguards and procedures.

FedRAMP – Provides a cost-effective, risk-based approach for the adoption and use of cloud services by making available to executive departments and agencies: Standardized security requirements for the authorization and ongoing cybersecurity of cloud services for selected information system impact levels; A conformity assessment program capable of producing consistent independent, third-party assessments of security controls implemented by Cloud Service Providers (CSPs); Authorization packages of cloud services reviewed by a Joint Authorization Board (JAB) consisting of security experts from the DHS, DOD, and GSA; Standardized contract language to help executive departments and agencies integrate FedRAMP requirements and best practices into acquisition; and A repository of authorization packages for cloud services that can be leveraged government-wide.

FedRAMP supports the U.S. government’s mandate that all U.S. federal information systems comply with the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA).

SOC 1 – The first of three new Service Organization Controls reports developed by the AICPA, this report measures the controls of a data center as relevant to financial reporting. It is essentially the same as a SSAE 16 audit.

SOC 1 Type 1 – A data center’s description and assertion of controls, as reported by the company.

SOC 1 Type 2 – Auditors test the accuracy of the controls and the implementation and effectiveness of controls over a specified period of time.

SOC 2 – Measures controls specifically related to IT and data center service providers. The five controls are security, availability, processing integrity (ensuring system accuracy, completion and authorization), confidentiality and privacy.

SOC 2 Type 1 – A data center’s description and assertion of controls, as reported by the company.

SOC 2 Type 2 – Auditors test the accuracy of the controls and the implementation and effectiveness of controls over a specified period of time.

SOC 3 – This report includes the auditor’s opinion of SOC 2 components with an additional seal of approval to be used on websites and other documents. The report is less detailed and technical than a SOC 2 report.

FISMA – Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). United States legislation that defines a comprehensive framework to protect government information, operations and assets against natural or man-made threats. FISMA was signed into law part of the Electronic Government Act of 2002.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) outlines nine steps toward compliance with FISMA: Categorize the information to be protected; Select minimum baseline controls; Refine controls using a risk assessment procedure; Document the controls in the system security plan; Implement security controls in appropriate information systems; Assess the effectiveness of the security controls once they have been implemented; Determine agency-level risk to the mission or business case; Authorize the information system for processing and Monitor the security.

SSAE-16 – Audit measuring the controls relevant to financial reporting. Like SAS 70, the SSAE 16 standard focuses on guidance for auditors assessing financial statement controls at service organizations. This is the basis of the SOC 1 report. The SOC 2 and SOC 3 reports both look at a service organization’s controls relevant to the security, availability, or processing integrity of a service organization’s system or the privacy or confidentiality of the information the system processes.

Data Center Features

Data center features are in a lot of ways similar to amenities offered by a hotel. They can be as differentiation factors or selling points that set the colocation provider and or data center facility apart from their competition. Here are some of the most requested features requested by customers of potential colocation providers and or data center facilities.

Remote Hands –A service offered by colocation providers for the delegation of IT management and maintenance tasks to onsite facility technicians hired by the provider. This allows the colocation customer to focus on internal tasks and avoid sending technical resources to the data center for basic tasks. This is different than managed services or managed colocation.

Managed Services – Most colocation providers do not offer managed services or managed colocation options. Managed services often include a dedicated support team for monitoring and management of the IT infrastructure such as servers, routers and switches as well as the network, applications and operating systems (OS).

Onsite Parking – Free parking within the confines of the data center or within close proximity to the facility. Includes parking garages and parking lots.

Break Room – Most colocation facilities and data centers offer break rooms include tables and chairs, a refrigerator and freezer, microwave, coffee maker, dishware and silverware, etc.

Loaner Tools – Onsite tools loaned to customers for hardware maintenance or failure. Most colocation providers and data center facilities offer free loaner tools to fix common hardware issues.

Crash Carts – A piece of console furniture equipped with a monitor, keyboards and numerous cables which can be connected to a server or other IT infrastructure for diagnosis and troubleshooting.

Roof Rights – Provided customer access to the data center roof for the installation of antennas and/or masts. Customers are then able to connect equipment installed on the roof to their colocation environment or the data center meet me room (MMR).

Staging Area – Designated area within the data center facility where customers can organize and build their IT infrastructure such as servers, routers and switches.

Secure Storage – Designated area within the data center facility where customers can ship their IT infrastructure to for safe keeping while waiting for installation. Secure storage spaces often have locked cages and administrative personnel responsible for checking in and out customer shipments.

Last Updated: February 10, 2020
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