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  1. #1
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    Question Carrier Neutral COLO vs Other

    As we continue to research and get bids for COLO Options, I was wondering why some are carrier neutral and others are not. It seems those who are carrier neutral uses this as a bullet point or sell point versus other competition. So I am just curious on some feedback as to one over the other.

    More importantly I'd like to know, the advantage to this?

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  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    Like LoginTech mentioned, a carrier neutral data center will allow you to order circuits and bandwidth from any other carrier. Some carrier neutral facilites also provide IP bandwidth on their own network, so you might not want to order bandwidth from a third party carrier even if it's an option. Being in a carrier neutral facility just gives you more options and, since there is more competition, lower bandwidth prices.

  4. #4
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    The thing to keep in mind, some places are "carrier neutral" but only have say, 2-3 actual carriers you can access, they then offer to sell you transport services to another location where the "50+" carriers they advertise are available. Granted, thats *if* they want to sell you the transport.

    Always make sure that if you are going into a neutral facility that it truely is and that the carriers are actually there.

  5. #5
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    Working on a deal right now with phoenix nap for space & roof rights and colo@ for bandwidth. There are tons of options at phoenixnap but for my needed commit level this was the best option. If i needed a full 100mb, then HE would have been cheaper. More options the better in my opinion

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amanah-Sales View Post
    As the others have mentioned, Carrier Neutral is all about choice. It allows you to pick the transit or transport that best fits your needs. Also if you have a dispute with a carrier, or are unhappy with the service, switching is an easy process (assuming your out of contract etc).

    Always enquire as to the specifics though, such as cross connect rates or transport to reach the carriers if they aren't onsite etc. Always need to look at the overall cost of an external carrier + cross connect, or the inhouse blend with no cross connect if its available.
    Yea, get quotes, cross-connect fees vary greatly. At our PHX-1 pop in I/O PhoenixOne they're free no matter the type (good lord that's a huge perk). But in say Comfluent Denver (which is full) they're *very* expensive.

  7. #7
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    To me carrier neutral isn't simply that they allow you to connect to other carriers, but they do so fairly, in a neutral manner.

    At 350 E Cermak, technically Qwest is carrier neutral by Logintech's definition, but last I checked they won't let you connect to another carrier directly in their space, force everything down through the building MMR at nearly $1k a month per pop, and drag their feet on getting you that fiber. They've also indicated we need transit or other network services with them in order to get space. Yes, you can get connections to other providers, but not easily. To me, that is not carrier neutral, they are pushing their own product and making it prohibitive to use others. This is certainly better than not letting you connect to other carriers at all, as is the case in some facilities, but also not neutral.

    On the other hand, you have Equinix or DuPont Fabros, who do not even provide network services themselves. You need to select a network provider, and they're entirely neutral as to who you pick and you can reach one on-net carrier just as easily as the others. THAT is carrier neutral.

    Now, my question on the definition comes with a company like my own. We make it easy and simple to connect to other carriers, give cross connects at no monthly charge to other networks/carriers inside our space, and access to both the MMR and Equinix. The thing is, we have our own network product, that is our preference and is always available with no cross connect fee. As we preference our own network products, I don't feel we're truly carrier neutral, though the definitions of others would make us carrier neutral.

    Now, as to whether you need carrier neutral or not, that depends on your definition. It can often be cheapest to just go with a facility and get the network from them, but it is always nice to have other networks available and to have those options, for latency, reliability, and sometimes even cost reasons. My opinion is that you don't want to tie yourself down to one provider or one option, keep your options open. As long as the provider allows that, you should be good.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by KarlZimmer View Post
    Now, as to whether you need carrier neutral or not, that depends on your definition. It can often be cheapest to just go with a facility and get the network from them, but it is always nice to have other networks available and to have those options, for latency, reliability, and sometimes even cost reasons. My opinion is that you don't want to tie yourself down to one provider or one option, keep your options open. As long as the provider allows that, you should be good.
    Great post fine sire.

