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  1. #1
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    * Would you colo in a data center sight unseen?

    I'm amazed at what I've walked into over the years that calls itself a data center. If your vendor is Lowe's or Home depot to build your facility you may have a problem. I've had to pull so many servers over the years out of ghetto Colo. The problem is a lot of hosting companies trying to do it themselves and using low-grade infrastructure with several single points of failure and poor design.
    I see this happen quit a bit to overseas customers who are just buying the cheapest thing they can find then the power or network goes out for a few days. If you need a cabinet or more it should not be hard to find a good facility sigh unseen. Single server Colo can be tricky because the big guys don't do it and finding a good company under them can be hard. I'd ask the bigger facility who they would recommend if you need less than a rack.
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  2. #2
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    I would consider going with a facility without actually seeing it in person, but I do extensive research before I buy anything. I'd probably talk to at least 2 or 3 people who have been with the company and seen the facility anyway.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastPCNet View Post
    The problem is a lot of hosting companies trying to do it themselves and using low-grade infrastructure with several single points of failure and poor design.
    There are a number of companies out there who offer colocation as an afterthought, usually tacked on to web-hosting, VPS, or managed services, and those are the places I'd avoid unless you can check out the infrastructure yourself. Still, there are plenty of colocation providers who operate reliable data centers and have experience servicing customers who they'll never meet and who will never visit the data center in person. Talk to a potential provider and see where their focus is.

  4. #4
    If you are just colocating a few servers on a per u basis, probably can get enough info from forums. If it is an installation which requires a real infrastructure with tier 2 and above facility, best to go have a look. Its easy to put up pictures and words, but the actual facility speaks for itself. Particularly if you have your entire business running on servers that this facility will support. My 2cents worth.

  5. #5
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    yes I totally agree, infact i have seen a "facility" which was 90% made from stuff purchased on craigslist. The owner was proud to say " why buy a $1300 cabinet when u can get it for $50 from craigslist" and it was a fancy multicolored facility with no 2 things a like not even cable colors.

    me jaw dropped.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildhorseharry View Post
    If you are just colocating a few servers on a per u basis, probably can get enough info from forums. If it is an installation which requires a real infrastructure with tier 2 and above facility, best to go have a look. Its easy to put up pictures and words, but the actual facility speaks for itself. Particularly if you have your entire business running on servers that this facility will support. My 2cents worth.
    I'd agree with this. Even pictures can be misleading. I went to look at a 3 bedroom house for sale that I was in love with on the Internet, until I saw it in person. If a picture was worth 1000 words, seeing it in person is worth 100,000.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by dbuyer0 View Post
    If a picture was worth 1000 words, seeing it in person is worth 100,000.
    Amen. Unless the reputation of the colo and occupants speak for themselves. If at all possible, I'd still want to see it, though.

  8. #8
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    I have had many people over the years ask right out if we were a kid in a basement hosting server. It is hard to know who to trust sight unseen. All can say is do a little research and ask question.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by samb0057 View Post
    I would consider going with a facility without actually seeing it in person, but I do extensive research before I buy anything. I'd probably talk to at least 2 or 3 people who have been with the company and seen the facility anyway.
    Same here. I'd feel comfortable if I knew someone who had servers there and that I knew they would be candid to me with their experiences.

  10. #10
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    Just build it yourself. Then you get exactly what you want.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by WII-Aaron View Post
    Just build it yourself. Then you get exactly what you want.
    Agreed. All one needs is FIOS for their connection, maybe a backup cable and/or DSL line with some sort of failover config, a cheap UPS or two from BestBuy, any generic air conditioner and a pump action shotgun for security.

  12. #12
    Works for me. I personally prefer the auto loader. H
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbuyer0 View Post
    I'd agree with this. Even pictures can be misleading. I went to look at a 3 bedroom house for sale that I was in love with on the Internet, until I saw it in person. If a picture was worth 1000 words, seeing it in person is worth 100,000.
    The bigger problem is there is datacenters that lie about their pictures.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeltaAnime View Post
    The bigger problem is there is datacenters that lie about their pictures.

    Francisco
    Or will claim they are a Tier4 facility
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastPCNet View Post
    Or will claim they are a Tier4 facility
    Well, I know of one place that'll remain nameless that stole images off another datacenters site and claim it as their own because they don't like theirs.

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  16. #16
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    I know of one well known company who claims their facility is "secret" and won't show it to anyone. I'm thinking either a garage or a warehouse.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by FastPCNet View Post
    I'm amazed at what I've walked into over the years that calls itself a data center. If your vendor is Lowe's or Home depot to build your facility you may have a problem. I've had to pull so many servers over the years out of ghetto Colo. The problem is a lot of hosting companies trying to do it themselves and using low-grade infrastructure with several single points of failure and poor design.
    I see this happen quit a bit to overseas customers who are just buying the cheapest thing they can find then the power or network goes out for a few days. If you need a cabinet or more it should not be hard to find a good facility sigh unseen. Single server Colo can be tricky because the big guys don't do it and finding a good company under them can be hard. I'd ask the bigger facility who they would recommend if you need less than a rack.
    I hear ya. I have worked in many data centers over the last 12 years and I tend to find that crap is the rule, not the exception. It is surprising when I find a data center that "does it right". CoreSite, so far, has done it right. All my gear is located in their Los Angeles site and I've had no problems. I used to have some stuff in XO's data center in Los Angeles, and OMFG, problem after problem.

