Why Data Center Location Matters

Data center location should always be a top priority for customers. Choosing a data center in an optimal location not only provides immediate advantages, it also prevents major headaches down the road. 123Net carefully handpicked an ideal environment for each of its four Michigan data centers.

Network Speed

While people may think that bandwidth is the only factor determining speed, that’s not the case. The physical distance from a data center to an application can significantly affect network latency. For this reason, many companies, such as healthcare companies, are seeking data centers local to their office space. These companies are gaining a clear edge over the competition due to the speed advantage lower network latency provides. While it could be less expensive to collocate further away, it is often not worth sacrificing speed.

Natural Disasters

Businesses that collocate in areas prone to natural disasters are playing with fire. Events such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes can cause critical power outages, leading to crippling downtime. If the best data center option happens to be in a disaster-prone area, consider selecting a backup data center at a safer location, preferably on a different power grid.

Accessibility

Data center space should be in an area that is comfortable to reach. Personnel may need to travel to the data center to make upgrades and service equipment. If a data center is out of driving distance, consider the logistics of transporting personnel and equipment through the air.

Connections

Businesses can take advantage of data center connectivity by creating multiple channels that will keep data moving freely despite outages. This makes data centers in well-connected areas safer and more reliable. It also gives businesses more room for growth, as they can easily make plenty of connections within the data center itself.

123Net’s three Southfield data center facilities have a superior location. They have access to more than 20 carriers, are in low-risk southeastern Michigan and close to thousands of Metro Detroit businesses. 123Net also has secure, easily accessible data center space in Grand Rapids that makes for premier primary or backup colocation space. Learn more about the strategic advantages you can gain from data center location or to schedule a tour of our data centers, visit: https://www.123.net/data-center/

7 Essential Considerations for Choosing Your Business Internet Service Provider

When it comes to choosing an Internet service provider (ISP), there are a lot of options out there. So how do you know you’re making the right choice? In this blog, we’ll take a look at the 7 most essential considerations for choosing your business ISP.

1. Need for Speed:

Bandwidth needs come down to what your business does. If your business runs small programs and emailing, you probably won’t need much. If your employees send large files and graphics, you’ll probably need a bit more. If you have a lot of employees online at once, or if you do a lot of streaming, video conferencing, or cloud computing, you’ll likely need more still. It can be tricky to know exactly what your business needs, but our Account Executives are happy to help. For more information about meeting your business’s speed needs, contact us.

2. Support Availability:

You know your business best, so find an Internet service provider that’s available when you need them, whether that’s around-the-clock, or during “normal” business hours. It’s also important to consider how you’re able to get ahold of them. Do they use an automated system, take phone calls, or accept support tickets? Make sure your ISP communicates in a way that works for you and your business.

3. Fine Print:

What Service Level Agreements (SLAs) do they offer? If you need 99.9% uptime, will they promise it? ISP’s that don’t guarantee uptime can leave you stranded for days while your business loses money and even customers. Choosing an ISP with a high SLA leaves your business in better standing should anything happen. It’s also important to consider what contract lengths they offer and the pricing discounts that may come along with longer contracts.

4. Bundling:

It’s far easier to work with one vendor than three or four. Many ISPs also offer other services, such as Voice or Data Center. When you bundle multiple services with your Internet service provider, you’re often able to get discounts. Billing and support are also easier, as you only work with one company.

5. Location:

It’s important to consider what types of connections an ISP offers in your area, such as Ethernet over Copper (EoC), Fixed Wireless, or Fiber. Each of these offer potentially different speeds and deployments. Knowing that customer support is based locally is also a consideration. When support teams service their local areas, they’re working with the business that are in their own backyard. Personal relationships with their customers lead to a more engaged level of care. A local support team also knows the area better and is more likely to be in-the-know about events that may impact service, such as inclement weather.