    We have been looking at Xeex over in LA. I do not believe off the top of my head they are carrier neutral (after seeing so many quotes, they all start to blend together).

    One thing I DID like about them is they did not nickel and dime you. They actually offered us up a KVM at no fee, a router rental, we could send our hardware to them and THEY would rack and stack it for no initial cost. Saving us the time of hiring someone or cost of flying someone out the Cali.

    While their electricity and what not was a bit more pricey. There were a number of other perks they were willing to throw in to get the business. Especially considering our growth.

    We were looking at doing 2-3 COLO's this year. Starting with a half rack, and building up from there. A couple of boxes per time migrating our existing dedi onto our own networks.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by RyanD View Post
    The thing to keep in mind, some places are "carrier neutral" but only have say, 2-3 actual carriers you can access, they then offer to sell you transport services to another location where the "50+" carriers they advertise are available. Granted, thats *if* they want to sell you the transport.

    Always make sure that if you are going into a neutral facility that it truely is and that the carriers are actually there.
    Definitely agree with this. What good is carrier nuetral if you can't easily get to other carriers?

    Sometimes carrier nuetral isn't really going to matter to you. If the facility has a good bandwidth blend at a good price, that can be more valuable. If you want to run your own network with multiple carriers, then you definitely want something carrier nuetral, but the added hassle and expense of doing this means it doesn't make sense for a lot of customers, and there would be little advantage of nuetral vs non-nuetral.

    So overall, it all depends what you need.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barefootsies View Post
    Great post fine sire.
    Yes, well said Karl.

  11. #11
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    I agree with nearly all of what Karl said. The true definition of 'carrier neutral' really is somewhat subjective. To further complicate things, just because a facility is carrier neutral by one definition or another, doesn't necessarily mean that it's better for your particular situation. For example, Equinix is pretty much held out as the standard for being carrier neutral. You pay a cross connect fee and can connect to anyone in the facility. However, if your connectivity needs are small, the cross connect charges levied by Equinix make it impractical to host there. To add to that, many larger providers either won't deal with small customers at all or charge significantly higher rates. So in that instance, carrier neutral might not serve your needs best. You really need to evaluate each offer on it's own merits and decide what factors are most important to you - being in a "true" carrier neutral facility, or being in a facility where you can get the level of access and connectivity you need, at a price that works for you. For most people, I think the latter will make more sense.

    We offer a very similar service to what Steadfast does - our customers can cross-connect to anyone that has a presence in our facility, or we'll even help them arrange transport to a provider that isn't on-net if we can. Some of our larger customers choose to go this route, because the economy of scale they are able to get by dealing directly with their provider(s) of choice make sense. We also offer our own bandwidth product that is utilized by most of our small and mid-size customers, as well as some of our larger ones. For those customers, the added redundancy and convenience they gain by using our in-house bandwidth makes sense to them. Getting to the point, even though we offer our own bandwidth product, I still consider our facility to be carrier neutral in nature, since we offer every option we can to our clients, and let them choose based on what will work best for them. At the end of the day, that's what being in a carrier-neutral facility is all about - choice.
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  12. #12
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    Great feed back. This brings up some good Q&A for narrowing search down even more when looking for long term COLO's for us.

    Bravo.
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  13. #13
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    I've noticed that carrier neutral facilities often charge twice as much for their cabinets plus other charges such as cross connects. Typically in a private or carrier facility cabinet pricing is much much lower and inter-facility cabling is free or low cost.

    This is because a carrier neutral facility only has revenue coming from these sales where a carrier or private facility also makes money off of the IP services. Overall, you could say that there are more fingers in the pie with a neutral facility.
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by RSanders View Post
    I've noticed that carrier neutral facilities often charge twice as much for their cabinets plus other charges such as cross connects. Typically in a private or carrier facility cabinet pricing is much much lower and inter-facility cabling is free or low cost.

