What Your Customers Really Want From Their Colocation Facility


Brightly lit data center hallway

Colocation is a great option for companies today, and the market is growing to meet demand. With many providers out there, colo providers need to focus on their competitiveness. Colocation facilities can stand out by delivering on customers’ preferences and priorities.

Competitive Pricing

Customers often choose colocation because they don’t want to take on or maintain the cost of an on-premise solution. The facility space and support infrastructure needed to power and cool IT equipment can be a costly investment, so renting that space and equipment can be a cost-effective option. 

Considering customers’ focus on cost, it’s important that you offer a price point and value that makes sense for customers and is competitive in the market. You should also make your pricing structure clear, whether that’s gross pricing, modified gross pricing or a more broken-out triple net pricing structure.

    • Gross pricing is a fixed monthly rate that is all-inclusive of power consumption and operating expenses in addition to rack space.
  • Modified gross pricing starts with a base rate with added expenses for power consumption and cooling.
  • Triple net pricing is similar to modified gross pricing, but in this model, the base rate does not include operating expenses. These costs, along with power and cooling, are calculated separately.

Robust Security Measures

One of the reasons to locate data and applications at a colo facility as opposed to in a public cloud is for security, so make sure your facility delivers on this benefit. Colocation providers should focus on both physical and logical security measures to help tenants keep their data private and safe.

Evaluate your current security measures and look for opportunities for improvement. This might include, for example, better securing physical entry points into the data center or providing secure interconnection services to help customers set up secure connections across workloads. Make sure it’s clear which security measures are the tenant’s responsibility and which safeguards your facility will implement on their behalf.

Certifications and Compliance Standards

Most top-tier colocation centers adhere to one or more standards that are verified by a third party. These certifications relate to factors such as security, privacy and reliability. See which of these certifications your facility can earn to demonstrate your credentials to customers. 

For example, this might include:

  • Tier-level certification from Uptime Institute (for reliability) 
  • ASHRAE standards for energy efficiency (for sustainability or carbon reduction)
  • OCP Ready colocation facility certification  (for open standards availability)

Your data center isn’t just a facility—it’s run by people. These people can earn credentials of their own to demonstrate their expertise in a variety of specialties. There are many certifications to consider from organizations such as Cisco, Building Industry Consulting Service International (BICSI) and many others. These certifications can increase potential customers’ confidence in you as a company and can contribute to trusting colo provider-tenant relationships. 

Transparent Communication

As a colocation provider, you should be a trusted partner to your tenant companies. As customers are considering your services, you should show them up front what sort of relationship they can expect. This should include providing clear and close communication throughout the process.

Answer companies’ questions and be transparent about your facility and practices. If you offer managed services, let customers know how you can add value as a partner through these services. You should also provide some insight into your customer service practices. Namely, let customers know how quickly they can expect a response from your team when they need assistance. 

Disaster Preparedness

Colocation can play a helpful role in a company’s disaster recovery (DR) plan—that is assuming the colo facility can guarantee uptime. Make sure you design your data center so you’re prepared for severe weather and other disasters. Practice your DR plan regularly so that you have high confidence it will work when the time comes to execute it. 

Let customers know what level of uptime you can consistently provide. Typically, data centers express their standard of availability as a percentage. For example, you might offer “two nines” (99 percent) availability or “three nines” (99.9 percent) and so on. Consider establishing service-level agreements (SLAs) that let customers know how you’ll respond to an event of compromised reliability.

Sustainability Efforts

Companies today increasingly care about sustainability and are setting goals to be greener and claim carbon credits. As part of these efforts, companies must evaluate the environmental impact across their supply chain and operations. When it comes to computing, this means many companies are looking for colocation providers that can help them meet their sustainability targets. 

Be prepared to tell customers how you can be an asset to their sustainability efforts. Look for opportunities to increase efficiency in your facility. If you’re building a new colo facility or expanding one, modular data centers are a great option to consider since these are a more efficient and sustainable option than stick-built data centers.

Modular Data Centers for Colocation

It’s a competitive market, but colo providers can take steps to attract and retain customers. Want to learn more about the advantages of modular construction for colocation facilities? Check out The Complete Guide to Modular Data Center Solutions.


Subscribe for the latest news, research, and innovations in data center design and construction.