    To answer your topic's question, I would never colocate gear in a data center without first having a full tour. I'll fly out there if I have to. The flight will be a whole lot cheaper than picking a bad data center
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrycc View Post
    I used to have some stuff in XO's data center in Los Angeles, and OMFG, problem after problem.
    You must be referring to 600 W. 7th, Suite 300. From what I remember, circa 2004:

    - XO has no staff on site, the facility is run by another well known local company.

    - On a similar note, their emergency contact listed with Digital Realty Trust does not answer the phone.

    - Loops to Equinix take many months to complete and often involve the aforementioned local company having to go into their cage to repair improperly run loops. The legality of this is also questionable.

    - Power takes many months to run, if it gets done at all.

    - XO tried to sell us 6 cabinets there in 2006. We took them up on the deal, so they ran the bundled transit but with no power to the cabinets. The power never happened and they think that we owe them some astronomical fee now.

    - The facility has no raised flooring, no cameras, and at one point every single key opened every single cabinet.

    - Limited lighting, place looks like a dungeon.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by IRCCo Jeff View Post
    You must be referring to 600 W. 7th, Suite 300. From what I remember, circa 2004:

    - XO has no staff on site, the facility is run by another well known local company.

    - On a similar note, their emergency contact listed with Digital Realty Trust does not answer the phone.

    - Loops to Equinix take many months to complete and often involve the aforementioned local company having to go into their cage to repair improperly run loops. The legality of this is also questionable.

    - Power takes many months to run, if it gets done at all.

    - XO tried to sell us 6 cabinets there in 2006. We took them up on the deal, so they ran the bundled transit but with no power to the cabinets. The power never happened and they think that we owe them some astronomical fee now.

    - The facility has no raised flooring, no cameras, and at one point every single key opened every single cabinet.

    - Limited lighting, place looks like a dungeon.
    Holy crap, that sounds like one hell of a datacenter. Sign me up!

    [/sarcasm]

    I can't believe they get any customers having a DC like that.
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  20. #20
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    If I trust the operator and have dealt with them before (like Equinix, DuPont Fabros, etc.) I would be willing to use a facility site unseen, if I haven't, then absolutely no way.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Wall View Post
    Holy crap, that sounds like one hell of a datacenter. Sign me up!

    [/sarcasm]

    I can't believe they get any customers having a DC like that.
    It's cheap, people love it there.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by IRCCo Jeff View Post
    You must be referring to 600 W. 7th, Suite 300. From what I remember, circa 2004:
    You got it
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Wall View Post
    I can't believe they get any customers having a DC like that.
    Data centers come in all shapes and sizes. Not all of them are what you want for colocation.
    Last edited by michcolo; 02-14-2011 at 11:05 AM.

  24. #24
    If it's not possible to see the data center yourself, I would talk to a few reps and get a feel for it. But any reputable host should have/offer to send you a video tour, or photos at least to verify. And a rundown of their components. If it's cheaper to host long distance, not seeing the place itself doesn't seem like a good enough reason to rule it out.

  25. #25
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    I have used ~6 or so data centers in the 9 years total I've been involved with this industry. Of those 6, I've only ever made it to 2 of them. To take the plunge and go with a provider that you've never personally visited, you just have to do your due diligence. After you are satisfied with the provider, facility and support arrangements, you can make a good decision.. I know I have and I've never regretted any of the data centers I've chosen.

    With that said, I do plan on getting up to Chicago one of these days to visit Steadfast.
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  26. #26
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    I've collocated servers in five different data centers in the last 7 years. All of these I never visited before I made the decision to collocate with them.

    Of the 5 data centers I've used, I've visited two while I was deploying or moving servers into them. In the end they were exactly as expected.



    Doing your research goes a long way...

    As an example just looking at colo providers that have posted to this thread... I've never talked with Karl of steadfast, but I know a lot about their company... I'd easily collocate any equipment with them without ever visiting them.

    If I was renting a large cage/facility I would visit the datacenter even if I trusted them.
    Last edited by Jason K; 02-16-2011 at 06:00 AM.

  27. #27
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    When we initially started offering dedicated servers back in 2004, we bought a couple of full racks with a certain LA colo company that shall remain nameless. We had a number of problems that seemed like they might be facility-related but could never confirm, so we decided to drive down to LA and take a look. When we arrived, the temp in the datacenter was over 80 degrees, one of the main distribution switches was sitting on the floor fully connected, and the place looked like a war zone. We moved out about a month later, lesson learned.

    Now that we actually run our own datacenter, one thing that I've found is that so many people represent their facility as being more than what it is, it makes it tough to compete when you are honest about the capabilities and infrastructure of your facility. I see advertisements all the time for datacenters that claim to be Tier-IV, but in reality their infrastructure isn't even Tier-II. Unfortunately many colocation consumers aren't informed enough to be able to tell the difference and just assume that they are getting what is advertised, never realizing that they've just been sold a bill of goods. I guess that's a good reason to make sure that you either see the facility in person, or buy from a trustworthy source that won't tell you what you want to hear to get you in the door, only to find out later that you aren't getting what you thought.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay H View Post
    With that said, I do plan on getting up to Chicago one of these days to visit Steadfast.
    Please do, we'd love to show you around! If it helps convince you I can toss in beer, lunch, and/or dinner. :-)
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by KarlZimmer View Post
    I can toss in beer, lunch, and/or dinner. :-)
    Heck I'll come if you're handing out beer!

  30. #30
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    Typically what I like to do is get dedicated servers with a company first to see how they are and if that experience is positive then I send colo gear out there. Of course not all companies will do both so....
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