4 Considerations for Writing a Data Center Service Level Agreement

Are you trying to scale your business to support customers in new markets?

Is your company outgrowing its existing facilities?

There are many reasons why your enterprise might suddenly need to add data center capacity in an offsite location or even in multiple locations. When your company is looking to house some or all servers in a third-party’s data warehouse, ask your technology officer to write a data center service level agreement (SLA) in a joint partnership with the leading provider of space. The importance of this agreement is ensuring the colocation partner will empower your organization to maintain the level of business continuity services that your senior leadership expects. Since housing the company’s servers in a non-proprietary facility comes with unique risks, it’s important to hash out every detail before commencing any agreement. Even the most well-written data center service level agreements place a company at a significant dependence on the colocation provider, and, therefore, the degree of risk must be acceptable to your bottom line. All the financial aspects of the agreement could be considered locked down tight by the lawyers, but whose responsibility was what after a significant period of downtime occurred that hampered your organization’s operations and resulted in massive revenue losses would be anyone’s guess.

At Stratacore, we take our clients’ needs for reliable server virtualization, connectivity, and IT security seriously, and that’s why we’ve summarized 4 main points that should govern your negotiation process:

1. Look for a Tier 4 Classification to Maximize Uptime

Each data center belongs to a tier classification based on its ability to provide data center services. In general, companies should ensure that the provider can guarantee the desired level of predictability especially by not averaging more downtime than outlined in the agreement. Put simply, downtime is when your company’s servers would not be available, which could significantly impact productivity in all facilities connected to that center. There are four categories when it comes to uptime:

  • Tier 1: 99.671% minimum uptime
  • Tier 2: 99.741% minimum uptime
  • Tier 3: 99.982% minimum uptime
  • Tier 4: 99.995% minimum uptime

The last group is Tier 4, where the big companies definitely want to focus, and it only allows for 0.2 hours of downtime per year.

2. Security

Your business servers must be housed in a secure data center, which could be located on the other side of the world, for example, in Switzerland. Everything that your internal technology workers will do to maintain its server-based applications is completed through virtualization, which means they don’t go to the servers themselves to conduct repairs. The same facility you choose for colocation may also house millions of servers of other large companies because the provider operates a vast facility.  

3. Data Center Tech Support

Your company wants to guarantee you can easily contact the data center’s onsite team in an emergency or when your servers suddenly go down. Without this level of access, it would be hard to troubleshoot the situation and get the servers up and running again. 

4. Facility Conditions

Maintaining your company’s many servers in a secure data center is not just about controlling who enters and leaves the building on a daily basis. There are also considerations such heating, cooling, electricity, ventilation, air filtration, and protection from the elements. If you think of a massive data center as a fortress, it should be hard to penetrate for everyone, but there is also a lot that could go wrong behind those closed doors if the provider doesn’t have it under control. Google operates a mega data center in Belgium that doesn’t even use cooled air, but the server facilities can get up to 95 degrees based on the outdoor temperature, which means that employees must leave the premises

When negotiating a data center service level agreement, a provider should clearly describe how it will keep all your business servers connected to secure applications so your employees can perform their jobs at maximum efficiency. If you need help with data center design, then Stratacore can help you every step of the way because we are the industry leader.  

For more details about identifying the best colocation services for your company, please contact us today.

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