6. Timing:

Various connection types may also impact install time. High bandwidth Fiber may take longer to deploy, but it can reach much higher speeds than other options. Fixed Wireless, on the other hand, can be deployed in as little as a couple days. Choose an ISP that can meet your time table. If you need Fiber, but need Internet access quickly, you may want to look into providers that offer both Fiber and Fixed Wireless. While you wait for the Fiber to be built out, utilize the Fixed Wireless connection short-term. You may even consider keeping your Fixed Wireless as a back-up for Fiber going forward.

7. Security:

Keeping your business’s network secure protects your information, along with your customers’ information. Your ISP should be as devoted to your security as you are, if not even more.

How Does 123Net Compare?

We’re committed to providing the best possible service to our customers. With our Dedicated Internet, we have options that provide symmetrical speeds up to 100 Gbps, making sure you have the bandwidth you need to cover any business application. Our Ethernet Private Line keeps your traffic on your connections, and off the public Internet, so it stays safe and secure. All of our services come with a 99.99% SLA. Our Support Team is available 24/7/365 to handle your questions and concerns, and work in the same offices as the rest of our teams, so we’re always connected to what’s going on with your circuits. Our Fixed Wireless can be deployed in as little as couple days. It’s a great interim solution while waiting for Fiber and offers a reliable secondary connection for added redundancy. To learn more about our services, visit: https://www.123.net/business-solutions/

Data Center Tiers: Which Classification Is Right for Your Server?

All data centers serve the same general purpose; however, they are not created equal. Uptime Institute created a Tier Classification System to set industry standards and help consumers determine which data centers are the best choice for their business’s needs.

Uptime Institute’s Tier System ranges from the most basic Tier I data centers to the most advanced Tier IV. Each Tier increases the redundant components utilized within the data center, making them better able to manage high-density computing and industry-leading uptime.

Tier I: These data centers offer the underlying needs of all data centers. These components include dedicated space, uninterruptable power supply (UPS) systems, dedicated cooling, and engine generators. Momentary outages can be managed well, and Tier I data centers are ideal for smaller businesses that can afford downtime. Larger businesses that need more stable uptimes will likely want to continue down the list.

Tier II: The basic requirements of Tier I data centers are built upon in Tier II. Here, we find some redundant measures added, such as additional power and cooling equipment (UPS modules, chillers or pumps, extra generators, etc.) These open the door for maintenance to be performed, or for unforeseen IT issues to occur, with less disruption to customer processes.

Tier III: As we move into the latter half of the Tiers, data centers become heartier. In Tier III data centers, there’s no need to shut down for maintenance or equipment replacement. The redundancy of Tier II data centers is further built upon with extra paths for power and cooling to each component needed to support the IT processing environment. Larger businesses that cannot afford excessive downtime may want to start their data center searches at this Tier.

Tier IV: The top Tier in the Classification system includes Fault Tolerance, or the ability for individual equipment failure or path distribution interruptions to occur without affecting IT operations. This concept is ideal for large businesses who cannot afford any downtime.

At the end of the day, no single Tier of data center is “the best.” As we move up the Tier ladder, the costs and challenges of maintaining the data center increase, as do the intricacies of the controls put in place to maintain uptime. The Tier required for a data center will vary depending on the needs of the business, so it’s important to carefully consider what your business requires.

123Net provides premier colocation space for Michigan businesses. Our data centers are classified as Tier III, offer a 100 percent power uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA), and are trusted by over a dozen Fortune 500 companies. To learn more about 123Net, or to schedule a data center tour, visit https://www.123.net/data-center/

Data Center Redundancy: 2N, N+1, 2(N+1) Explained

Maintaining 100 percent uptime should be a top priority for every data center. If data centers experience power outages, customers can lose thousands of dollars for every second they are down. 123Net heavily invests in 2(N+1) redundant data center infrastructure to protect customers from losses.

What Does Redundancy Mean in Data Centers?
When data center providers advertise their facilities’ redundancy, they are referring to the amount of backup power available. If utility failures occur due to severe weather, equipment failure or powerline damage, data centers with more redundant power will be better equipped to avoid costly periods of downtime.