    This is because a carrier neutral facility only has revenue coming from these sales where a carrier or private facility also makes money off of the IP services. Overall, you could say that there are more fingers in the pie with a neutral facility.
    Certainly in general this is true, although there are exceptions. Of course you have to measure everything apples to apples. It's hard to compare two options that are different options at a different price. The decision becomes much easier if you get something different at the same price, or you get something that's the same but at different prices, but that can be hard to come by.
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  15. #15
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    The general agreement would be choice of providers.
    I've noticed in some smaller remote facilities,
    that are tagged to a particular ISP.

    Yes, the bandwidth is cheaper, but the option may only be them and not others.
    Eventually they are back-hauled somehow to a major PoP.
    If, that's the case. It's in the best interest of anyone shopping.
    To check for peers, IP routes, redundancy etc.

    In my area, some places are a straight route from SF to Seattle, and totally skipping Portland all together.
    Or, they are connected very well up until Seattle as the end point
    In the long run, your needs may or may not change.
    And if you are colo'd in a private facility. Just hope that management has plans for future peering etc.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RSanders View Post
    I've noticed that carrier neutral facilities often charge twice as much for their cabinets plus other charges such as cross connects. Typically in a private or carrier facility cabinet pricing is much much lower and inter-facility cabling is free or low cost.

    This is because a carrier neutral facility only has revenue coming from these sales where a carrier or private facility also makes money off of the IP services. Overall, you could say that there are more fingers in the pie with a neutral facility.
    Typically carrier neutral facilities tend to be built better, whereas carrier facilities are normally more of a legacy breed, older infrastructure. This is one reason cabinet and power costs can be lower at a carrier facility, the other is as you mentioned -- they get to double dip on the bandwidth portion as well. I recently saw a quote from an old client looking to match his new XO bill -- doing the math on the cabinet space they did not even take into account the cooling overhead. It was maybe, MAYBE, enough MRC to cover the metered power usage from the utility....
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  17. #17
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    One interesting thing I did not think about until was on the phone with another COLO was being a MULTI-HOMED, carrier neutral facility.
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  18. #18
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    I'm with Karl on this one. You should consider a carrier neutral facility that is not owned or operated by any provider of bandwidth services. In 600 W 7th, LA we've been at XO, Peer1, and now TelX and only TelX allows us to quickly cross connect to outside carriers through the MMA. We can with Peer1 as well, but we had to have this added to our contract and it was a huge pain.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barefootsies View Post
    One interesting thing I did not think about until was on the phone with another COLO was being a MULTI-HOMED, carrier neutral facility.
    If you only have access to one carrier I don't see how you're carrier neutral, as that carrier certainly is preferred over all others, since they're the only one on-site.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by KarlZimmer View Post
    If you only have access to one carrier I don't see how you're carrier neutral, as that carrier certainly is preferred over all others, since they're the only one on-site.
    I suppose you could claim carrier neutrality by allowing other carriers to build to your data center, even if they haven't done so. Being carrier neutral and offering many carrier options are two separate ideas. I think your above point is true and it may be a little disingenuous to offer carrier neutrality as a sales point if there's just one carrier.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by KarlZimmer View Post
    If you only have access to one carrier I don't see how you're carrier neutral, as that carrier certainly is preferred over all others, since they're the only one on-site.
    InfoRelay is a multi-homed provider, who also has infrastructure inside of carrier neutral data centers. We would allow our clients to cross connect to whoever else is available at the data center - I believe that is what he is referring to.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by kdebs View Post
    I suppose you could claim carrier neutrality by allowing other carriers to build to your data center, even if they haven't done so. Being carrier neutral and offering many carrier options are two separate ideas. I think your above point is true and it may be a little disingenuous to offer carrier neutrality as a sales point if there's just one carrier.
    True dat.

    I've heard that warning as well when reviewing DC's. Some claiming carrier neutrality but only offer one real choice.
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