Most data centers have systems in place to cut the risk of downtime. These systems can be categorized into N+1, 2N, and 2(N+1).

What is N+1?
A simplified way to look at N+1 is if you were ordering bagels for an office breakfast. There are 20 people working in your office and you decide to order one more bagel than needed, just in case. “N” would represent the exact number of bagels you need (20), while the extra bagel is the “+1”. You would be showing up to work with N+1 or 21 bagels.

Applying this to data centers, “N” could stand for the number of uninterruptible power supply (UPS) modules needed. The “+1” would be one more module than required. Having more power available than needed lowers the chance of downtime. Although N+1 is often called “parallel redundancy” these data centers are not fully redundant because they share common circuitry instead of being sourced from two separate fields.

What about 2N or 2(N+1)?
If you ordered bagels with a 2N mindset, you would order 20 bagels from one bagel shop and 20 more from another shop. The 2N would stand for two times, or double, “N”, the number of bagels you would need. If one of the bagel shop loses your order, you will still have enough.

For data centers, having 2N redundancy means you have twice the amount of equipment needed with no single point of failure. When extended power outages occur, 2N systems will be maintained without losing power to subsequent systems.

If a data center offers 2(N+1) redundancy, it has double the amount of power equipment needed, plus an additional UPS module on each side. Referring to the bagel example, you would order 21 bagels from two different shops. If one of the shops doesn’t deliver and there is an issue with one of the bagels that do show up, you will still have enough.  For this reason, 2(N+1) data centers offer the highest guaranteed uptime.

123Net’s four 2(N+1) redundant data centers come with a 100 percent power uptime Service Level Agreement. If your business cannot afford losing access to mission-critical applications, consider collocating at 123Net. To learn more about power redundancy, schedule a data center tour with 123Net today. Visit https://www.123.net/data-center/

What is a SOC 2 Report?

In the world of data centers, keeping customer information safe is critical. 123Net has taken several measures, including SOC 2 compliance, to ensure that each customer’s most valuable data will be secure.

What Is SOC?

SOC is an acronym for Service Organization Controls. It consists of standards used to determine how well organizations handle their information. Independent accounts conduct SOC audits by determining whether proper safeguards and procedures are in place.

What is SOC 2?

SOC 2 reports are targeted toward providers that store information in the cloud. It is a strict technical audit, focusing on five principles of trust: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.

Security

To earn SOC 2 compliance, providers must prove that customers are protected against unauthorized access. Auditors analyze how equipped a data center is to prevent theft and system abuse. Firewalls and intrusion detection services are two elements that play an important role in this.

Availability

Providers must prove that their system, products and services are accessible, as stipulated by a set contract and/or a Service Level Agreement (SLA). To ensure that both parties meet their predetermined minimum acceptable performance level, auditors track network performance, availability, site failover and security.

Processing Integrity

Data centers with satisfactory processing integrity deliver data accurately and completely in a timely manner. Auditors closely monitor data processing and quality assurance to help evaluate processing integrity

Confidentiality

Confidential information is any set of data that is disclosed and restricted to a certain group of people. Providers must show that they can avoid leaking private data, business plans, intellectual property and several other items to prove this. Encryption, firewalls and rigorous controls are pieces of evidence that auditors use to determine confidentiality.

Privacy

Providers must show that they can effectively collect, retain, use, disclose and dispose of customers’ personal information.  Details such as race, sexuality, health and religion should always be protected for the sake of the customer.

When customers choose their data center providers, security is always a top priority. All four of 123Net’s data centers are consistently audited to maintain SSAE-18 SOC 2 Type II / SOC 3, HIPAA and PCI-DSS compliance, ensuring that each customer’s most confidential data is well protected, stored and maintained.

To learn more about colocating at 123Net’s four SOC 2 certified, Michigan data centers, visit https://www.123.net/data-center/ or schedule a tour today!